THE WAY I SEE IT: Enjoy the magic around you

Michele Blais touches on the country, flying, the CBC and technology

On a flight across the country this week, I was reminded of how magically impressive flying in an airplane really is. In four hours, I travelled from Kelowna to Toronto. That’s less than the time it takes to drive to Vancouver, complete my work day, take care of the yard and garden. I was in a city  4,120 kilometres away.

In years gone by, that trip would have taken years.  As a kid driving on one of the crazy car vacations we did as a family, it took five days.

On Thursday, it was a beautiful day to fly and I had booked a window seat so I could enjoy the countryside. The sky was a beautiful blue and fairly clear with mostly just little puffy clouds like cotton balls scattered on a child’s painting. Those little puffs allowed me to see through to this absolutely beautiful country’s landscape as we sat in our chairs, in a steel tube, 37,082 feet in the air.

Higher than the birds fly.

The only feature I needed to make it better was if I could have been listening to CBC Radio as I flew across a large chunk of this great land.  I would have liked to hear Stuart McLean tell one of his great stories, or listen to some music from some artists that wouldn’t normally cross my path. Jian Ghomeshi would have been enjoyable. The Irrelevant Show would have made me laugh as it does every time I listen to it.  Rex Murphy’s Cross Country Checkup would have been very fitting.

I love CBC Radio and those many great shows that I have listened to over the years have helped deepen my love for Canada. The radio was always on in my childhood home. My father and step-father both listened to sports at night on the radio, they would be relaxing in a chair or in bed enjoying the play by play action of a ball game or hockey game. The skill of the announcer to describe the play was very important to being able to engage the listeners enthusiasm and imagination. Yelling at the radio was as common as yelling at the TV is today.

My personal connection with CBC began when I lived in Fort McMurray as a young woman and I was living in some horrible staff accommodation, in a small room  and my entertainment, besides my books, was CBC Radio. I felt very Canadian listening to stories of Newfoundland, small towns in the prairies, or the west coast and all places in between. The radio programming helped me feel connected to my home in Ontario, and taught me so much over the years. I listened to Peter Gzowski like he was Springsteen, and that was true love. My relationship with CBC has stayed and I am a regular listener. I have laughed till I cried, and cried many tears over personal stories of triumph; learned from Quirks and Quacks, the Current and Randy Bachman’s Vinyl Tap and prepared many a meal listening to Definitely Not The Opera.

CBC Radio provides to me a multitude of services — education, news, history, cultural awareness, entertainment, and deep, deep national pride. It opens my eyes to innovation, new ideas and different view points. Keep it please and put it on planes.

What I was reminded of on Thursday was to appreciate how amazing life is. Airplanes, trains and automobiles, cell phones that send signals to space and then back down to us in seconds, but sometimes aren’t fast enough. Next time you feel something isn’t working fast enough think about the process it is going through and appreciate that.

I am in Toronto writing this column and when I hit send, Katherine Mortimer in Vernon will receive it at her computer within seconds.  Seconds, folks! Amazing. I am glad that I grew up without the Internet, had a party line phone as our first telephone, went to a one-room school house and had to play outside no matter what the weather because I do get excited and am impressed with technology.  It is amazing what is offered now, our progress in health care, education tools, science, manufacturing, the arts, business, travel, connecting families is phenomenal.  And it continues at a rapid pace. We take a lot for granted and expect a great deal and appreciation or wonder would be welcomed.

When I was looking out the window of the plane it appeared as if we were moving slowly, peacefully gliding through the air. The little map on the screen in front of me showed the cities we flew over, Calgary, Yorkton, Regina, Winnipeg, Sudbury.  I was feeling very present enjoying the view below, the Rockies, the checkered pattern of Prairie farms, looking for shoreline on the great lakes. Peaceful, content. In the distance I saw another plane and it was going fast, probably 500-plus kilometres like us. It feels slow but we are flying.

Life is fast, days go by, months years, we experience so much. It is also full of great moments, ah ahs, and those that take our breath away.  Give pause and enjoy those moments and the magic that surrounds you. Including yourself and all that you as a human are capable of.


Vernon Morning Star