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Recently, I flew from Montreal to Vancouver. Sometimes, I take these flights for granted. But with clear views for most of the journey, today's flight offered a five-hour glimpse of the vastness of our country. And it made me think all sorts of things.
That tends to happen when feeling sentimental about my kids, being belted in at 34,000 feet, antsy from lack of sleep and high from the MSG in my Air Canada instant noodles.
Most of us travel a fair bit. By our standards, it's normal. Yet sometimes the distances really hit me -- how far away are these otherwise familiar cities within our country. We know our national geography, at least the big names, but that familiarity can fool us into thinking that these places are closer than they are. Montreal, Halifax, how far do we spread our wings…
It never ceases to amaze me how much land and water are part of Canada. Quebec and Ontario sometimes look like there is as much water as terra firma.
We are lucky and we need to be better guardians of where we live.
The Prairies, too, have their distinct look - pock-marked stretches with zillions of bits of ponds, and serpentine rivers.
East to west.
Natural landscapes, a few manufactured mines visible, then farms carved out of the land following diverse contours. When we reach the farmland I marvel at the size of our bread basket. And I have appreciation for all the people who devote their lives to feeding us.
Easy to forget, as we pop into our well-stocked local markets, that all this goodness actually gets planted, tended and harvested by thousands of people. TLC, or at the very least, the C -- even if it's now supported by technology, it's a labour to create what comes out of these fields.
By the way, judging by today's views, crop circles are real. Ya think…?
Sitting by the window, having decided to really look around, I couldn't help but also notice the dendritic ice crystals 6 inches from my nose. Growing just outside my viewing oval.
I'm mesmerized by dendrites. Another reminder that sometimes we don't have to look far to find fabulous things.
As we left the prairies, a haze veiled part of the land below. Groaning, I thought: "Phooey, I'll miss my mountains".
Au contraire. Flying into Vancouver delivered possibly one of the most striking local vistas I've seen. Low clouds surrounded emergent peaks. Tolkienesque. Stunningly beautiful. Another perspective from which to appreciate the abundance around us.
So, with all this natural beauty and agricultural geometry - what do I take away?
Nourishment and vitality from focussing on copious images of landscape; a reminder that we have more blessings and good fortune than we can imagine; inspiration to continue to try to add to the balance of goodness; and gratitude for the tapestry of diversity in our lives.