Gratitude makes the journey better and so does kindness

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Life as it happens: Ends, Beginnings and the Quest for Pursuits That Matter

Time to be…

It’s been a while since I wrote here and it’s not for lack of interest or topics. On the contrary. However, I admit to shifting things around a bit as of late. As you may have noticed, I put the regular column writing on hold. It’s been almost a decade since I started showing up with a new column each week – rain or shine. I felt it was the right thing to do given the sorry state of our public discourse.

You may rightfully ask, ‘hasn’t always been that way though?’. Yes and no. I know we are all falling into the trap of assuming the times we live in are the worst and I know they are not, but personally I felt that way for a while so I figured a break would be just the thing.

And speaking of ill-construed public discourse, I left Facebook. Before it was down, that is, which happened yesterday for a few hours. It’s been a beautiful kind of quiet in my thoughts now knowing that I closed the door to a world where I would occasionally go for a visit but never felt comfortable enough to stay longer than I had to post things for a few businesses I write for. The pervasiveness of this platform into our everyday lives is a phenomenon to be mindful of, and one I do not want to be a part of.

The outlandishness of so many posts, the pushing of hatred and counter-common sense in so many areas of life, the ‘loud’ writing of intimate and beautiful things in life that should be whispered only to those that would know what to do with them, the overpriced illusions…there you go, a mere sample.

Plus, my forever complaint with this platform: the wrongs we cannot see, their impact on people and life in society, the noise of what you know to be wrong which you cannot fix in any way of course, and which keeps lingering until it becomes the hum that takes over the quiet you need to keep sane and joyful. None of that will be missed.  

Yes, there are many good people who bring valuable ideas and concepts to be discussed on Facebook, and that I will miss, but even these good happenings are festooned with the same ugly and tireless monsters hiding in countless closets. If these good things are the babbling brook you stop by in hope of breathing in beauty, the platform presents itself like flood waters bringing in everything you did not existed plus the kitchen sink. The algorithms make visiting just the brook impossible, hence my decision.  

My second pursuit is one I will communicate soon, and it has to do with purpose, health, and more writing. It will be interesting, I promise.

Meanwhile, you will still see posts on life as it happens, opinions on current events at times and the reoccurring invitation to gratefulness.

Also, the occasional informal book recommendation because I believe books are essential to life. Some I get from publishers to review, and countless others I discover as I follow through with my professional and personal interests. I am probably not the only one with ever-growing piles of book by my bed, or in various places around the living room. Well, why not? They have the power to take us to where our minds get a good scrub and a powerful incentive to think and change towards a more worthwhile rhythm in our step.

Books I delight in presently: Out on a Limb – What Black Bears Have Taught Me about Intelligence and Intuition by Benjamin Kilham, When by Daniel H. Pink, and The Secret Life of Your Microbiome by Susan L. Prescott, MD, PhD, and Alan C. Logan, ND. I will let you know my impressions on each once I am done.

As always, please feel free to share your thoughts and opinions.

The day after the anti-vaccine protests is a sobering one

I will start by saying I did not know there were anti-vaccine protests scheduled all over British Columbia for September 1. An update from a trusted news source revealed a reality that baffled me.

There were photos of an anti-vaccine protest taking place here in Kamloops, right in front of the hospital. There were more in other cities too, including Vancouver.

What better place than a hospital, the protesters thought. Never mind that for a long time now, the hospital has been the scene of some terrible battles with the COVID-19 virus (spoiler alert: it still is). Many people were intubated, some died, and many others recovered but not everyone is symptom-free. Some are what now we know to be long-haulers.

Weekly column: Grateful for our local farmers, blue skies and firefighting crews

Originally published as a column on Armchair Mayor News on July 23, 2021.

This one tweet among the countless ones on social media caught my eye a few days ago. It was Tuesday, and the fires around Kamloops were once again getting rowdy and there were new potential evacuations to take place.

The tweet I read had to do with all of that, but there was a side of hope and goodness to it. The Wednesday farmer’s market was of course coming up the next day, so preparations were being made nonetheless for it, the tweet read. Be as it may, bread was to be baked and hopefully make it to the market.

Weekly column: Lessons from previous and present wildfire seasons

Originally published as a column on Armchair Mayor News on July 16, 2021.

Today is a heavy day. The morning held a cleaner air promise for a bit but that dissipated towards lunch time when the smoke grew thicker and heavier than it’s been this year. It’s impossible not to think of the firefighters who are exposed to so much more than what we experience even on a bad day like today, for weeks on end.

Many are wondering right now, as summer is but a fire and smoke inferno, whether this is what we should expect from now on.

Weekly column: It’s not summer that brings killer heatwaves but climate change

Originally published as a column on Armchair Mayor News on July 2, 2021.

Note: The piece below was published a couple of weeks ago. Hundreds of wildfires are now burning across the province and the B.C. government has finally declared state of emergency as of today, July 20th.

I started writing this column with a different angle. It was about trees in urban settings and their vital role in helping us survive extreme summer temperatures. I’ll leave that for a future piece because there is something more pressing that needs to be said.

The town of Lytton is on fire as I write this. Literally. After three days of 49 degrees Celsius, which is ungodly in most people’s opinion, a large and fast-moving fire has forced everyone out of their homes. Some ran out of their homes while the roof was already on fire.

Weekly column: History needs to be written and learned the way it happened

Originally published as a column in the Armchair Mayor News on June 15, 2021.

The forest has stories to tell you if you happen to visit every now and then. As of late, the stories are sad, but that makes listening that much more important.

We took our youngest on a daytrip to Wells Grey Park this past weekend. On our way out of town we drove in silence past the crosses for the 215 children whose unmarked graves have been recently discovered at the Kamloops Indian Residential School. There is deep sadness in each piece of clothing hanging by the side of the road, fluttering in the wind, and reminding us forever of all the lives that were violently taken away.

Weekly column: The fallacy those who defend the old growth forests

Originally published on Armchair Mayor News on Tuesday, June 1, 2021.

Most people in British Columbia have learned by now of the big commotion happening at the Fairy Creek Watershed on Vancouver Island near Port Renfrew.

Blockades have been erected to block the logging of old growth trees in one of the last remaining forested areas that is home to trees as old as 800-years. There’s more to them than their impressive size. They are strong allies in our fight against climate change, and they provide essential habitat to many species that have called these old growth forests home for thousands of years.

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