Saturday, February 20, 2010

Canada...more than just magnificent paddling.

It is wonderful to feel the grandness of Canada in the raw,
not because she is Canada
but because she's something sublime
 that you were born into,
some great rugged power that you are a part of.
- Emily Carr

Canada is a vast and dramatic land. Its expansive geography and varied topography puts into perspective our lives. One cannot help but feel humility - and that's a good thing. Paddling on the waters or running the trails is always an exhilerating experience - there is such an immensity to our land, while at the same time, an intimacy. We are a gentle people who have welcomed great diversity to the country within our three great shores.

A week ago, during the opening ceremonies of the 2010 Winter Olympic Games, Canada and the world were introduced to slam poet, Shane Koyczan. I wanted to share the transcript of his poem that he so eloquently delivered - with the hope that I am not breaking any permission laws. I just really like what he said. For those good folks from afar, who graciously stop by this blog from time to time, this may give you another small glimpse of who we are.

"We are More"

Define Canada
You might say the home of the Rocket
Or The Great One Who inspired little No. 9s and little No. 99s
But we're more than just hockey and fishing lines
Off of the rocky coast of the Maritimes
And some say what defines us
Is something as simple as 'please' and 'thank you'
And as for 'you're welcome,' well, we say that, too
But we are more than genteel or civilized
We are an idea in the process of being realized
We are young, we are cultures strung together then woven into a tapestry
And the design is what makes us more than the sum totals of our history
We are an experiment going right for a change
With influences that range from A to Zed
And yes, we say 'Zed' instead of 'Zee'
We are the brightness of Chinatown and the laughter of Little Italy
We dream so big that there are those
Who would call our ambition an industry
Because we are vineyards of good year after good year
We reforest what we clear
Because we believe in generations beyond our own
Knowing now that so many of us
Have grown past what we used to be
We can stand here today
Filled with all the hope people have
When they say things like 'someday'
Because we are more
Than a laundry list of things to do and places to see
More than hills to ski
Or countryside ponds to skate
We are the abandoned hesitation of all those who can't wait
We are first-rate greasy spoon diners and healthy living cafes
A country that is all the ways you choose to live
A nation that can give you variety
Because we are choices
We are millions upon millions of voices
Shouting, keep exploring
We are more
We are the surprise the world has in store for you, it's true
Canada is the 'what' in 'what's new'
So don't let your luggage define your travels
Each life unravels differently
And experiences are what make up
The colours of our tapestry
We are the true North
Strong and free
And what's more
Is that we didn't just say it
We made it be
- Shane Koyczan

Thank you, Shane. And yes, the paddling on our oceans, lakes, and rivers is pretty impressive - even in the middle of "winter". :-)


Emily Carr, 1871-1945, is a renowned Canadian writer. She was born in Victoria, BC, 60 km to the south of us on Vancouver Island.
Image: Joan paddling her Current Designs Solstice GTS near Egmont, BC, where the Coastal Mountains begin deep beneath the pristine waters.

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