By Tessie Lagtapon
Elizabeth Barrett Browning is a very old friend. She could be turning in her grave at this little twist I gave her title…nay, her poem, but no matter. It is for a good cause.
It is Canada’s 150th birthday. And from one Cancer to another, I say we’re aging gracefully. Except Canada has a decided advantage. She has an endurance factor that can go on forever. And she doesn’t grow wrinkles.
Which is why I love Canada…in all its depth, spanning two oceans with myriad lakes in between; and breadth, mountain ranges and flat lands standing hand in hand; and height, endless skies that mirror each season’s moods; my soul can only dream to reach.
At the level of my every day’s simple needs…the garbage that is neatly collected every week; the infrastructure that gracefully dips and rises with the lay of the land; snow efficiently shoveled from the first snowflake; by sun, on a crisp winter day and candlelight, on a late autumn sunset.
I live without fear, worship my God without apprehension, speak without ending up in jail and once a year I have the privilege of offering thee some of my hard earned money so I wouldn’t feel that loving thee comes freely. Let it not be said that I don’t strive for Right.
On the other hand, I love thee purely, without prejudice or malice, reveling in the mosaic of colour that fills the corners of thy land; enchanted by the wonderful cacophony of sound from numerous languages; savoring the astounding buffet in front of me, without regard for the handful of fatty tissues that gleefully seek to increase my love handles. I turn from Praise.
Instead I pick up garbage during my walks around the lake; recycle, reduce and reuse at every chance in an effort to conserve thy being because I love thee with an imperceptible passion put to use; in my old griefs, of dreams unfulfilled and opportunities missed and with my childhood’s faith enraged, at the utter disregard of others who should know better than to sully thy pristine beauty and honor.
Through the mountain of housework awaiting my loving touch, I love thee with a love I seem to lose, with my lost saints –
I love thee with the breath I take, as I exit Emergency without flashing my Visa; smiles, because I didn’t have to mortgage my house to pay for my children’s tuitions; tears, the years of being broke without being broken; and all my life ahead of me, secure in the certainty that my government pension will keep me whole!
And, if God choose, I shall but love thee better after death, mine no doubt, but Thee has to wait a very, very long time. I pray.
Elizabeth Barrett Browning never thought that her love poem to her beloved Robert, would be so embellished and adapted to modern day reality; but what better way to say…
Happy Birthday, Canada?!