Sunday, June 17, 2007



I whipped into the city to relax and visit and borrow a fast Internet connection. I live in a province where people go INTO the city to go to parks and to the beach. Walking downhill, down to the water, the bus that almost ran me down at the crosswalk was smiling and flashing SORRY SORRY SORRY across its forehead. And I thought, How Canadian! Like the way I habitually say THANK YOU to a canned drink dispensing machine, when the cold pop can kerPLUNKS.

The Seabus was disgorging its load of commuters just as I attempted to cross the walkspace so I had to wait and wait until the crowd thinned and the halt and the lame were sparse enough and slow enough to let me pass. My coffee cup was burning my fingers so I found a bench on the quay to sit and drink. I was waiting for film to be developed. Sorry. That’s so techno-obsolete, but soon, soon I’ll take the plunge and choose a digital camera.

Walking back up the mountain, I paused to rest at a convenient bus stop bench in the middle of the rise, hoping I wouldn't have to wave off a bus. Sorry to you!

And I stopped to take a picture of Mother Nature's garbage, giant hot pink blossoms littering the grass and the hedge beneath some tall flowering tree. Like the wild rose petals on my great room floor in the morning; the flowers are ephemeral, so delicate, so sweet-scented, so short-lived, but I have to bring some inside every June. It was the flowering trees that overwhelmed me when I first moved to this province. Whole trees in bloom. HO-LY. And this is Canada?

The Seven Wonders of Canada were announced this weekend: Pier 21, Old Quebec, Niagara Falls, the igloo, the canoe, the Rockies, and the prairie sky. BINGO. I got them all, or I would have if I had voted. Not that it was meant to be a horserace or something to place a bet on. Competition isn’t the point; it’s the excuse such ventures offer for us to come together, to strut our stuff, and to puff up our pride. Contests like this allow us to do something that we long to do, but something which in some ways we are still awkward doing—showing our LOVE, saying how much we LOVE this country.

My slow connection isn’t the real reason I didn’t vote. I just felt bad about voting, or not voting, for some nominations just because I’d never experienced them myself. And a majority vote isn’t really FAIR, because the more remote wonders would surely have had fewer visitors than say, Niagara, or Pier 21. Pier 21 hadn’t really been in my thoughts before, but when I think about it, probably both of my grandmothers arrived there, within a year or two of each other, a year or two before World War I, to begin new lives half a continent apart. It’s true; we do all have ARRIVAL stories.

Two on my STILL TO SEE Life List didn’t make it to the final seven, but both are World Heritage Sites and I’m still determined to see them someday. Haida Gwaii, BC, the misty isles, and Gros Morne, NL, where two tectonic plates almost meet. Bookends. Wondrous bookends for this beautiful land. But that’s just me. Wonder and books will always be connected. Like Wonder and Nature. Sorry, if that’s just SO CANADIAN.

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