Tuesday, June 29, 2010

the sun is up, the sky is blue, it's beautiful and so are you...

I'm driving almost the whole length of the province of Alberta this week. Today Patrick and I are making a day trip to Fort McMurray and later this week I'll be driving south....way south....to shoot a wedding. Right now we're somewhere between Fort McMurray and Lac La Biche taking highway 881 which keeps turning from a small paved road into a large highway and then back to the small two laner that will take us most of the way home. Forest and lakes have been lining the road all the way there and back so far, but my favourite I think is the forests of dead evergreens...all still staning, all with little tufts of vegetation at the top. They look like a swampland of giant cattails. Along the highway, on a large patch of bare ground someone has taken long pieces of these dead trees and spelled out C+M. I like that someone took the time to stop and do that. We're listening to the Beatles and the sun is streaming in and the window is open and we're singing along. I'm loving this moment and trying to hold on to it in my mind because this roadtrip represents the beginning of a 6-month separation. And though I know that I'll still be seeing Patrick every few weeks, it's the everyday things that you miss and that make you lonely. No spontaneous movie watching on saturday afternoons curled up on the floor, no coming home from work and drinking a beer together on the porch, no holding hands while grocery shopping.... So today, I'm going to hold on to this moment and try not to already miss him.

Monday, June 14, 2010

so i'll wait for the sun, i'll wait for the light...

I came across this photo in "The Commons" (http://www.flickr.com/commons/) on flick the other day. It's a pretty cool place. Full of photos from all over the world and from every time period that's been photographed. Anyway, I came across this one:

The caption to the images reads like this: "Juichende jongens bij de voetbalwedstrijd VSV-DFC (1-0) als VSV scoort. Velsen, Nederland, 18 oktober 1931.

Boys cheering when their favorite team scores.
Collectie Spaarnestad"

I found it in relation to world cup things I've been looking up, but I've been unable to close the tab in my browser for a few days. I keep looking at this photo and thinking about it. I keep thinking about these boys. I wonder how many are still alive. I think about them cheering at this soccer game and I can't help but think about the timeperiod. October 1931. They had no idea what was going on in Germany and what they would witness in their lifetime. They didn't know their young adulthood would be stolen from them by war. That their friends, parents, relatives might die in the terrible battles that would rip the Netherlands to shreds in the next decade. These boys are around my grandparents age and I've heard stories about the war's reach in Holland. Stories of the Nazis taking my grandfather right off his bike on his way to church. Stories of my grandmother hiding him in her mattress when the soldiers came to the door to find young men for work camps. Stories that contributed to my grandparents decision to leave their home country and come by boat with their two small children to a country they'd never seen. However, the point that I think about when I look at these boys, is that they were unknowingly on the precipice of a catastrophic disaster for the human race and that every generation to some extent or another has this experience. It is the lesson of every history that what one generation breeds, will come to fruition in another. Maybe not right away, maybe in combination with other forces and factors, but always to devastating effect.
I worry about this. Our world has obviously not (and may never) outgrow full out, undeniably violent, unjustifiable warfare. There is a significant percentage of our 6 billion brothers and sisters who live in constant fear of violent death within the context of conflict. And I worry about that. But in the city where I live, in a province like mine, in the country I call home, violent conflict is not always at the forefront and we forget that we, like these boys in the Dutch photo, are on the edge of something so terribly destructive that it will change every aspect of our lives and culture.
I'm talking about the way my generation and the generation before mine have treated the earth and its resources with disregard and outright violence. I worry about what I will live to see. What I will witness and how the lives of my children and grandchildren will be affected by the choices we make today as a culture, as a community and as individuals.
What I worry most about is the relationship we have with the earth in terms of its power to GROW. This summer, I gave up my lucrative landscaping job to return to the market garden farm I worked on years ago. This was not a good financial decision. Today I spent 8 hours walking long lines of broccoli and cabbage going after weeds with a hoe. This kind of work gives me a lot of time to think. I like doing physical, outdoor labour in the summer, but I particularly like this work. I think about the people who will buy these veggies at market and feed them to their families, how they made a choice to buy local food from people whose hands are still ingrained with the dirt that the produce was sitting in only hours before. I think about what it has taken to get this food to their table and I am proud of what I do. I have had the opportunity to receive an education that only the very privileged of this world obtain. I have a degree to my name and though that might not be so outstanding in Canada, in global terms, I am privileged indeed! I've had this degree for 4 years and I'm still labouring in fields. And it's exactly where I want to be. I am a part of growing food locally, sustainably and full of flavour that the produce that gets shipped across the globe for days and weeks can't compete with.

And yet I worry. In a world that puts more oil consumption into its food than its cars, in a culture that demands cheapness and convenience as a replacement for nutrition and quality, how do we instill a sustainable, realistic and powerful sense of food and land in our generation and the one to come? We are sitting on the edge of the consequences of our poor decisions and we have no idea how desperately it will impact us and the generation to come.

Monday, June 7, 2010

singing in the rain...

I'm sitting in Room At the Top (RATT) at the university. It's not the nicest place in the world. Actually it's kind of run down...but not in that way that produces a lot of character or anything. It has the UofA internet connection I need to do work and cheap beer and food (and the food does indeed taste really cheap as well). Patrick's having hot wings and ricards and I'm having a blue cheese burger and fries with a pilsner. Its been warm and muggy all day, raining on and off. The RATT is on the 7th floor of the SU building at the university and all four walls are all windows. It's quite a nice view over the river to downtown and across the very green looking campus towards my house. We're sitting in the north west corner of the pub and the rain is turning view out the west window into a monet painting. I'm eating a blue cheese & bacon burger that leaves a lot of be desired (like the texture of real meat) but the fries are pretty damn good for being $2.30/basket. I'm hoping they play world cup games when it begins next week so I can work and watch at the same time.