The Monarch for me is Canada. I don’t remember when I first learnt about or first saw the Monarch butterfly, but she’s fascinated me always. Imagine: the endurance to migrate the length of an entire continent; the beauty to attract the eye wherever she flies; the fealty to milkweed and the fragility of that choice; the one life lived through many generations; the herald of summer in a white-locked country.
I travelled to Point Pelee one fall to witness the Monarch migration south. The sight has been imprinted in my mind forever of a lone Monarch launching herself against the wind blowing off Lake Erie, a tiny fluttering presence against the mighty span of the smallest of the Great Lakes, the far shore not in our sight – nor in hers – yet off she went, confident that she would not fail, not falter, not drown.
Our politicians, our bureaucrats, our leaders may be filled with caution, even introducing red tape into a rescue operation, endlessly talking and not acting on so many urgent issues that face this country and her cities.
But not so Canadians as a people.
We established a northern country, so vast it’s second only in size to Russia, but with a miniscule population that is spread out across the land and northwards like rare beads on a long string. Yet we are confident we will endure, we will not be taken over by bigger, more powerful countries than ours. We revel in beauty of such variety we could never grow tired or bored of it. We are loyal to each other, to the notions of peace, working hard, innovating, and taking care of each other through programs like medicare, even though they are often so at odds with the behemoths near us and secretive trade negotiations. We are growing to understand our history, appreciating how previous generations formed who we are today. We love our summers but are not afraid of our winters. The best of us find joy in every season.
And we never quit.
We do not follow blindly others as they race towards privacy-intruding laws; we look at the tide of fear consuming the planet in so many ways and resist; we fight to retain the rights and privileges that we remember others before us sacrificing their lives for and for us.
To my fellow Canadians: Happy Canada Day!
May you continue to bless this country, and may she continue to bless you.