Archive for the ‘Commentaries’ Category

By Matthew Casey

Fall is full of wonderful and vibrant colours.

The days are getting shorter and the air is becoming a little cooler and crisper. What could be coming our way? Fall.  Out of all four seasons autumn is my absolute favourite and I just love the transition of summer into this glorious and often dreaded season.

It may be a difficult concept to grasp that fall is my favourite season, but I think that it if you look at some of the great attributes of this time of year and don’t just focus on the fact that it is the end of summer, then fall really is a likeable season. The official start to the season isn’t until September 23, but here is why I love fall.

First of all, summer is so hot! I love mild temperatures but those days where the mercury can climb to well into the 30s with a humidex factor of 40 are just too much for me.  Some people love the heat, but I am not one of them.  I prefer temperatures that range in the high teens to low twenties—without ANY humidity.  The last couple of weeks as the air masses in the eastern half of Canada seem to be transitioning from those hot summer conditions to a more seasonable cooler air mass typical of fall have been great for me.  The cooler temperatures are also great if you love to exercise outdoors, it just makes jogging or going for a walk a little more comfortable when the breeze has a slight chill to it.

Secondly I love fall because it is the most colourful season we experience.  Sure the summer is great where everything is green and growing, but I am talking about rich colours like reds, yellows, and oranges.  When I lived in New Brunswick I loved to take a leisurely drive through the countryside of the province right when the fall foliage was becoming saturated with vibrant and rich hues of colour.  All of those maple trees off in the distance looked like an oil painting brushed by the hand of Mother Nature herself. It just gives me an immense appreciation for the wonder of nature’s beauty and makes me realize how often I can be oblivious to it when I am caught up in the rush of everyday life.  Just taking in the wonders of all the colours takes my mind off of the worries of the day for a moment.  It’s almost like the proverbial “stopping to smell the roses” saying.

There is also something about the air and the way it smells and feels in the fall.  The air, no matter if you live in a big city or a rural part of town, just seems to have such a freshness to it that just isn’t there in those hot summer months.   I know when I step outside my door on a cool fall morning the air just smells so great and it is invigorating and it livens my senses.  If I was able to take a bite out of the air in the fall I absolutely would!  The cooler and fresher air of the season also makes sleeping much more comfortable than in summer.  For once I can actually sleep without the hum of an air conditioner or a fan in the background.

Canada Geese are majestic birds that migrate in large flocks every fall.

Another sign that summer is drawing to a close is when the flocks of birds begin gathering on the power lines and in the trees.  They are getting ready to fly away and migrate to their winter home.   I find that it is amazing to watch a flock of birds flying through the sky, all off to one place together.  In particular, I love Canada geese and watching a large flock of them fly over head is very majestic and also gives me a sense of the wonder of nature.

So all in all maybe fall doesn’t look to be as bad as it seems on the surface. If you delve deeper into it, it really is one of the most amazing seasons that I am glad we get to experience year after year here in Canada.  If you haven’t taken the time to admire the beauty of fall then maybe this will inspire you to get out there and do so this year.  Now if I were to talk about winter on the other hand…well don’t get me started on what I think of that “wonderful” season!

What is your favourite season?

Me enjoying the sand beneath my bare feet at Caissie Cape in New Brunswick

By Matthew Casey

I recently got back from a trip back home to Moncton, New Brunswick and have come to the realization that the people who live in the Maritimes enjoy, most likely, one of the best qualities of life in the country.  Now, I can’t say for one hundred percent sure it’s the best because I have never lived in the western half of our gorgeous country, but in terms of the east, it is the best hands down and I do not make this judgment based on my bias of having lived there for 21 years of my life.

I remember when I lived there that at times it seemed boring and like such a small place to live with not much to offer.  I longed for an opportunity to move away from the area and experience life in the big city.  After living in Toronto for a year now I have quickly come to the conclusion that I should have gotten out and enjoyed the simplicity of life in New Brunswick more when I lived there.  Toronto is a nice city but the hustle and bustle of this booming metropolis is enough to make me feel like I have aged almost ten years since moving here.  I honestly don’t know how anyone could spend their whole life in a city like Toronto or any other major urban centre.

After spending a mere seven days on the east coast, which seems to go by almost as fast as the blink of an eye, I got to sort of take in a big injection of some of the offerings that Maritimers can enjoy so readily.  I spent time on the beach and got to feel the warm, wet sand beneath my feet for the first time in a long time. I almost forgot what that was like.  I got to taste the salty ocean air on my lips and feel the chill of the beach water as I stepped into it for the first time.  Unlike the beaches here in Toronto, I actually felt safe with the water in terms of its cleanliness.  In fact,  just the drive to the beach was amazing as it allowed me to take in the beautiful scenery that spreads from the outskirts of Moncton all of the way to where the ocean meets the land.  Just that slow leisure drive and tasting the salinity in the air increase as I got closer to the coast line was so refreshing for my body and soul.

