Mielke: Canada, as seen through the eyes of a visitor and a resident, is beautiful

  • Jun. 27, 2017 12:30 a.m.

“It’s beautiful, isn’t it,” I remarked to my husband this morning.

“What’s beautiful?” he replied, raising his eyes briefly from his cellphone which apparently is packed with important information.

“The world,” I said.

“I umm, guess so,” he replied. He glanced outside, looking somewhat puzzled, no doubt, wondering if he had missed some great, miraculous transformation overnight.

But, no, he hadn’t.

The kitchen was still cluttered, last night’s popcorn bowls and empty coke cans on the counter. The floor needed to be swept and the blanket on the couch was in disarray.

But outside it was, for lack of a better word, beautiful.

It was a clean, fresh laundry on the clothesline kind of morning.

I wondered about with my watering can, giving my thirsty flowers, all pretty with their delicate, nodding blossoms of mauve and pink and tangerine, a much-needed drink.

The grass, under my bare feet, felt deliciously damp and cool.

The other day I was fortunate enough to golf with a lady visiting Canada from England.

“She’s probably a really good golfer,” I whined to my daughter on the phone before we left.

“Mom, just because she’s from England doesn’t mean she’s a good golfer,” she said, like she was explaining something carefully to one of her Grade 5 students.

“Just go and have fun and be yourself,” she added, the role reversal from daughter to mother seeming natural and spontaneous

“Okay,” I said, contritely.

As it turned out the lady from England was a great golfer, but in the end, it really didn’t matter. She was the bubbly sort, who chatted with me like we were old friends and seemed enthused about simply being alive.

I liked her at once.

And later when she sat on my deck, and our good old Canadian sun was warm on her face, she mentioned that Canada was a great country and she would have no problem retiring here.

I had been busy scraping together some sort of lunch suitable for a visitor from England, and I hadn’t really noticed the great country in which I lived, but only if I had enough cheese and crackers in my kitchen to make a respectable tray.

But, with her words, I took the time to look around and be aware.

I allowed myself to be in the moment.

And, it turned out, she was right. Canada is a great country.

At least the Canada that I know, which, is, more specifically, of course, Alberta.

And Alberta in June can be amazing. And here on my deck, it really was quite lovely.

It smelled good, thanks, no doubt, to the perfume of the flowers and the herbs spilling out of my garden box and the freshly cut green grass and summer.

It looked good, thanks to a faultless blue sky and, once again, the flowers that were eager to show off their beautiful petal dresses.

And it sounded good, thanks to the chirping birds that filled the air with their cheerful songs.

And the sun, in all its mellow, yellow glory beamed on everything and everyone.

I tried to explain to my visitor that Canada isn’t always pretty like this. I told her about our winters impressing on her that it gets cold. Darn cold! I said. “It’s horrible,” I added. “You have no idea.”

She replied that folks just needed to wrap up and they’d be fine.

“Wrap up,” I thought, skeptically.

My newfound friend is gone now, back to England.

But, in the short time she was here, and even though she has not experienced any of our winters, she did leave me with a new awareness of the country in which I live.

And it is beautiful!

Treena Mielke lives in Sylvan Lake. She is the editor of the Rimbey Review.

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