Canada Day

Canada Day comes and Canada Day goes.

It slips up on most of us and passes long before we realize it. And we further don’t fully realize what a bountiful, beautiful country we live in.

We have diverse seasonal weather, diverse plants, diverse animals and birds, exceptional scenery with seasonal change, mingled with diverse beliefs of multi-coloured, cultured and talented human population that makes Canada an interesting, comfortable place in which to live, learn and love, thus completing the cycle of life in the undefined art of raising a family.

Those thoughts came to me a week or so back as I stopped for a couple of pleasant moments to view the romping river as it tumbled, chattering excitedly, down over the rock shelves of the little falls, deep down in the yawning gorge both north and south of the footbridge that stretches across the beautiful old Grand River, from parking lot to parking lot, in the bowels of downtown Fergus. What a beautiful view of the gorge, both upstream and downstream.

I was on my way over to pick up a few country fresh, locally-grown fruits and veggies at Fraberts Fresh Food, which, lucky for me and my kind, conveniently vends in the old market building on Queen Street.  I stopped for a moment to watch a considerable-sized flock of cedar waxwing actively searching the slender bluish green leaves of a riverside willow for insects. As I watched, I all of a sudden became aware of an immature great blue heron slowly stalking the shallow waters of a rock shelf for breakfast. Its slate blue coloured plumage blending so well with the rock formation that I did not see it until it stepped, in exceptionally slow motion, forward.

It is at moments like this that I realize the average true-born Canadian, like myself, doesn’t even appreciate what we have inherited by birth. But occasionally you’ll run across someone who does, and this was brought to my attention only recently when a grandmother, ’neath the shade of the giant old maple that purifies the air we breathe and on hot, sunny days cools my backyard, and the neighbour’s by ten degrees, handed to me a poem written by her 14-year-old granddaughter. A granddaughter who experiences the hell of living in Toronto, yet escapes to the heaven of Tobermory in the summer. It goes exactly like this:

In Canada we scream

Make love not war

We try to stop fighting

But still we do more

Fighting for a sale

At a store in a mall

As people on the streets

Fight against it all 

Fighting for a shoe

For a place in line

Fighting disease

For just a little more time

Fighting the odds

And hoping we win

Winning the war

And forgetting the sin

In Canada we forgive

In Canada we forget

We take a chance

And place our bet

We will always

Come out on top

Because we are one

Fighting for a stop

An end to poverty

An end to discrimination

We are together

We are a nation

Being a Canadian

Is being ready to fight

Not with a gun but with words

So chose them right

Being Canadian

We are diverse

But this is our blessing

And not our curse.

* * *

Well said, don’t you think? Perhaps we should be looking more often at the world through the eyes of our youth. Canada can and will be the leader in a world that knows peace when youngsters like this gain, and they no doubt will, priority over the clutch of the almighty dollar. When the power of love overcomes the love of power, the world will know peace.

This is the weekend, folks, July 11 and 12, from 10am to 5pm, that I’ll be perched, with my recently published books, over at the Art in the Yard at the Elora Centre for the Arts. This is mom, dad, grandma, grandpa and family- oriented. A single toonie gets you in and children are free. A single stack of 25 loonies gets you a signed copy of my book. There is no better deal anywhere. You’ll find me snuggled in the big tent. See you all there.

Take care, ‘cause we care.



Barrie Hopkins