Miracle. All of it.

It is, after all, not necessary to fly right into the middle of the sun,

but it is necessary to crawl to a clean little spot on earth where the sun sometimes shines

and one can warm oneself a little.

~ Franz Kafka, from Letter to His Father


Notes:

It’s not that Canadians don’t love their country. I do. Most Canadians do, too. They just love it quietly.

July 1 is Canada’s 150th anniversary, but nobody seems particularly eager to join the party…

The irony is that Canada, at the moment, has a lot to celebrate. Our prime minister is glamorous and internationally recognized as a celebrity of progressive politics. We are among the last societies in the West not totally consumed by loathing of others. Canada leads the Group of 7 countries in economic growth. Our cultural power is real: Drake recently had 24 songs on the Billboard Hot 100 at the same time — for one shining moment he was nearly a quarter of popular music. Frankly, it’s not going to get much better than this for little old Canada…

Pierre Trudeau, Justin’s father, articulated Canada’s difference from other countries perfectly: “There is no such thing as a model or ideal Canadian,” he said when he was prime minister in 1971. “What could be more absurd than the concept of an ‘all Canadian’ boy or girl? A society which emphasizes uniformity is one which creates intolerance and hate.”

Nationally, Canada has been spared the populism that has swallowed the rest of the Western world because there is not, and has never been, such a thing as a “real Canadian.” … To lead this country, you must be able to navigate multiple languages and multiple cultures. Our longstanding identity crisis has suddenly turned to a huge advantage — we come, in a sense, pre-broken…

So why is Canada so bad at celebrating itself?…Canadian self-flagellation results always in the same warm, comfortingly smug sense of virtue…It transcends the political spectrum. Whether it is Conservative insistence on frugality and small-town values or the furious outrage of identity politics on the left, everyone has the same point to make: We’re not as good as we think we are, and the government should do something about it…

None of what I have written should be taken to imply that Canadians don’t love their country, or that I don’t love my country. I do. Most Canadians do, too. They just love it quietly…

~ Stephen Marche, excerpts from “Canada Doesn’t Know How to Party” (NY Times, June 23, 2017)

Berg!

An iceberg ran aground over Easter weekend just off the small Newfoundland town of Ferryland, population 465, drawing knots of tourists eager to catch a glimpse.  Some are locals or travelers who happened to be nearby, but many are a special Canadian breed, the iceberg chaser — People who flock to the coasts of Labrador and Newfoundland at this time of year hoping to see the huge frozen chunks of broken glacier that drift by on a stretch of sea known as Iceberg Alley.

The berg at Ferryland rises about 15 stories above the waterline — and that is only about 10 percent of its mass. Some of the submerged ice comes into view when the berg is seen from above…

The stunning view that is causing traffic jams of onlookers on the coast road is actually a snapshot of the iceberg’s death throes, 15,000 years in the making. What began as snowflakes falling on Greenland during the last ice age has crept to the sea in a glacier and then broken off, probably sometime in the last three years, to float slowly out into Baffin Bay. Bumped and nudged by one another and by melting pack ice, the bergs eventually get caught up in the southbound Labrador Current and sail down Iceberg Alley.

~ Dan Levin, excerpts from a story in the NY Times, April 20, 2017

Don’t miss the full story and other fantastic photographs by Jody Martin here: A Chunk of the Arctic Stops By for a Photo Shoot

Dinner! Let’s eat together…

Stick with this to the finish…


Thank you Susan

Breathe into me

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At night I open the window and ask
the moon to come and press its
face against mine.
Breathe into me.

~ Jalaluddin Rumi, excerpt from “Some Kiss We Want” in A Year with Rumi: Daily Readings by Coleman Barks

 


Photo of full moon over Peyto Lake by Cath Simard. Peyto Lake is a glacier-fed lake in Banff National Park in the Canadian Rockies. Don’t miss her other shots of Banff here.

We interrupt this broadcast for Breaking News from Canada

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The Gray Jay? Say What?

