Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Lest We Forget

This morning, Rose and I went to the Remembrance Day event in downtown Nelson, as did hundreds of others. Quite an amazing turnout. At first, there was a sea of umbrellas; around 10:30, there was a downpour. The rain stopped for a few minutes; there was snow, and finally, the weather cooperated.

We saw two bands, including 11 bagpipers (if that is what they are called), and four planes flew overhead at 11:11. There was an immense amount of gratitude for the freedoms we have every day.

When I returned home, I got a telephone call from Janine, who was remembering this anniversary date of me (and my children) leaving Manitoba - 15 years ago. We are leaving on this day, I said to my friends and family back then, "so you won't forget us." I liked the deliberateness of marking the date.

This year I will make a total of 3 journeys back to Manitoba, more than any other in the 15 years of moving away. It has been a grand reconnection. Last visit, I bumped into 4 people who I had not seen in 15 to 20 years; and I thought about what changes and what does not.

During my visits with dear friends and family, I watched the sky, the landscape, and especially the horizon. Mountain life excludes horizon views. I looked for what others may not see - those that live there (and what I did not see or appreciate when I was there) and beyond how others think of Manitoba. I pulled out the LPs and found one I bought many years ago.

I played the song by Deborah Romeyn - Nothing Like the Freedom. Here are some of the lyrics.

There's nothing like the freedom
Looking over miles and miles of land.
And it's something about the prairies
that strangers just don't understand.

And it's something about the space
like it never ends
Highways go forever and don't look back
You can almost see your life behind you as you pass

And here it is if you want to hear it - Nothing Like the Freedom.

There is nothing like the freedom. The message that was delivered at the cenotaph today. A day of remembering.