Ah, the joys of a late spring

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April 14, 2018, Hope Ness, Ontario, Canada

The local store where I buy my Big Beautiful Boy’s dog food was fairly busy one morning earlier this week. Housed in an older building, the décor steeped in Canadian, farm-store heritage, it’s staffed and operated by folks who call you by name – or soon will, if you’re new. If they say, “have a nice day,” they really mean it.

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Last tap for a tough, old tree

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Trees have a lot to tell us about the state of their world, and ours. They’re in trouble too.

That tough, old sugar maple clinging for dear life to a primordial rock up there by my barn, for example, has surely been through many a hard winter, summer drought, and other traumatic seasonal surprises. But this late winter/early spring, maple sap/syrup season must be one of the most challenging in its long history of stolid endurance. Continue reading

The prisoner: Free at last

I met a man once who said he had spent his whole life in prison. he said it was the only place he could remember ever having lived, until the day he found freedom. That’s the way he put it: he didn’t say he had broken out of prison, or got released after serving the time for whatever crime he had committed. He said he “found” it, like it was something he saw lying around and just picked up.
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Beware of populism

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Populism is a political disease that has likely already terminally infected the world’s once-greatest democracy. The word in its modern meaning reflects a low-level of democratic consciousness in a large, poorly informed proportion of a country’s electorate, and the willingness of unprincipled, opportunistic power-mongers to exploit and pander to it.

It does not reflect any respect or sympathy for “the poorly educated,” who Donald Trump claimed “I love” during the 2016 U.S. presidential campaign. Rather, it reflects a deep-seated contempt for such people, and the ease with which they can be manipulated and fooled. Continue reading

A time for going home

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A mountain lake in the interior of British Columbia, Canada

It was a moment that lasted all night. At some point though I fell asleep in the passenger seat of his car. I awoke, as usual even then, at dawn. He was gone. Last I knew he was in the driver’s seat where he had been talking his way through the night. He was on his way home to Calgary. He had been away working on a construction project in the British Columbia interior. But a couple of days earlier he had gotten a letter from his wife, telling him she wanted a divorce. She didn’t say so, but he thought maybe she had met somebody else. He was going home to find out what was going on and try to talk to her about it. Continue reading

Let their voices be heard — saving America

 

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I admit it: I’ve lately been getting pretty down about the state of the world, mostly on account of the messy situation south of the border with the continuing tragedy of gun violence, and the descent of a once-great democracy into something dark, divided, and decidedly undemocratic.

And it just keeps getting worse, or so it seemed, even in the immediate aftermath of the Feb. 14 shooting rampage at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida. Nikolas Cruz, a 19-year-old former student at the school, allegedly killed 17 students and wounded 14 others with an AR-15 assault rifle he had purchased a year ago. The usual prayers, platitudes and condolences were offered, but no sign lawmakers were likely to take any common-sense, gun-control action. Too many have been bought off with hefty campaign donations from the powerful gun lobby, the National Rifle Association (NRA). Continue reading