Sunday, July 1, 2012

Thoughts on Canada Day

In early June, I wandered around the garden.

Thinking how pretty it was, I took some photos with all the spring flowers out and a few visitors such as this yellow swallowtail butterfly sipping from the Dame's Rocket - a wild phlox that graces my garden in spring. Fortunately it had bloomed early since the butterflies all arrived early this year too - I love the  delicacy of this butterfly and the contrast with the strong fuscia colours of the Dame's Rocket.

Today I wanted to share the photos with you and the thoughts they have prompted.

That morning, looking down over the edge of the railing I notice that the clematis has suddenly popped. I had noticed the tight blooms during one of the hard frosts we had in May and figured it would destroy this plant. Apparently it's hardier than I thought, which also has made me think on this country's celebration day.

Another view of this beautiful vine - one of my favourites, learned about from a visit to great-uncle who lived in Victoria B.C. and had an incredible English-style wall-enclosed garden which he tended daily - though he had two artificial legs (when we were kids we called them wooden legs - and they may well have been). He had been a concientious objector during World War I aka The Great War or the War to end all wars...(I love that irony) and joined the Red Cross serving in Europe. One day, he crawled behind enemy lines to bring some injured troops to safety and was hit by some sort of artillery fire.

When he woke up in hospital days later he had no lower limbs. One was gone from above his knee and the other from below his knee.

This kind and thoughtful man was in love with my grandmother's sister. He believed he would never be able to marry her, because how could a man with no legs find work? But after a time, his indomitable spirit took over.

He taught himself to type and got a job with Canadian Pacific Railways. Or CP Rail as it's called these days. He married my great aunt and they bought the lovely Tudor style house that became their home in Victoria. She pre-deceased him, but he kept her close to him in his heart always - a tiny warm hearted woman with a beautiful smile. It was no wonder he adored her. He ate with her photograph on the dining table beside his place setting when my sons and I visited him many years ago. I was so touched.

For most of his life after he retired, my great uncle drove Meals on Wheels to shut-ins. He had many friends in his community and was an active though quiet participant in his church. Always diffident and with a quiet smile.

He has always served as a hero for me - someone who always thought of others first, despite any difficulty he had to overcome and his were bigger than many people face.

Something I think about - heroes - on this Canada Day when we celebrate our country and all it means. We have many in this country - in our armed forces, our police forces, our hospitals, our emergency and fire services - and so many every day people. We are blessed to live in this wonderful country where we can openly celebrate our heroes.

So it seemed appropriate to post another flower to add to the white clematis - a hibiscus blooming this morning with the scarlet of our flag on my deck - white and red for our Canadian flag. Happy Canada Day to my family, friends and fellow Canadians.


  1. First I really like the blog's new format. It is very clean and just looks great. Second, these photographs are enormously clear. Beautiful. And third, I was touched by the story of your uncle. He was an indomitable spirit who would not be stopped. A wonderful story. Thank you.

  2. Bill thank you so much for stopping by and I can't think of my great uncle without love in my heart and tears that he is no longer around. I'm glad you enjoyed a small part of his story. He was also an inspiration to me in terms of writing, as he had researched and wrote a biography of many of my grandmother's family, urging me to continue it. I guess I should before too long.:)

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