Notes on a Buddhist path

My country, my home

April 1, 2012 By | 8 Comments

Coming to Canada was a labour of love and reclamation. Four years ago I settled here, a place that when we first met I knew was the home I had been looking for my whole life.

“I was a landed immigrant, much like a grand explorer or someone lost at sea who finds their footing at last on terra firma. Perhaps I was even like that spry fish, caught in the net of destiny or whatever it is that brings us to where we are meant to be in our lives.”

There’s a new article of mine posted at sharing some of the many things I love so much about Canada, my home.

And if any of you know where to get great poutine, please do let me know.

Coming Home

by Mary Oliver

When we are driving in the dark,
on the long road to Provincetown,
when we are weary,
when the buildings and the scrub pines lose their familiar look,
I imagine us rising from the speeding car.
I imagine us seeing everything from another place–
the top of one of the pale dunes, or the deep and nameless
fields of the sea.
And what we see is a world that cannot cherish us,
but which we cherish.
And what we see is our life moving like that
along the dark edges of everything,
headlights sweeping the blackness,
believing in a thousand fragile and unprovable things.
Looking out for sorrow,
slowing down for happiness,
making all the right turns
right down to the thumping barriers to the sea,
the swirling waves,
the narrow streets, the houses,
the past, the future,
the doorway that belongs
to you and me.

“Coming Home” by Mary Oliver, from Dream Work. © The Atlantic Monthly Press, 1986 from The Writer’s Almanac

Image credit: Beach Drive, Victoria, BC by mirandall  – Flickr Creative Commons, some rights reserved


  1. greetingsfromcoupeville says

    I’m so happy my dear friend found her way home. May your continued journey find your heart peaceful, your joy abundant, and, one day your rice bowl filled with poutine (whatever that is). With light, love and laughter, M

  2. Thanks M. For your edification, poutine is French fries and fresh cheese curds, covered with brown gravy or sauce. I know. How could I have gone so long without eating Canada’s national food?

    • greetingsfromcoupeville says

      I’d recommend a few more lifetimes.

      • Ach! Yet another stab in the heart from our neighbour in Coupeville! (And yes, that’s “neighbour” with an “o-U-r”!). And with a town name like Coupeville, you would think they would be a little more reverential to poutine (pronounced like the last name of the Russian president, but with more “een” at the end), since it originated in Quebec (pronounced “kay-bec”) where they speak French, as obviously did the namers of the fair town of Coupeville. (Passez la poutine du Coupeville, s’il vous plait.) Hmmmpf! (pronounced “hmmmpf”)

        (Actually, I’ve never had the stuff myself, and every time I think of doing so my coronary artery threatens to stage a protest. So yeah, maybe a few more lifetimes are in order)

        • greetingsfromcoupeville says

          Je suis désolé, monsieur, il me semble que je vous ai offensé une fois de plus. Now, back to my native tongue – and speaking of native tongues – I believe we all owe a debt of gratitude to the Native American people who inhabited this beautiful island, as well as the mainland to my right (depending which way I’m facing) and your beautiful country above the 49th parallel. And so I thank the Lower Skagits (Whidbey Island Skagits), the Swinomish, Suquamish, and the Snohomish. P.S. Having grown up with a father from the deep South, who thought gravy poured over anything,and then more gravy on top of it, and a little more gravy on the side, was a light dessert, poutine comes across as the perfect dish for liver cleanse. About the spelling thing…we spell “hmmmpf” the same way, but pronounce it “whatever.”

      • Wow, you have regained my respect with your splurge of Francais, and your encyclopedic knowledge of the first nations peoples of your region. Some here in Canada think we should change the words of our national anthem from “Oh Canada, our home and native land” to “Oh Canada, our home’s on native land”, and I would be one to agree with them.

        I just hope we (okay, “I”) have not scared away anyone who wanted to leave more uplifting comments than mine on Tess’ piece.

        Oh, and nice pronunciation of “hmmmpf”. A local dialect I assume.

  3. As a dyed-in-the-wool, flag-waving, correct-pronounciation-of-Z, maple-syrup-running-through-my-veins Canadian, let me say that there are some immigrants where you just say, “Yeah, the stork must have been blown off course. Deep down, they’ve always been Canadian”.

    You, Tess, are one of those.

    • Who knew poutine could upset stomachs and raise the ire of people across borders? I think we can agree that our culinary leanings tend to not be towards fried foods with four courses of grease and gravy.

      I offer an olive branch of conciliation to my friends in Canada and the States. Maybe we can all get together for a peace salad. Hold the gravy.

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