Friday, February 12, 2010

I'm proud to be Canadian...especially tonight.

**Editor's note: I have started and restarted this post about five or six times already. Sometimes, what you feel is so moving or so profound that you're not sure you have the words to truly capture how you're feeling. This is one of those I need to throw caution to the wind, stop worrying about how it sounds, or whether it's in keeping with my previous posts, and just try, for Pete's sake. And so here it is...

Watching the opening ceremonies tonight of the Vancouver Olympic Winter Games was so moving for me. I was literally brought to tears several times throughout the night by the bold, sensitive images, and the strong, proud words that so eloquently demonstrated what it means to be Canadian. From the computer-graphic-illusion of killer whales swimming across the floor of the stadium, to the beautiful cultural mosaic of First Nations and other dancers and musicians, to k.d. lang's heartwrenching rendition of Leonard Cohen's "Hallelujah", I was again and again in awe and wonder at the beauty and creativity that humanity is capable of, and which can so easily be forgotten in light of the crimes against humanity and the environment that we know are committed daily and which usually occupy the forefront of the media and of our minds.

Tonight was about celebration. It was about peace, and about sharing the Canadian spirit with the world.

Now, I have to admit, I have never seen an opening ceremonies before. Often, when people have talked about the games as symbols of peace and unity, I've nodded at the suggestion and gone on with my very un-Olympic thoughts and responsibilities. I didn't get it. Until tonight.

There are two moments in particular that will stay with me for a very long while.
First, slam-poet Shane Koyczan's powerful delivery of his poem "We Are More" captured some of the most poignant subtleties of the Canadian identity. Canada has often been criticized as a nation without identity, or which defines itself in terms of how it differs from the United States. You can find the full text of his poem here - but this is one part that I loved:
some say what defines us

is something as simple as please and thank you

and as for you're welcome

well we say that too

but we are more

than genteel or civilized

we are an idea in the process

of being realized

we are young

we are cultures strung together

then woven into a tapestry

and the design

is what makes us more

than the sum total of our history

we are an experiment going right for a change

I love this - I can feel it turning into art in the back of my mind. (I'm sure this will be featured on my blog in the near future!)

The second moment was when Rick Hansen wheeled the Olympic torch into the stadium - I felt my heart flutter. My brother Jeffrey has profound mental and physical disabilities; Rick Hansen and the understanding and goodwill he has championed have always been revered and celebrated in my family. For all he has done for this country, and for humanity, that triumphant moment was so well-deserved. What an exciting, beautiful moment when the silhouette of Rick in his wheelchair appeared through the white light of the entrance. Ahhhh. I
t was exhilarating!

So, what did you think? Are you as overwhelmed as I am, or do you just think I'm a sap? ;)

I was a little worried about this post as it seems off-topic, and perhaps, even out-of-character for a blog about the pursuit of scrappyness. This is what it's all about, though, isn't it? Writing and scrapbooking are about pursuing and capturing those moments that make you who you are...and these were moments that articulated an important part of who I am as a Canadian.

Thank you for allowing me to explore this moment with you. :)


  1. i think it's important and very heartfelt that you express what's inside you. that's what i look for in blogs if i were to visit and visit again. i didn't see much of the opening ceremonies but now i wish i did. that poem sounds beautiful. i think canada is absolutely beautiful and so full of culture. i love visiting (i'm in washington). this is a great post! hope you have a wonderful weekend.

  2. WOW - love that excerpt from the poem - so moving - thanks for sharing!!

  3. Wow, What a great post. I loved taking a look around your blog today. Thanks for leaving us a little love and telling us your fave thing....Mmmmm. I love good food with friends. Hugs,Amy

  4. love this... pursuit of scrappyness just became the path to awesomeness! I'm delighted you found some positive excitement for an event that certainly has a lot of controversy.


  5. Lovely post! I only saw parts of the ceremonies and missed that poem. Thank you for sharing. :) Gotta love being Canadian!! :) I agree that our blog is where we share many things that are important to us. Mine will become a Scrapbooking/Bird Geek blog in the next few months!


If you type something below it will make the sun shine and the flowers bloom and all the world's children sing hand-in-hand. If you don't, someone, somewhere, will kick a puppy. You don't want to have that on your conscience, now do you?