Saturday, July 1, 2017

Oh Canada!

This is my seventh annual photo-essay in celebration of Canada Day, featuring some of the photos I've taken during the past twelve months. This year is Canada's 150th birthday, though this land we call Canada has been the homeland of indigenous peoples for at least 15,000 years. There is still much work to be done to unite peoples of so many cultures: those whose ancestors were here thousands of years ago, those who came in the last five hundred years, and those who are now arriving from countries torn apart by war or natural disaster. The photos that follow were mostly taken near my home on Vancouver Island, and by focusing on nature the post is sadly devoid of the multiculturalism that is both Canada's challenge and her strength.  Nature, however, unites us all - for we all are richly blessed to live in this beautiful land. Happy Canada Day - let us celebrate our similarities and our differences with joy, respect, and love.   

Oh Canada, my Canada, 
though I was not born here 
I need only step outside my door to know that I am home. 

My heart swells with patriotism, with love for you, my Canada,
when I wander your rocky shores and beaches,

explore your forests, lakes and rivers, 

gaze upon your soaring mountains, 

or travel your winding roads.

From cities new and old, to small towns, to countryside, 

You are my home, 

Oh Canada. 

From sunrises that fill me with delight,

To sunsets wrapping my world in pink, 

You, my Canada, breathe life into my tired body with your never ending surprises.

The tiny hummingbird who stays the winter, shivering as he awaits his nectar, 

The herons that feed as the tide goes out, 

and the red winged blackbird, your harbinger of spring. 

Like you, Oh Canada, your creatures are both strong and free:

The otters in the harbours, feasting on fish upon the rocks,

The deer that raid our gardens to keep themselves alive in winter,

The frogs that stand their ground on forest trail before hopping to the water's edge to rest upon the lily pads,

or hide among the bullrushes.

Your flowers survive the winter's cold to bloom again each spring,

Your trees celebrate summer's end with displays of brilliant colour, 

And lichen drapes the trees in strands of angels' hair

While ducks groom themselves on mirrors of glassy water.

And though your citizens may sometimes squabble, 

we are, in fact, a nation of survivors.

We have learned that we must care for the smallest and weakest among us,

We understand that we need to provide health care when it is needed,

Food for those that are hungry,

And a guiding light in rocky waters.

We know that companionship can ease loneliness,

And play is good for the soul.

But we are not afraid to explore new territory,

To cross our bridges when we come to them, 

To make new friends, no matter how different they may seem, 

Or to enjoy time spent alone
We form a nation of many peoples, of many plants and animals, of many landscapes and seascapes.  We are joined together not only by roads and waterways,

but by nature.  None of us can survive without the others;  our biodiversity of life, in all its forms and all its cultures,  is what sustains our nation.  

And if we work together, 
And love one another

Then we will still celebrate you, Oh Canada, your beauty, your vitality, your peoples and cultures, your wildlife, your waters, your sunrises and sunsets, for many years to come.  
Under one sun, one sky, one beautiful moon,  

Oh Canada, 

We stand on guard,

We stand on guard,

We stand on guard for thee. 

Happy 150th Birthday, Canada.

I'm so proud to call you my home. 

(Note:  Copyright to all photos is held by the author of this blog;  do not copy images without permission.  Sharing the link, however,  via Facebook or other social media is permitted.)


Linda Ryan said...

Great scenes that show how beautiful our country is. Thank you!

Linda Ryan said...

Thank you for the beautiful picture of places where I live. I was born on the East coast of Canada and now live on the West coast of Canada. I love all of Canada.

Linda Toews said...

Thank you. This is beautiful!

Dan Southby said...

Well written! Love the photos and your writing. Your photos capture the reasons why I love Canada and Vancouver Island. Happy Canada Day to you and Happy 150th Birthday Canada!

marlene barber said...

what a wonderful few minutes enjoyed the beauty of Our Canada thank You Jean for picture of the country I was born and raised in

Jo Mulberry said...

Jean thank you for sharing, I enjoyed every photo and every word - beautiful!

Sheryl said...

A wonderful Canada Day tribute, as usual. Thank you, Jean.