After a process lasting nearly two years…Canadian Geographic hopes the government will adopt its recommendation in celebration of Canada’s 150th anniversary in 2017. It says the choice between the country’s 450 species of birds “was made neither lightly nor quickly.”

Part of the controversy is about the selection process — the gray jay came in third in the online poll, behind the common loon and the snowy owl…

But the pick is controversial, prompting headlines such as this one in The Toronto Star: ” ‘The gray what?’ Outcry as gray jay named Canada’s national bird.” Hashtags such as #teamloon are full of outrage and sadness. “Unlike Canada … the gray jay is drab and not terribly photogenic,” wrote the Ottawa Citizen in an unflattering article titled, “7 embarrassing photos that gray jays don’t want you to see.”…

It was a long, heated selection process. Backers for the different birds duked it out in a “battle royal” debate, streamed live, where they mulled questions such as “Is the cry of the loon a hauntingly beautiful lament or the stuff of children’s nightmares?” and “Is the Canada goose a messy, ill-tempered brute or a unifying symbol that is also surprisingly delicious?”…

But Aaron Kylie, an editor for Canadian Geographic said: “We didn’t just follow the popular vote, because also, to be frank, I don’t think that we should decide a national symbol based on a popularity contest,” Kylie told the newspaper. He pointed to what some see as a cautionary tale, from the U.K.: “If we did those kind of things, that’s how you end up with Boaty McBoatface. It’s not really the right way to go about something that’s so serious.”

Read on – Merrit Kennedy, Canada Is Agonizing About Choosing A National Bird:

I come here for silence


Filmed in the Canadian and Greenlandic High Arctic

TRUTH: Canada to you.

Check out what some Canadians are saying about what’s happening down south.


Thank you Lori!

Big Red

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RIP: Mr. Everything

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Gordie Howe, known as “Mr. Hockey,” had died at 88 this afternoon. Howe was also referred to during his career as Power, Mr. Everything, Mr. All-Star, The Most, The Great Gordie, The King of Hockey, The Legend, The Man, No. 9, and “Mr. Elbows”. Here’s some excerpts from terrific tribute by Adam Gopnik from the New Yorker:

“Gordie Howe, who died today, was so much a legend—Mr. Hockey!—and so often referenced as the greatest player of all time, even lending his Number 9 to Wayne Gretzky (who turned it into his own 99), that it is surprisingly hard to put his achievements into clear relief. His persistence was such that, in memory, it overwhelms his peculiar excellence. The persistence was pretty startling. He played until he was fifty-two, long enough to skate professionally alongside his own sons. His accumulated stats include 2,421 games, 1,071 goals, 1,518 assists, 2,589 points, and 2,418 penalty minutes…He seemed to play forever, and he forever played well, winning six M.V.P. awards and six scoring championships, too…

Some of Howe’s peculiar greatness is summed up in the still-current “Gordie Howe hat trick,” which is when a player has a goal, an assist, and a fight all in one game. Howe was tough—and, by all accounts, mean…

Above all, he was a representative—the perfect representative—of a certain kind of Canadianness, reflected, as it was bound to be, in a hockey player, as perhaps Lou Gehrig or Stan Musial, other Iron Men, were representative of similar, American baseball values, now largely lost. A product of Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, the most Canadian of Canadian places, Howe might have had the Canadian fault of being a touch too trusting, easily and even brutally exploited by the Red Wings owner Bruce Norris. He nonetheless made the Canadian virtues of modesty, persistence, and family-above-all-else part of the heritage of hockey. He didn’t just play with his sons; he played well with his sons—while his wife, Colleen, a Detroit girl, was always surprisingly visible, in a way few athletes’ wives were at the time. He even got to play in the now mostly—and unfairly—forgotten 1974 Summit Series, when the World Hockey Association’s stars took on the Soviets. He was old, but still the leader.

~ Adam Gopnik, The New Yorker: Gordie Howe Was the Ideal Canadian Athlete


Photo: Amazon – Mr. Hockey: My Story. By Gordie Howe

 

 

 

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