Wednesday, September 05, 2007


Last night, via SimplyTim, I discovered this essay which nicely sums up many of the main currents of my thinking on ecology and our part in it: How To Save Civilization.

Then this morning I was startled by a new voice taking up the thread of an old conversation from my own blog, exploring the deeper currents of tragedy and hope.

And somehow it reminded me of all those moments over the last few weeks when things connected across time and space.

Many arose in Regina as I came and went to and from the hospital. There was the moment when I walked confidently along the now-familiar way from the doors toward the elevators, but suddenly the place turned strange as I noticed a small procession dominating the corridor ahead. There came a very tall lean young man, dressed entirely in bright yellow, shuffling but stiffly erect, his eyes straight ahead as though he did not even see this tiled hallway, those glass doors, these people drawing back against the walls. Close behind and beside him paced two very different men, much heavier, dressed entirely in dark stiff uniforms, their eyes sharply focussed on the here and now, on the yellow-draped man who shuffled before them. With a start I noticed the chain clinking between his ankles.

I had slowed my pace. The procession came on, and I realized that we would be meeting just at the point where the wide new corridor was constricted by a stone archway preserved from the old hospital entrance. I stood aside, just outside the arch, and waited while they passed through. As I stood there, I remembered how the arch used to be, with a glass door in its midst and a concrete step in front where my mother slipped and fell, trying to open that door for me as I tried to quell my nausea, tried to breathe through the contractions, tried to convince her and myself that I was still okay to make my way to the labour and delivery unit under my own power. I cried out when she fell, but she bounced back up again and hurried us on . . . and that's a whole other story, a beautiful story that continues right up to this day in the person of my daughter. But the tumultuous opening chapter was all right there, for a moment, as I stood by that old stone arch and watched a prisoner shuffle by.

Then there was that moment in the car somewhere in Regina, running some errand while waiting for something to happen, finding a small pleasure in listening to a favourite radio station that I can't tune in out here, when a Rodney Atkins song brought CG's difficult journey to the centre of my heart. And I wondered if it meant anything, changed anything, to have it there, but I hoped so.

And there was some moment somewhere, I don't remember what it was now, but something brought to mind all the beautiful men I have met since that morning when we woke early to "fire the grid." I don't think that was the purpose, to start me seeing beautiful men, but they have been everywhere since then. And come to think of it, the women and children are beautiful too.

1 comment:

Dougald Hine said...

How funny! I hadn't noticed how old that post of yours was - someone arrived at my blog from it, so I followed the trail back and got drawn into the conversation...

That Ran Prieur essay is one of the best things I've read in a long time. I'll be blogging about it and I'll probably drop him an email, too - he seems a fascinating guy. So thanks to both you and Tim for pointing me towards it.

All the best,