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Dear Editor,

Some folk offer opinions filled with too many words and not enough substance. There is something to be said for the clarity and sometimes elusiveness of a verse or two. Perhaps this notion has been lost… perhaps not. I do not offer Canadians an opinion but a feeling… meant not to anger or console but instead to provoke thought and perhaps… just possibly… action. It’s not too late.

Distant Visions of Canada

We’re not who we think we are anymore…Why should we be?How can we be?

Canadian seasons used to be so grandiose and mesmerizing…Now we shudder and plan obsessively for disasters;From coast to coast.

I remember hunting crawfish and climbing trees,Dreading the setting of the sun under the multi-coloured blankets of pink, blue, orange and sometimes purple.As beautiful as it was, it meant nothing to me but an end to my explorations here on earth.Sunscreen was a figment in the imaginative minds of pessimists…Now their minds have transformed them into realists and redeemers.

I’m watching my son sleep.His innocent questions not yet uttered to me.I am determined and focussed.Can I give to him, the freedom to quest?

Will he come bounding into the kitchen at dusk holding an orange Maple Leaf of a glorious hue ready to be pressed and respected and revered?He deserves to make friends with a chipmunk in the trees that he’ll only admire from afar.I want to see his hands mushy with pumpkin guts as he squeals in delightful disgust,Enduring the ick in anticipation of a glowing, scary front porch gargoyle.Acorns and pinecones should be ready for collection and painting.

I remember clumsy skating and trepidatious skiing surrounded by a world of welcoming white.Warm breath on cold air wafting up like the aroma of the hot chocolate that awaits us after the hills.Canada’s winters need to see his angelic imprint on the snow…Beside the labours of a corncob pipe and a button nose,And two eyes made out of stone.I should carry fear in my heart but joy in my eyes as he toboggans and experiences momentary flight.

And Oh! Glorious Spring!Cool but gentle winds were my guardians of hope…Blooms filled the air, awakening life in my senses.The overwhelmingly soft, sweet fragrances on the arms of the mating calls that exploded each morning as the sun rose.A light jacket, a light spirit, a light enthusiasm.Can I capture the beauty of such a magnetic season and offer it to my son as the rebirth of distinction?There are grasshoppers to be caught and released;Bumble bees to admire and buds to be watched carefully each day for the burst of colours just below the surface ready to present themselves to him.Can I avoid weeping for him if spring passes him by fleetingly… Yearning to rest awhile with him in its luscious grass?

With these losses we lose ourselves in doubt…It’s easier than the devotion to generosity and loyalty required to save what we have almost destroyed.

I look deeply into Canada’s eyes as she pleads for companionship.I gaze Faithfully from her lap like a child and say hello to her brilliant neighbours above…But only from a Muskoka chair, miles from the bursts of artificial light and the fogs of unwelcoming shades of green, grey and sometimes purple.As the Loons call out here, Canada still sees a piece of herself preserved…but like all wise creatures, she knows even this sanctuary of hers may yet be invaded.

Still… this is my home… my heart… my hope…Canada marches on waiting patiently for us to join her parade.In the presence of the Queen of endurance, tolerance and perseverance I know the trees will whisper to my son.I feel the uprising of voices asking for her forgiveness, vowing to plant possibilities for our legacies to come.I know we will know ourselves again… we will know our duties once more… we will know our passions must envision…Real… true… Canadian seasons.

Sheri Lynn Gagnon

By Sheri Gagnon

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