Nobody flew a flag, painted their faces with maple leaves or even wished me Happy Canada Day. As night falls I do not look forward to any fireworks, CBC concerts from Ottawa or drunken revelling on the streets. What a shame. I feel lonely today.
It’s not even about nationalism, as such. Just because I have a flag (in my closet) and my mother has so proudly presented me with a Fabrique au Canada t-shirt, I do not think that I, or indeed Canadians on the whole, are the greatest thing humanity has ever known. But there’s nothing wrong with enjoying the fact that you’re part of a community, just like England is doing with the World Cup of Soccer (well, not after losing in a penalty shoot out to Portugal today – now they’re busy consoling each other as a nation). It’s about sharing a day with people who, despite obvious differences, are the same as you because they inhabit the same land, drink the same beer and work the same racket. It’s about being with people who understand where you are coming from, damnit!
I want to make maple leaf cupcakes for people who’ll say, “Eh, thanks man!” when I give them out, not “Ooh, how nice. What’s Canada Day?” Is that horrible? I hope not.
So what do I miss? The big open sky, for one. The knowledge that even though the wait was tremendous, July is the beginning of the best season of my life. The smell of the grass, the nightly thunderstorms, the sight of broken fences and herds of cows crowding up a gravel road. Kokanee! Small town activism. These are just a few of the things running through my mind on a quiet July 1 from my little back garden in Marlborough. So I can’t help but feel I’m missing out, though it’s a fresh, warm evening, the World Cup is on in the background and there’s a happy cat in my lap. But maybe I’m just greedy.