Essay: Oh Canada

Canadian Flag
By Dave Hood

You are the anglophone in Ontario and francophone in Quebec. Inuit in the Arctic and  new immigrant from the other side of the world. You are the fisherman at sea,  farmer in the field, miner digging coal, lumber jack chopping down a tall tree, blue and white collar workers in the towns and cities.

You are “the rock” and rugged coastline of Newfoundland. The lighthouse at Peggy’s Cove. Pier 21 in Halifax, Nova Scotia. The high tides of the Bay of Fundy, off New Brunswick’s shores. You are Confederation Bridge, linking to New Brunswick.  The potatoes buried in the soil on Prince Edward Island. The Plains of Abraham along the St. Lawrence Seaway, near old Quebec City.

You are a climb up the CN Tower in multicultural Toronto, the tourist attraction of Niagara Falls, a shopping spree in the Eaton Center. You are a canoe paddle on quiet lake in Algonquin Park. The endless drive along the Trans Canada Highway, blue skies of the prairies on a sunny day in the summer, the miles and miles of golden wheat fields in Saskatchewan.

You are a ride on the rails through the Rocky Mountains in Alberta, a walk through the meandering trails among the giant, ancient red cedars of Cathedral Grove in British Columbia. You are a sled ride between to Nunavut and Inukshuk in the snowy Arctic, the weathered pines, rustling maples, quiet birch trees on the Canadian Shield, ice bergs, deep snow, rock formations scattered everywhere.

You are the lakes and rivers and streams across this great country, the “Aurora Borealis” in the north sky on a cold, black night, puffin, humpback whale, and ice bergs off the coast in the Atlantic.

You are the moose on the shoreline, peering at the canoe, and loon calling in the distance.  You are the beaver building a dam, salmon swimming in the cool waters on the West Coast, the polar bear on a block of ice, the Canadian geese flying south to a warm place. You are snowbirds who fly south to Florida each winter.

You are skates, pucks, and hockey sticks on frozen ponds, the hockey fan cheering, the Leafs against the Oilers, Habs versus Nordiques, Canucks playing the Flames, on a snowy winter Saturday night on CBC. You are the songs by Gordon Lightfoot and Anne Murray, paintings by the Group of Seven and Alex Colville, fiction of Margaret Atwood, the sound of “The Guess Who”.

You are yesterday’s Canadian hero’s, such as Wayne Gretzky, Bobby Orr, one-legged Terry Fox. You are the igloo, the snow shoe, the paddle and canoe. You are the rainy days of springtime; the hot and humid summer; the  cool, crisp colorful autumn; and ice and snow and cold of winter.

You are Parliament and Prime Minister, the maple Leaf flag and Mounties. You promise peace, order, good government. You protect and respect citizens, enforce the charter of rights and freedoms. You value bilingualism, diversity, tolerance, and  just society.You are the peacekeeper, the defender of democracy, the neighbor to Americans.  You embrace the United Nations and peaceful co-existence and fight against terrorism.

You are my identity abnd history,  my values and beliefs, my language and my proud country.

Oh Canada, I stand on guard for thee.

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About Dave Hood

Lover of poetry, fiction, creative nonfiction. Professional photographer and writer. Without the arts, life would be rather mundane, like a walk down the same old path on a dull day.
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