This Week This Month, By Larry Ellis
It is the Thanksgiving season in Canada, and tonight the sun showed its presence only by a thin line of orange, after all-day of grey clouds scattered over our quiet town. The winds are sleeping, but somewhere someone is burning leaves and our village is “adrift” with the smoke, acrid and haunting. Long ago an Algonquin brave remembered the campfire smells during the cool moon, along the banks of the Rideau River. It’s like I hear the stealthy rustle of a moccasin in fallen leaves; I am taken back in time, trying to imagine what it may have been like many years ago right here!
It is time to harvest – after all, the first lovely place in the world was a garden and perhaps when the dew hangs, we feel a closer kinship with the beginning of all things. From ancient Rome came lettuce and turnips, Mexicans gave us maize/corn, beans from Europe, the smart Iroquois gave us the squash, pumpkins and potatoes. The age-old miracle has happened again, and Thanksgiving will be celebrated with thankful Canadian hearts.
The birds, urged by age-old instinct, are collecting, holding meetings, circling and drilling, for the trek southward. The geese can be seen in flocks in a long vee, orderly and straight and noisy but sometimes quiet and wobbly with occasional stragglers. The wonderful Canada Geese, handsome, aloof, wise, are a noble site, and their honk is the spirit of the wilderness.
My favourite poem – “Indian Summer” with the lines – “Along the line of smoky hills the crimson forest stands, and all the day the blue jay calls throughout the Autumn lands. Now by the brook the maple leans with all its glory spread, and all the sumacs on the hills have turned their green to red.” Wilfred Campbell was the poet who lived nearly a century ago, in a stone house near Merivale Road in Ottawa.
And so we celebrate another Thanksgiving, how fortunate we are; we give thanks. There are millions who would trade places with us, even just to witness our season of fall. Look at the scarlet torches of the maples; listen to the sighing of the bulrushes as the wind whispers and the music of the river as it flows over the dam at Watson’s Mill, my favourite place!
Here is a tip: do not eat turkey without dressing – you might catch cold!