Mural in Bouctouche, NB

A lovely mural in Bouchtouche, New Brunswick

The Maritimes are also rich in food culture too, and after living a year here in Toronto I have noticed that good seafood is hard to come by.  Nothing here compares to the freshness of the seafood that is brought in directly off the boats and sold in the small fish markets of Shediac, New Brunswick.  While I was there I took time to indulge on lobster and a very classic French Acadian dish, poutine rapee (pronounced raw-pay).

So this recent visit home has made me appreciate my Maritime roots even more and makes me now long for the day when I can call that little piece of heaven on earth home again.   I promise myself that when I do live there again I will indulge in all that the east has to offer and never take anything there for granted again.  It really is true what the song says that you don’t know what you’ve got until it’s gone.  I guess moving far away from home is what it took to make me realize how lucky I really was to have the chance to call such a great part of our country home.

By Matthew Casey

I got to thinking about my past today.  I was thinking about all of the people who have played some role in my life at one point in time or another.  As I thought about this, one person that came to my mind was a nasty seventh grade math teacher who didn’t seem to like me that much and he seemed to think he knew what my destiny in life was going to be, even though I was only twelve or thirteen at the time.

I’m not going to name any names here, but this teacher didn’t think too highly of me.  It is no secret that I am no mathematician. Math never has and never will be my strong subject, but for some reason back in the day this teacher seemed to think that because of my inability to successfully calculate angles and circumferences without a calculator that I would be a complete and utter failure.  Somehow my hate and disgust for numbers sealed my fate in life in his eyes.

I will never forget the day just before school was out for summer that he said to the class that he could tell at that moment who was going to go far in life and who was going to be a complete failure.  He began pointing to the people who were going to be “failures”. Suffice it to say, I was one of the few kids that his finger came to.

He told me that I was never going to be anything in life because I was horrible in math and that because of this I would be lucky to ever land a job doing anything better than pumping gas or flipping burgers Wendy’s. He told me that I would be the person pumping his gas every week and scrubbing his windshield clean and that if I missed one little smudge of dirt he would be talking to the manager to make sure that I lost that job.

Well, like Tuftin Dean’s country song “I’m not so Little Anymore” I would like to see this teacher now and reintroduce myself.  Maybe he would be surprised that I am not working at a local gas station, nor am I flipping burgers in a fast food restaurant.  In fact I think I am doing pretty well for myself.  I live in Toronto; I am getting by somehow financially and getting a higher education.  I am also living my dream and getting the chance to do what I love by interning at The Weather Network.  So in my view I think I can be called a lot of things, but a failure isn’t among them.

I’m not resentful over this teacher, in fact this is the first time I have thought of the man in years.  But it just makes me laugh at how someone can look at a person and judge them just based on superficial circumstances.  How does anyone really know what anyone will accomplish or become in life? You can’t simply look at a person and judge them based on their strong points and weak points and tell them that they will never be successful.

Even history has shown there are people out there who were told they were going to be failures and would never make it in life but they beat the odds and are very famous today.  For instance the great country musician Johnny Cash was told that he was never going to make it in the country music business because all he wanted to sing was gospel, look at how famous he became.  He is now considered one of the founders of the country music genre.  How about Oprah Winfrey?  Before she was the “queen of daytime talk” she was television news reporters who was fired for being “unfit for television” and now look where she is. These people and there are many others are perfect example of why we shouldn’t just give up when we fail at something the first time around or the tenth time.   Had Johnny Cash given up on his dreams look at the great classic country music the world would have been deprived of.

I’m glad that I didn’t settle for just being a gas bar attendant.  To me when someone tells me I won’t make it or I will fail it makes me try even harder.  There is nothing I love more in life than being able to prove somebody wrong about me.  The satisfaction of overcoming what someone else thinks of me is better than the rush that I get from eating one of my favourite foods—chocolate.

So don’t give up on anything in life.  If you have someone telling you that you will fail or aren’t going to make it do everything you can to prove them wrong someday.  And for any teachers out there who may read this I hope you never tell any student, no matter how horrible you think they are, that they are going to be failures in life.  There is just no reason to do that!  Besides, you might even make them so angry that they will blog about you someday down the road.