Happy Canada Day.
When we first crossed the border, an amazing feeling of being home hit me. A feeling of being wrapped in hugs, fed homemade cookies and told to relax. It was a welcoming feeling and I wondered if that is what patriotism is? I have never felt that patriotic. I have always admired our American neighbours for being able to show the love they have for their country and their flag. I, on the other hand, barely own anything red and for sure nothing with a maple leaf on it. I don’t own a flag, a Bay blanket or red Canada mittens. My toques, sweaters and boots are mostly made overseas. I have never made a cake to look like the Canada flag. I pay my taxes, follow the laws and always vote. Those are chores, versus, joys of the country and I think that was what I felt about Canada before this adventure.
The history of the Maritimes is an amazing reminder of the struggle to create a Canada. A struggle between the Aboriginal and the Europeans, between the French and the English, between the British and the Americans. Canada has fought hard to be a unified nation and still fights that battle with the Arctic and our borders.
Patriotism is about love. Love of our country’s people, of our nation’s past trials and tribulations, of the challenges and victories, of understanding that we were not built in a day but built before Canada was called Canada. Patriotism is also about responsibility. Of understanding that we are not perfect, that in the past, present and future we will be wrong, make mistakes, ask for forgiveness and move forward. This is still a country with human rights violations of our own people. Where wrong was done and is still being done.
Now I see Canada, and other countries, as so much more than their political system, their weird laws and radical citizens. Canada is barely a teenager in the global age of countries. What I love about teenagers is their boldness, lack of fear and ability to see through the trees. That is Canada. With its warts, brokenness and scars, it is still beautiful, hopeful and an amazing place to love. Now I need to buy me a red and black Mac Jacket!
Kathryn - The Maritimes are a big part of my maternal heritage. This is where my ancestors settled in Canada before heading out west to Alberta. I'm not sure what caused them to pack up the wagon and head west, although I'm pretty sure they took the train not a wagon. Would they have made the same decision had they known what life would be like on the prairies? I doubt it. The Maritime provinces are beautiful, and gentle. Colourful little boats glide in and out of harbours, sheep roam the fields, and the sounds of Celtic music float on the breeze. Did I say breeze? I meant Celtic music floats on the wind; she blows a gale nearly every day. Maybe that is why my great grandparents left the Maritimes. In any case I feel connected in some way to these eastern gem provinces. It is heartwarming to know that they are part of the tapestry that is the Canada I love.