Oh, the delightful sensations and feelings of home. Oh, the wonderful whirlwind of a first week back. Oh, the memories. Oh, the possibilities. Oh, Canada!
Nothing beats the feel of soft warm grass underfoot, or a late night swim under never-ending stars. There’s the magic felt from holding the earth in my hands as I’m pulling fresh vegetables from the garden. (Of course, this coincides with the pesky feel of incessant mosquitoes!). My heart swells at the touch of the perfect globe—an apple—in my hand as I turn it gently and release it from the tree, ready for its first crisp bite. And then there’s the rush of a cool Canadian breeze balanced beautifully by the warmth of the sun basking on me as I tilt my face up toward a clear blue sky.
Driving through the countryside, I see this crystal clear sky dotted with puffy white marshmallow clouds, the perfect compliment to an expansive green below. I recognize the sights of a rolling landscape filled with fields full of corn, wheat, alfalfa and soy interrupted by beautiful windbreaks of different varieties of my favourite trees. The rivers and creeks are sparkling in the sun. The towns with their old homes and shops are bustling with activity. The flowers are budding and blooming. The wide road stretches on in a Canadian style of forever.
How I recognize the sounds! The pull of the clothesline as the sheets are coming in, the creaking of old stairs, and CBC Radio One playing non-stop in the kitchen. The birds are singing and squawking, insects are playing their orchestra at night, and frogs are making themselves known in their own funny way. And oh, how I know that sound as I hear the clatter of pots going onto the stove and dishes coming out of their cupboards.
Oh, the food! I have missed the smell of fresh sweet basil as I pick it and chop it using scissors in a cup. A cob of corn gives off an amazingly distinct, sweet smell when you pull down its husks. New potatoes freshly dug from the garden share their earthy scent as you ready them in a pot of water. Even green beans have their own aroma as you wash them and take off their ends before boiling. And then there’s the sizzling scent of large slabs of local steak on the grill, flavoured with the neighbour’s special barbecue sauce—the smell of which I can already taste as it’s cooking.
That’s where our senses of smell and taste are so perfectly entwined. I sit down to an outdoor table topped with fresh salads, vegetables and meats from nearby gardens and fields. Good wine is flowing from home-brewed bottles. With every delicious bite from my plate I get a taste of my memories and a sense of belonging.
What ties all of these wonderful sensations together is the connection to the people who surround them. I am so blessed to feel the embrace of my dear friends and family. To see the growth they’ve encountered as they still hold those same smiles I know so well. To hear their laughter and to comfort their tears. And to share in the delightful smells and flavours of good Canadian cuisine.
Oh, Canada. From far and wide, with a glowing heart, I’m home.