When I am away from my “home and native land, ” I give little thought to Canada’s birthday unless I happen to be there. Otherwise, it’s just another ordinary day in my adopted country. But this year was different. Not only did the Canadian holiday fall on a Sunday, but I was invited by Dominican/Canadian neighbour friends to a class for a small gathering of yoga enthusiast friends, to be followed by brunch on an expansive porch overlooking Roseau. We didn’t actually see any snakes until we took a tour of the property after we ate. (More on that unexpected but exciting surprise later!)
At least a dozen of us were keen on this special Sunday morning class. It was lead by Dominica’s popular certified Canadian yoga instructor, Trudy Prevost of Rainbow Yoga. There were also some other Canucks* living in Dominica in the group, as well as American expats and of course, Dominican friends with whom I often associate, be it hiking, singing , dining or yoga!
For 1 1/2 hours, Trudy’s gentle approach to poses for all muscle groups soothed everyone and definitely put all of us in a relaxed and refreshed state of mind by the end of the class. We were also mesmerized by the lovely location of our host friends’ property. The stunning views of Roseau, the stately royal palms along the driveway, the beautiful home surrounded by lush green forest made us mindful of this tranquil Sunday morning in paradise. It was the perfect place to personally celebrate Canada’s birthday from far away!
After having been stretched and soothed in our yoga session with Trudy, we eagerly tucked into a delicious potluck brunch. The fixings were definitely filling and included fresh sweet pineapple; crisp cabbage salad; Daria’s delectable vegetarian chick pea delight; hearty natural cocoa tea; Dominican fruit cake; my maple walnut muffins (made with real Canadian syrup!) and other tasty treats.
We chatted easily and reacquainted with those in the group with whom we had not had the pleasure to catch-up in some time. After a while, the conversation came around to Canada Day, as one friend had just been there, and another was about to leave for the “true north” next day. All of a sudden, my Trinidadian/Dominican friend, who loves the Maritimes, mentioned that she didn’t know the words to the Canadian National Anthem, but she certainly knew the tune! As she commenced, what could I do but fill in the words to her melodious, exacting and rhythmic vocal accompaniment. Very quickly, I was not alone as other Canucks both big and small raised their voices to the rafters with our patriotic rendition. Tears filled my eyes. I truly felt the collective spirit of the occasion – celebrating Canada’s 145th birthday with wonderful friends of various cultural backgrounds, from thousands of miles (I mean kilometers!) away!
The high spirits continued as our host took us on a little tour of his family’s property. A group of young girls ran on ahead of the adults, but suddenly stopped short and seemed to scream in terror. “Snakes, snakes!” some of them shouted.
With camera in hand, I rushed ahead. Over several minutes, I saw not one, not two, but several boa constrictors taking their afternoon siestas in the sunshine. I was astounded! I had lived on the edge of the rainforest, walked and hiked all over the countryside, and had never had the pleasure of admiring these stunning serpents in their skins until now. As my camera clicked, a little girl held my arm tightly. The rest of the adults gathered ’round. Then the frightened children calmed down when they saw us quietly admiring and speaking well of these reclusive boas. It was really a sight to behold – and a wish come true for me.
I am grateful for our gracious hosts, Trudy and her gift of yoga, good friends, great food, the stunning scenery and those beautiful snakes for giving me a very memorable Canada Day on Dominica.
*Canuck = Canadian (slang)
Some more poses from our special Sunday morning class with Trudy Prevost of Rainbow Yoga. She always encourages everyone to go at their own pace, do what feels best in each pose and never feel pain.