Previous Challenge Entry (Level 2 – Intermediate)
Topic: Canada (01/29/09)
- TITLE: O Canada, we Stand on Guard for Thee
By Casey Overbeek
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“Come outside; I want to show you something beautiful in the sky ,” I whispered,
This wasn’t the first time we were going ‘sky watching’. Many cool summer nights on the prairies, the kids and I would cuddle up in sleeping bags on the trampoline after the sun had set late in the evening and watch the stars in the sky. I would teach them about constellations, point to the North Star and show them how to find it. As we searched for satellites and watch them streak across the sky till they disappeared, I would tell them stories of my childhood years…
“When I was young” I’d tell them, “we played hockey on the pond behind the neighbor’s farm, sometimes using branches for goalposts. It wasn’t easy getting there through the sometimes plowed fields but a good game of hockey was always worth it. I pretended I was Bobby Orr. He was my hero. Sometimes the grown ups would join and clean a patch of ice which became our hockey rink.”
I ‘d continue with my stories: “Long ago the native Indians taught the white men the secret of the maple trees... When the snow started melting in February, we would collect the sap, which trickled into buckets through little hollow spikes bored into the trees. It seemed there were thousands of buckets and trees. We would take the sap to the little ‘sugar shanty’ at the edge of the woods and watch it boil until it turned into a thick syrup. How tasty that was on pancakes!”
But this night was different.
As they brushed the sleep from their eyes, wondering about my excitement, they followed me outside in pajamas and slippers.
“Come along and see the northern lights”
Streaks of green, orange, purple and pink danced across the sky, coming up from the northern horizon, and stretching right above us like an umbrella. We walked to the road so we could avoid the homestead trees and get a better look. The colors would change and the rays reach further each time like a theatre performance going through it’s acts . We had seen the Northern Lights before but never did we see these streaks of light bend over us like a protective blanket.
Without regret we crawled back into bed an hour later, still relishing that beautiful night sky.
I’ve lived in this great country of Canada since I was a little boy, immigrating with my parents from Europe. Everyday I enjoy the majestic beauty of this vast land. I have skied down steep mountains, watched the golden wheat fields reach the horizon and seen a vast expanse of snow and ice. I have sailed the great lakes and fished its rivers. I have stared in wonder at the brilliant colors of the same maple trees in the fall, which turned the landscape into a painting… and yet I know there is more to see.
This is my Canada. A sunset on the ocean in the west. A starry sky and dancing lights in the north and a sunrise on the ocean in the east, welcoming another day… This magnificent country is my home.
Come around my campfire and let me tell you about my Canada.
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