Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Canada Day


On Canada Day, I find myself thinking about this longing I've always felt for the country. My father was born in Quebec, and I used to go up when I was little, but I'm not sure that's all of it. There's a feeling that this is the real north. I'm a winter girl, a northern girl.

It seems to be the music that created the strongest links, the deepest yearnings for a place I've never lived. My early loves were Gordon Lightfoot, and Ian and Sylvia. Later came the Barenaked Ladies and Sarah McLachlan; and the Prince Edward Island fiddlers, especially the Chaisson family. The combination of a fiddle, guitar, and piano is just about the most perfect sound I've ever heard.

Four Strong Winds
Ian and Sylvia Tyson

Four strong winds that blow lonely,
Seven seas that run high,
All those things that don't change, come what may.
But our good times are all gone,
And I'm bound for moving on.
I'll look for you if I'm ever back this way.

Think I'll go out to Alberta,
Weather's good there in the fall.
I got some friends that I can go to working for,
Still I wish you'd change your mind
If I asked you one more time,
But we've been through that a hundred times or more.

Four strong winds that blow lonely,
Seven seas that run high,
All those things that don't change, come what may.
But our good times are all gone,
And I'm bound for moving on.
I'll look for you if I'm ever back this way.

If I get there before the snow flies,
And if things are going good,
You could meet me if I sent you down the fare.
But by then it would be winter
There ain't too much for you to do
And those winds sure can blow cold way out there

Four strong winds that blow lonely,
Seven seas that run high,
All those things that don't change, come what may.
But our good times are all gone,
And I'm bound for moving on.
I'll look for you if I'm ever back this way.

When I was a young, impressionable girl, I wanted to say, "I'll go. I like winter and I don't mind there not being much to do."

And then there's the Song for a Winter's Night by Gordon Lightfoot.

The lamp is burnin' low upon my table top
The snow is softly fallin'
The air is still within the silence of my room
I hear your voice softly callin'

If I could only have you near
To breathe a sigh or two
I would be happy just to hold the hands I love
Upon this winter night with you

The smoke is rising in the shadows overhead
My glass is almost empty
I read again between the lines upon the page
The words of love you sent me

If I could know within my heart
That you were lonely too
I would be happy just to hold the hands I love
Upon this winter night with you

The fire is dying now, my lamp is growing dim
The shades of night are liftin'
The mornin' light steals across my windowpane
Where webs of snow are driftin'

If I could only have you near
To breathe a sigh or two
I would be happy just to hold the hands I love
Upon this winter night with you
And to be once again with with you

See the theme - winter, north. When Bob Dylan sang, Girl Of the North Country, I thought, "that's me!"

What I'm trying to say here is, that just as Jimmy Buffett has "a Caribbean soul I can barely control and some Texas hidden here in my heart," I've got some Canada in my heart and soul. I hope someday to see what The Byrds sang of all those years ago, "the blue Canadian Rockies, round the banks of Lake Louise" and to visit all the provinces. Until then, I get to go there by reading the blogs of many wonderful Canadians from all over the country. To each of them, I wish a Happy Canada Day!

5 comments:

  1. I feel the same way about our northern neighbor, Nan!
    Mentioning Lightfoot brought back the fond memory of when my husband & I would go to a certain pub in our town with the only reason being his album was on their jukebox!

    So many great Canadian musicians! Neil Young, Michael Buble, & K.D. Lang also come to mind. :)

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  2. Hi Nan: Thanks so much for your Canada Day comments. Often reading your blog, I think perhaps you might be a "kindred spirit".

    Gordon Lightfoot was and still is one of my favourite artists. When I was in my teens, he would sing at a coffee house in midtown Toronto. You had to be eighteen to get in, so my friend's brother would get us fake ID's just so we could see him. We would get tickets for the late show, but would show up for the early one as well, because the place was so small, and had no air conditioning, so they always left the door open. We got to hear him twice in one night, what a treat.

    Do you know the group Great Big Sea from the east coast? Now that group's music will surely set you toes tapping. Thanks again for you kind comments.

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  3. I love Gordon Lightfoot! I have 2 of his cds. :)

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  4. Hello from PEI -
    What a lovely post to read on Canada Day. It's not often I see references to PEI, or the Chaisson family on the blogs.
    Have you been to the Rollo Bay fiddle festival? I haven't myself; it's probably too close for me to appreciate it since it is always there.
    I second the Great Big Sea recommendation.

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  5. Thank you for such a great post and such fond memories of musicians I also listened to! I sang this song as I travelled to Alberta many years ago!
    ...."Think I'll go out to Alberta,
    Weather's good there in the fall.
    I got some friends that I can go to working for..."
    Thank you for remembering!
    Blessings!
    Joanne
    P.S. Lovely header (as always, you sure know how to feature great photography)

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