_____________”The spirit is at home, if not entirely satisfied, in America.”_____________
Thus wrote Allan Bloom in Closing of the American Mind. I couldn’t help but commit the quotation to memory and it came to mind as we passed through the invisible veil separating Canada and the United States. The boundary between them is an arbitrary political construction that poses no barrier to the mixed conifer forests, mountains, and cold autumnal rain that covers the landscape this time of year. The casual bicycling observer would note that miles pass by much more slowly than kilometers, and that America got something right when it minimized taxes at the grocery store. Yet these are trivial distinctions that lay like debris over the spectacular character of this America that we call home.
Canadians will celebrate their Thanksgiving this coming Monday. Though our own Thanksgiving is still far away, I wish to excerpt from Vermont Royster’s “And the Fair Land” which is printed annually on the Wall Street Journal’s editorial page every Thanksgiving day. We are forever grateful for the goodness of those who have helped us since our return to the States.
But we can all remind ourselves that the richness of this country was not born in the resources of the earth, though they be plentiful, but in the men that took its measure. For that reminder is everywhere – in the cities, towns, farms, roads, factories, homes, hospitals, schools that spread everywhere over that wilderness.
We can remind ourselves that for all our social discord we yet remain the longest enduring society of free men governing themselves without benefit of kings or dictators. Being so, we are the marvel and the mystery of the world, for that enduring liberty is no less a blessing than the abundance of the earth.
And we might remind ourselves also, that if those men setting out from Delftshaven had been daunted by the troubles they saw around them, then we could not this autumn be thankful for a fair land.