I love this land. This country. How can you not? We’re bordered by water, by mountains. Dark green trees, big skies. So much to love and so much to see.
I love travelling across it – I am not the driver, but I like when we take the scenic route. I snap pictures through the dirty windshield, and watch as flags change, as the road gets hilly, and as the earth turns red. We listen to the Vinyl Cafe as we drive, and laugh at Dave’s antics. I think about what winter would be like here, and there.
I think about this land while we drive across it. That it’s not all “this land is your land, this land is my land.” We live on unceded land. I think about that a lot as we drive along. That this isn’t my land, but I am still grateful for it, that I am able to explore it, and that I have the privilege to do so.To be honest, I love Canadiana. I actually love the Canadian stereotype. Moose and mountains, beavers and pine trees. Campfires. Plaid flannel. I love to paddle a canoe, feeling the boat move beneath me and the wind in my hair. I love the music. I love large roadside attractions. Giant lobsters and axes. I was disappointed to miss out on a giant potato wearing a top hat this year. There’s always the next trip.
I was born at the other end of this country. On Vancouver Island – in Comox, British Columbia, and I remember nothing. Well, nothing of the place. I’ve been back west only once, to Prince George with a layover in Calgary with a beautiful view of the Rockies. Prince George was north – too north to really see where I am from. I want to see that place. I want to camp on the western part of Vancouver Island, take the ferry to the big city. I want to explore the valley and drink wonderful wine. I want to see mountains out my window and hike the trails. I want to visit Dinosaur Provincial Park in Calgary, and spend a week exploring and digging for fossils. I would love to go West. We will, one day.
For now, we head East. I flew once, years ago, to Saint John, NB. It was so foggy that my flight was the last one not to be diverted. I saw porpoises play in the water while sitting with my lifelong best friend at a campfire on a bluff. We’ve now driven with our kids, twice in fact, all the way to PEI. We’ve explored much of New Brunswick, Prince Edward Island, and have begun to visit Nova Scotia. We’ve slept in treehouses, on old trains, and in tents. This year we rented a cottage on PEI and played in the ocean every day. We’ve explored cities that we can easily envision ourselves living in, and towns where it is so quiet we can’t imagine doing more than visiting. We went on boats, rode strange buggy-bikes, and ate ice cream. I bought Christmas ornaments and postcards at every stop. My mother always bought postcards.
The reality is that our children are young. They will remember very little of these trips, if anything at all. But I will. I love to explore and, more so, watch them explore. To climb the rocks at Peggy’s Cove, and explore the ships in Lunenburg. To whisper to me that Anne Shirley “is really real, right Mommy?” and to lick ice cream off their hands and arms and everywhere it drips in Cavendish. I love seeing them sit on the top bunk and play in a treehouse in Miramichi and on an old caboose in Tatamagouche, and splash in the ocean, catching crabs and trying, unsuccessfully, to catch minnows. To laugh as we bike down the Trans Canada Trail. To peek out a lighthouse window. I’ll remember, and every kilometer will be worth it.