Monday, August 1, 2011

Oh, Canada!

 Oh, Canada!
Well, at least the National Anthem is catchy. That's about the only tourist catcher in Ontario. Unless wide open fields of soybean and old red barns are your cup of unsweetened tea. Or maybe you enjoy photographing growing fields of carrots and yellow peppers in fertile black soil reclaimed from the bay.

The bay. A place of solitude with one dock, one fisherman and a dog who loved to swim. That was my favorite part of the trip.  Small bream hovered just below the surface, hiding in the seawee--uh, lakeweed beds. Spiders had taken a chance against being washed away, making their webs around and in the rubber tires that lined the sides of the docks, (dangerously near my dangling legs I discovered too late!).

Tippy, the mixed mutt that followed along, jumped from the rocks, splashed in and paddled around, swimming and enjoying herself, much to the chagrin of the lone fisherman.

A cool breeze blew across the water and cooled the walk home past drainage ditches filled with cattails and frogs. And of course, Tippy helped out, shaking mucky, green slime water in all directions.

The vacation rental homes that lined the road jiggled out an unanswered question: Why would anyone want to vacation here? No shopping (unless you count the Looney Loonie). No eating joints besides Tim Hortons. No T-shirts, ashtrays or magnets.

Nothing but pure hospitality. A clean room with a vase of fresh flowers when I arrived. Apple muffins. Homemade lasagna and dinner around the table with new friends. A Filipino supper with the best spring rolls I have ever eaten.

Nothing but vast openness. Fields and barns and homemade maple syrup and candies. Fishing and swimming and solitude. Otters and Tippy playing in the bay waters.

The 12-hour trip home provoked mixed feelings. Seeing the United States just across the lake. A sign reading: Bridge to America. Old Glory flying proudly still just past the border guards. My throat tightened down and I fought not to cry.

Detroit brought feelings of great fear when we stopped in a very unwelcoming area to get gas. My daughter locked the doors and slid down in the seat, not making eye contact. People shouted and revved motors, glared at the only white boy walking in to pay for gas. I prayed.

Abandoned buildings bejeweled with graffiti and busted windows stared out from behind the highway barriers, much like an abused child peering out of a closet. No wonder the people were daunting and scary. Their world was daunting and scary and hopeless.

Ohio lit up the night sky for us with fireworks shows in the distance, a celebration for some unknown ball team, maybe?

West Virginia was all curvy roads and vast stretches of darkness as I watched for bears to dart out into the road.

Virginia was unnoticed as I slumbered.

North Carolina was unfettered joy. Three members of the canine greeting club welcomed from behind the fence. The Diva...aka, my cat... allowed me to pet her for exactly ten seconds before informing me of her empty bowl.  My bag was forgotten on the floor as I plowed my bed, inhaled the smell of my husband on the pillow next to me and peaceful sleep took over an exhausted American returning from Canada.

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