we stand on guard for thee

Posted: July 2, 2012 in Uncategorized
Tags: , , ,

I am no traveler. But I have heard the stories from those who are, and what they say is this:

At the forty-ninth parallel, there is a veil of mist that extends from ocean to ocean. This veil cannot be penetrated by mere mortals. Those who try to pass through it find that no matter how far they penetrate the mist, they become lost in a maze of shadows and fog. They cannot find the way out. There is no way out. And the longer they remain beyond the mist, they grow colder and grayer and eventually fade into nothing, into mere fog-wraiths, without ever seeing the sun again.

Nobody goes north of this barrier. Nobody can go there. Armies have marched through the mist, and disappeared forever.

Some say that the mist marks the north end of the world. Some say that there is nothing beyond this place.

But then, on one day every year, the veil of mist parts. On the first day of the seventh month (or on the second day, if the first day falls on a Sunday), the veil of mist parts, and we southrons are permitted to pass beyond.

I have never seen the land beyond the mist. But I have spoken with those who have gone beyond, and this is what they say:

They tell of a country made entirely of ice. They tell of a land forever bound in snow, from the gently-lapping salt sea to the peaks of the highest mountains at the backbone of the continent. It is a cold land, and a savage one, but beautiful still, shining white and brilliant beneath the ever-burning midnight sun and the eerie green glow of the aurora.

Those who have gone beyond the veil tell of a queen that lives in this country, a lady both beautiful and terrible. She travels the snow-bound country in a sled made of hoarfrost and icicles, pulled by a team of thirteen white bears. Wherever she goes, she is accompanied by a procession of knights, wearing surcoats of red, mounted on the finest of steeds. Her rage is the frozen anger of a blizzard; her smile is the promise of spring. She crosses the country, dispensing justice, for she is a wise and stern ruler, and all love her and despair. It is said that her face gazes balefully out from their currency, which shines with all the colors of the rainbow.

I have also heard tell, from those who have gone north of North, that the warriors in this country wear bladed shoes, and they challenge each other in grand arenas of ice, and their tourneys are the delight of all the people who live there. I have heard that their healers are noble and just, and that they will not refuse a patient for lack of money, for it is said that among those who walk in the snow-country believe that healing is a duty, not a whim. I have heard of the birds and the beasts that live beyond the veil, the mighty grizzled bears and the giant hornèd deer, the fearsome direwolves and the golden-voiced swans that howl and sing all the night and day.

I have heard tell of this land, even here in my southern home, so close to the sun, so far from the cold. And though I may never look on the face of the ice-queen, or see the knife-soled warriors jousting on pitches of ice, or hear the call of the loon so mournful in the frigid night air, I can still dream.

And I do dream.

It is my fondest wish that one day I see this place. One day, I hope to pass beyond the veil. And though I do not know if I ever will go that way, if my restless feet shall ever take me to the far North of the world, I still wonder.

And thus it is that I am given hope.

Happy Canada Day.

~ Ian

  1. John says:

    But didn’t you guys just get universal healthcare? Oh, wait, it is going to be repealed when that corporatist drone Romney gets elected because Americans think that it is “democracy” when the candidate with the most money can buy up the majority of space for getting their message out.

    You know, the sad part is that I think a lot of Americans do realize that they now live in an oligarchy (albeit a relatively benevolent one) and have for a while now. They are just too lazy to get up off their obese asses and do anything about it.

    (Fun fact, in Canada, America is now taught as an example of the Iron Law of Oligarchy).

    Sorry to rain on this parade.


    • Ian Johnson says:

      You hear that noise? That’s me agreeing with you.

      And to be honest, I think the Republican party is on its way out, for one simple reason: they don’t know how to handle Latinos. It’s not that Latinos aren’t conservative– in a lot of ways, the Latino population (in California, at least) is highly socially conservative. But the simple fact of the matter is, Latinos are the fastest-growing ethnic group in America. And unless the Republicans gets off the whole “keep brown people out of America OR WHITE PEOPLE WON’T HAVE JOBS ANYMORE” bullshit, Texas and Arizona will be blue states within ten years. And when the GOP loses Texas, well, game over for them.

      Not that I’m complaining, of course. I will do a happy little dance when the Republican Party drowns in its own bile. And it’s only a matter of time…

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