Happy Canada Day!
Okay, so I’m a couple days behind. Those who know me (especially my family) know that belated birthday wishes from me are not unusual. In fact, they’re more the norm than the exception.
This Canada Day didn’t bring a lot of cake and fireworks. However, I did wear what I thought was the perfect outfit: red socks and my ‘Thankful’ t-shirt from GoodhYOUman.
I can’t speak for all Canadians, but, as a Canadian, I can say I feel very fortunate to live in this country. Of course, I’ve had an easier time than some because of the roll of my genetic dice. I’m a white, healthy male from a lower middle-class family. So, my start in life had fewer barriers than so many people.
In addition to these lucky rolls, I just happened to be born Canadian. I’ve had the privilege of living in a safe, beautiful and vast country that, among other things, affords me and many, many others an environment that accommodates an active lifestyle in nature. Forests, water, mountains, wide open green spaces…we have it all.
And yet, Canada’s environment is at risk. Single-use plastic, simply too much plastic, climate change, pollution, a disconnect from nature. These are just some of the issues that are creating pause for thought as I celebrate the country’s 152nd birthday and my little place at the party.
The older I get, the more I feel the need for that connection with nature. Just a few minutes running in the forest reminds me of how important it is for my physical, mental, emotional and spiritual health. And, as I hang my Thankful t-shirt up to dry two days after the party, and reflect on Canada’s natural environment, I am thinking to myself that next year’s t-shirt (and party) should be less about what I have obtained from being Canadian and more about what I can give back. It reminds me of what JFK said to the American people: “Ask not what your country can do for you, but what you can do for your country.” In my particular case (and I hope others’), the Canadian version translates into “What more can I do for my country’s environment?” The same one that has given me so much.
Happy Birthday Trails, Canada!