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in the trough

July 4, 2012

In my extremely brief  (two hours) surfing career, I learned that the low point between two

waves is called a trough. I’ve just gotten out of a metaphysical trough. Since 2005,  it happens

every July 2nd and 3rd.  That’s the gap between Canada’s independence day and the U.S.’s.


The proximity of the two dates sets me to pondering about the gravity of the move Jude and

I have made from our native land.  Emigration is not a choice to be taken lightly at any age,

and we did it on the downhill side of our 50’s.  I use this 48-hour span to reflect on the

wisdom of our decision and our progress with the transition.


I have no regrets.  I was and am dismayed and disgusted by U.S. politics.  The polarization

of the Democrats and Republicans has only lengthened since our exit.  The screeching from

the Rabid Right about the recent affirmation of Obamacare has become so shrill that it has

the wolves up here howling.  It’s the New Holocaust, don’t you know.


I simply could no longer live in a nation that sought conflict with the flimsiest of pretenses.

I was in the Marine Corps in the late ’60’s.  I witnessed the general brutality of war and the

specific futility of the Vietnam debacle.  It will haunt me the rest of my days.


I’ve made precious few leaps of faith. Moving here was the biggest. We knew no one and had

no jobs lined up, but still risked selling our house and blithely heading north.  A Canadian

official later explained to us that “normal” people don’t do it that way.


What followed is the essence of this blog: a grand adventure filled with new friends, terrific

neighbours, abundant challenges, and more fun than a barrel of Marx Brothers.  Plus a bear.


In mid-August we’ll start our eighth year on the farm.  We’ve been here long enough to

witness some climate change.  When we first got here, we averaged two inches of rain in

June.  This year we had nearly eight.  Our Julys had been similarly dry until last year,

when we had almost six inches.  We’ve already had aboot two inches this time around.


I was in Kansas recently to see family and friends.  As rewarding as that was, I couldn’t avoid

noticing the edge in the air — a free-floating anxiety eager to attach itself to something. I miss

my loved ones there, but I don’t want to go back.


And we won’t.  Jude and I recently applied for Canadian citizenship.


Happy 236th birthday, America.

  1. July 4, 2012 8:44 am

    I do admire your courageous leap of faith. Most Americans I’ve met are friendly and welcoming, and I hope they will eventually embrace the “freedom” of good leadership. I wish that for us too!

    • July 4, 2012 2:35 pm

      Thank you, Julie. I agree that most Americans are friendly, but the fringes set the agenda. If we could just take the profit out of fearmongering.

  2. Chris permalink
    July 4, 2012 9:12 am

    Interesting reflections, Allen! On the border guard’s comment that you are not normal – I think that those of us who have come to live in Granite Bay are not “normal” by many people’s standards. Then I wonder if, perhaps we and those like us are the really normal people on this planet. Anyway, we are glad you and Jude have made your home in Granite Bay – you are both definitely assets to Quadra Island!

    • July 4, 2012 2:45 pm

      That makes perfect sense, Chris. Meeting so many other non-normals in one spot was like (paraphrasing John Denver) coming home to a place we’d never been before. We are happy and grateful to be part of the status quo here.

  3. wkmtca permalink
    July 4, 2012 9:51 pm

    just remember.. a bunch of the right wing are planning on leaving the u.s. for canada to get away from obamacare.. i think they missed the fact that canada seems to have national health insurance.. maybe they will figure it out once they have lived there for awhile…

    • July 5, 2012 10:10 am

      I read a bunch of tweets from the Right about that. They also miss the point that Canada has strict gun control. I was talking to a neighbour about getting a weapon for home defense, and he said, “Don’t get a pistol. They’re not worth the hassle. If a crime is committed in the area with one, RCMP will come calling.”

  4. Anonymous permalink
    July 6, 2012 10:50 am

    It’s funny how we seek out our “kindred spirits” (a phrase from the book Anne of Green Gables). I grativate to the non-normals, who are just people being themselves and not living according to other people’s ideas imposed on them. Right now I have to deal with people who seem awkward with my lack of conformity. Other times, I have been solidly in a group of my kin.

    A while ago, I had these friends from Missouri who lived in my city. We enjoyed each other a lot and the woman of the family took care of my son. After a few years, they went back to Missouri, not really liking our “high taxes” and not really feeling at home. She told me that in her area in the U.S., there were countless shootings and random deaths–she said most of it doesn’t hit the news, yet even from what we hear about the States, it seems there are a lot of gun-related deaths that wouldn’t happen if the States had proper gun control.

    So funny about the Far Right people wanting to come up here. They would hate it, I think. But then again, stranger things have happened. Maybe they would enjoy being able to enter a hospital when they are sick. Is this not a basic right in a civlised nation? And a president who wants to give this necessity to the sick, is this not a good president? I would call this Grade 1 logic, I don’t get why this is complicated.

    But, as you said, it’s all about the money. Rich Republican leaders will continue to feather their own nests while most people in the country are struggling horribly. What an irony that the far right manipulates the poor to vote for them, the party that will take all the wealth for the wealthy and will not help the middle class and the poor one little bit.

    Just my opinion, edit or delete if desired, Allen!


    • July 8, 2012 9:44 am

      I realize that Canada has plenty of rich folks, but the overall distribution of wealth up here doesn’t seem to be nearly as polarized as in the states. Democracy requires a middle class, and the U.S. is losing its centre. How the rich continually keep the Great Unwashed quibbling among themselves is a political mystery to me. Small wonder we seek out kindred spirits.

  5. Gordon permalink
    July 6, 2012 11:33 am

    Allen, you remain the finest patriot I know.
    Happy 2nd and 4th.

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