We left Cow Bay (the waterfront district in Prince Rupert named after Jean Nehring, a Swiss guy, who unloaded a herd of cows here in 1908) on a foggy morning and drove east along Highway 16 known as the Yellowhead Highway. Three main arteries connect this wet part of the world to the rest of Canada: The mighty Skeena River, the CNR rail line, originally called the Grand Trunk Pacific Railway, and the Yellowhead Highway often referred to as the Highway of Tears. The 750km stretch of road between Prince Rupert and Prince George has been the location of many murders and disappearances of First Nations women, beginning in 1970. All three arteries run parallel and we passed by 3 km long trains double-stacked with containers.
Road trips happen to be my favorite pastime. Driving along highways and byways, over passes, along rivers and lakes and through new towns is like a live movie with constant new scenes, impressions and input. Even driving through big cities can be exciting. It is certainly living in the moment. Lucky for me Clare is an excellent navigator and always checks her maps against the TomTom GPS which has been known to send people the wrong way.
(adapted from ‘Savages’ by Don Winslow)
We humans had for a brief time – in cosmic terms – a civilisation on land surrounded by vast oceans and bordered by ice to the north, desert in the middle and ice to the south. This civilisation depended on water, for drinking and for crops to grow. Water is life.
We built houses, roads, highways, hotels, sky scrapers, shopping malls, condo towers, parking lots, airports, schools, stadiums and factories.
We proclaimed the freedom of individuals, invented, bought and drove cars to prove it and built more roads for the cars to drive on so we could go nowhere faster. We invented social structures to govern people and we conquered diseases and multiplied.
We all wanted the same things: cars, fridges, TVs, boats, toys.
We watered our lawns, washed our cars, drank water out of plastic bottles to stay hydrated in a dehydrated land and we put up water parks and big sculpted fountains.
We built temples to our fantasies – film studios, amusement parks, cathedrals, megachurches, football stadiums and we all flocked to them.
We built plains to fly around the globe and boats to cross the lakes and oceans and we poured our waste water into the same water we loved and depended on.
We built weapons to destroy each other and the planet and sent rockets into space.
We reinvented ourselves every day, remade our culture, our beliefs, locked ourselves into gated communities, multi bathroom houses, condo towers and trailer-parks and then we started eating healthy foods, gave up smoking and sun bathing, We had our faces stretched, our skins peeled, our lines removed, our fat sucked, our bodies rebuilt and we defied aging and death and warehoused our old.
We fought each other for land, water and minerals.
We enslaved, segregated and divided each other.
We extracted, modified, harnessed and subjugated.
We made gods of wealth and health
A religion of narcissism
In the end we worshipped only ourselves
In the end, it wasn’t enough
Labour Day has come and gone and we’re into the last stretch of a spectacular summer. Not as many local forest fires as previous years but the west coast is burning up all the way from California to Washington and there is the heat and anger on the streets of America.
‘Did you see the new CDC map that tells us where all the covid-19 cases were in the province?’ I asked Camp after Rosie brought around a couple of pints.
‘Yes, I did. From January until end of July. Doesn’t tell us anything really. It’s better than nothing but I would have liked to see when those cases occurred. It doesn’t mean anything to know that we had 7 cases in 7 months. Were they in April or July?’
‘Why don’t they include that info?’Continue reading