“ If I can’t dance to it, it’s not my revolution.” – Emma Goldman
Drawn to a bench with a delicious honey ginger green tea overlooking the seawall and the postcard beauty of English Bay, I finally feel I can draw breath to write. I normally write at my desk in a corner of the apartment with its many views of West End life, the verdant lushness of Stanley Park and the still snow covered mountains but today the sea called to me. With the warm spring air all around me, it felt good to put pen to paper in my beloved New York city notebook and to let what words might come flow onto the lined paper.
It’s been an anxious week of hearing and seeing pictures on the news of the forest fire raging in Alberta, the province lying east of the majestic Rockies and our province, British Columbia. There was incredible film footage of this monster; hovering above the lush boreal forest it reminded me of a huge dark dragon, its fiery wings held aloft looking like it had paused for a moment (to have its picture taken perhaps?) before bearing down to once again destroy the many structures and homes of Fort McMurray as well as the land around the city.
Almost 90,000 people became climate refugees in just a few short hours after a brushfire alert last Tuesday afternoon quickly became a fire event beyond anyone’s imagination except in a carefully crafted disaster film. Because of the quick thinking and intuition of the city’s authorities, everyone made it out alive with only 2 lost due to a car accident during this mass exodus. There is other footage of flaming ash falling on the vehicles as they fled, fire eating up the tall trees on both sides of the road and later, scenes of abandoned cars lined up along the highway, victims of running out of fuel.
Last year, 27.8 million human souls were displaced by conflict and natural disasters, this recent disaster here in Canada is the largest and will probably be the most expensive (for the rebuilding of homes and businesses, the loss of jobs,etc.). The word “karma” has shown up in various editorials, hinting at the oil-patch nearby that has fueled (pardon my pun!) the growth and prosperity of Fort McMurray – I believe that there are different words to describe what the people of Fort McMurray are experiencing, we are in the midst of a sea change, brought about by both natural and human caused events. This sea change is in flux and it’s time to rise up and do what we can to slow down or stop the man-made arcs already contributing to this wave that will change the very fabric of our planet.
There is some good news, Fort McMurray residents are receiving much needed funds and help of all kinds – only 10% of the city was destroyed and the rallying cry says that soon, the rebuilding will begin. It was touching to see footage on the news of a memorial to a lost son (a wooden cross with a picture of the young man shielded by plastic) left untouched by the dragon, scorched earth on either side of the site, adding to the mythology that fire is indeed a living entity.
My much needed breath and solitude yesterday allowed me to take some time to think about the many changes that are showing up in our world. I was also reminded of a dream I had many years ago, a dream that I was walking down our West End street towards the park on what was supposed to be a beautiful spring day. To my horror, as I came closer to the edge of the park, I noticed that all the trees that should have been wearing a cloak of blossoms were instead wearing scarves of cascading autumn leaves. As I woke up from this dream turned nightmare, I realize now that its message is unfolding in real time and I’m left hoping to never see the natural rhythm of nature change in such a way but after this past week’s events, I’m not so sure…
Journal Entry: December 13, 2000
We’ve met a really nice man from Saskatchewan named Al who took us out for the day to the state of Nayarit to visit the Mexican towns of La Penita and Rincon. It was market day at La Penita (on Thursdays), there was lots of things to see – household goods, crafts, food to taste and a very beautiful church. This is a new church that may not be quite completed yet, it was very open to the elements with lots of arches – there was a bareness that was appealing, a rawness that spoke to me. We could see one or two local people praying – it gave me a very peaceful and spiritual feeling.
In Rincon we walked the beach there, it really reminded us of Long Beach on Vancouver Island, instead of pines lining the beach, we had beautiful palms. It was a great day trip, it was good to get on a bus again and explore. We really like the jungle and other lush vegetation of Nayarit, at one point on the highway, the trees touch overhead creating a lovely tunnel effect. I remembered this when we traveled the same route to Guadalajara last year – only I didn’t write it down, this beautiful image may have been forgotten!
To top off the day of our trip, when we returned to Vallarta, Al took us out for a beer at a cantina called, “La Revolution”, it is a small place located on a tiny side street, very easy to miss! And yes, that “Corona” sure tasted good!!