Tuesday, July 05, 2011

You Ask, I Answer, Take 7

Today's question from Johanna in Germany seemed particularly appropriate for a Tuesday following both Canada Day and Independence Day - the days that mark the establishment of the two nations in which I hold citizenship:

What do you like about your country?

Well, I'm going to talk about Canada, because, while I hold dual citizenship and have traveled extensively in the United States, Canada is where I've lived all my life, and where I'm still living currently.

I love the variety that Canada offers.  We span three oceans, ten provinces and three territories.  We are the second largest country in the world, and the largest country in North America and the Western Hemisphere.  I love that my country is so large that each region is incredibly diverse.  I've visited most of Canada's major cities, and all ten provinces.  One day I'd like to see the territories, but that will definitely be a summer and not winter excursion!

In my home province of Alberta, I love the beauty of the Rocky Mountains - the peaks, the forests, the lakes and rivers.  My dad loves to say that the area we live in is one of the few places in the world where you can tell someone to "get lost" and they still literally can.  The mountains are a sort of balm to my soul, and there's something unique about them.  You can drive about two hours in almost any direction from my home and be in some sort of mostly unpopulated area - whether it's mountains, foothills or prairies.

My favorite spot in our province is a place called Ptarmigan Cirque, about a two hour drive followed by a one hour hike from where I live.  It's not a hugely popular place, is only accessible a few months a year, since it's located off a road in a mountain pass that is the highest driveable pass in North America, and is closed to traffic six months a year because of snow, and for wildlife management.  From the parking area, you hike up a steep grade for about an hour or so, and eventually end in a beautiful cirque, with a small waterfall, and multiple streams.  If you catch it at the right time of year, it will be full of alpine wildflowers, and usually you can see big horned sheep.  Part of what I love about it is the silence - it's not a hugely popular hike, so it's quite easy to be alone with your thoughts and the sounds of nature.  Some of my happiest moments, and most special times with God have been spent sitting on a boulder in the cirque, watching animals, feeling the sun on my face, reading scripture, praying, and journaling.  I've even danced and twirled in that meadow a few times!

I like that Canadians largely serve as peacekeepers rather than aggressors on the international stage, that ours is the flag that travelers from other countries attach to their clothes and bags.  I like that we are unique, and produce a unique populace.

It's actually harder at times to list the things I like than the things I would change, and easy to forget that I am blessed to have been born here, and to live where I do.  Thanks, Johanna, for the insightful question that forced me to remember to be thankful!


Anonymous said...

Thank you for answering my question. Sounds like you live in a beautiful part of Canada. I like how you described it. :-)
One day I will visit your country, like my grandfather did as a young men. He also worked a few months and got to know and love Canada and transported this to his wife and my mum. ;-) My parents still have the goal to make holidays in Canada, but haven't had the time yet. I hope they will make this dream of my mum come true in the coming years...

christianne said...

I really liked reading this post, especially because, truth be told, I don't know a whole lot about Canada. My knowledge of geography has always been pretty low, so I confess I never realized Canada had both provinces and territories. Interesting!

I've never traveled to Canada, either, so I don't have much of a picture in my mind of its terrain or scope. Your post was very helpful in painting a picture for me of your country! Thanks for that. :)

Lisa said...

Johanna - very cool about your grandfather and I hope you do get a chance to visit in the coming years.

Christianne - It's so hard to describe such a large country. We do have territories - three of them, the northern half of the country, populated primarily by native americans and Inuit. I'm not exactly clear on what makes a territory different from a province, but there are some minor differences in rights. As for terrain, you name it, we've got it, except for, well, tropical climes. We don't have many of those! But we do have everything from oceans to forests to mountains to lakes to wine country, and even some desert areas. In Alberta, about three hours from where I live, for example, we have the second richest dinosaur fossil field in the world, after the Gobi desert in China. Glad it helped a little, and you (and you too, Johanna) are certainly invited to come visit me and my country (and my mountains) some day!

christianne said...

Good to know. :)

I have a feeling we will meet in person someday. :)

Lisa said...

Now that is a thought worth smiling over :D