Hope Ness is not a cheap thrill that leaves you empty. It is an ever-present, pervasive joy that comes up through the ground and the trees, the wild and tended flowers and herbs, wanders through the woods in and with all sorts of creatures large and small, soars and flies with the birds, and helps fill the dark, clear night sky with such a torrent of stars you might never imagine if you haven’t seen it with your own eyes.
In the midst of the Great Depression of the 1930s my parents left school to find work to help their impoverished families. As fate would have it they both found jobs, first Dad and then Mom, in the same Toronto food-processing factory. Whether they were paid by the hour or not, I don’t know. Nor do I know if they worked 40-hour weeks; likely not, in that day and age. What I do know – because I heard Mom say it often enough – their weekly take-home pay was $5.
Assuming a 40-hour week, that works out to 12 and a half cents per hour.
Aren’t you someone I used to know?
Yes, I am he,
Someone I used to be.
It was September,
Some place, Some years ago.
You and I were friends.
More, one might say.
But we had no time for love then.
Now there is no time for anything.
– Bruce Frankland McNichol 1923-1970, in loving remembrance
I got your message, and I trust you got away okay
Peculiar, how you came to mind tonight
Forty-seven years later
A lifetime, your lifetime, to the day
I’ll be along after a while
I first posted this June 5, 2016. Still more than relevant today.
These days I think it’s more than fair to reflect on the nature of greatness; in fact, it’s an absolute necessity, as Donald Trump seeks to gain power and ascendancy over his great country.
That, I daresay, fits his definition of greatness, as in “Making America Great Again.” It’s about power, but not the power of moral rightness and of a great Truth as expressed, for example, by the wisdom of those who wrote the American Declaration of Independence, and the Constitution of the United States of America, for the world’s first, full-fledged modern democracy.
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I’m rather partial to this little story. So I thought I’d recycle it, just because.
Once upon a time when I was a young fellow at loose ends I ran away to join the circus. Strictly speaking it was a travelling carnival, but why quibble over minor details? Close, enough, if you ask me.
I think it was shortly after I ran an ad in the classified section of the Toronto Daily Star. Young man looking for work was about all it said in so many words. I got one response from somebody who offered me a job as a shepherd on a large sheep ranch in Alberta. I was tempted, and maybe, now that I think of it, I should have taken the job. But I didn’t.
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Facing the unfaceable.
How on earth do you do it? If you do it. Continue reading
Those dark clouds just keep coming, don’t they, figuratively and actually, in the skies above.
Not to sound too pessimistic – I keep telling myself to look on the bright side, of course, and try to be a beacon of hope here in Hope Ness, beside the Hope Bay Forest, just north of Hope Bay. But the reality can’t be denied. Indeed, if hope is at all possible, and I believe it is, it must grow out of a clear-eyed and heartfelt acceptance of the challenge we and the world we live in face at this critical moment in human history. Continue reading
I admit, with me it’s personal, regarding the Ontario government’s Fair Workplaces, Better Jobs Act, Bill 148, and especially its provisions to increase the minimum wage to $14 per hour on January 1, 2018, and then $15 a year later. Continue reading
I’m a simple man in some ways. I think my love of growing potatoes reflects that. It takes a certain know-how, and I am proud of what I do to avoid the use of pesticide: thick straw mulch and a lot of hard work. The result this year is my best crop ever, if I say so myself.
But, growing potatoes is not quite “rocket science,” some might say, as if that’s the highest standard of intelligence anyone might reach. Yet, when you give it a little thought how hard can that be? You pack a metal tube full of explosives, point it toward the sky, stand back, count to 10 backward, push a button, and say, “we have lift off,” in whichever language applies at that moment. Continue reading
Sauble Beach is located on the western shore of Lake Huron, one of North America’s Great Lakes. It’s a major summer tourist destination in the Province of Ontario, Canada. On a busy summer upwards of 25,000 people will pack the beach and the nearby business community of restaurants, campgrounds, hundreds of rental cottages and other tourism-oriented businesses. Most will come from the cities a couple of hours drive south in Ontario. It is one of the major tourist destinations in the area generally known as Bruce-Grey-Owen Sound.
That area, and more, is part of the “traditional territory” of the Saugeen Ojibway Nation, which includes the Chippewas of Nawash First Nation and the Saugeen First Nation. Continue reading
I was out picking peas in the garden one morning a few days ago when I started to think about how much gardening tells and potentially teaches us about life. That’s if we’re ready, willing and able to listen, of course. Continue reading