Florence, Dante and Me

In the early 1960s, when all things European were hip, a UBC student went to Italy for a year to study Dante. His letters home are the subject of a new book. Review by Beverly Cramp. FULL STORY

#4 Let it snow, let it snow, let it snow

February 26th, 2014

Hey, darlin’

It has snowed a lot in late February. Why are people so surprised by the snow? Isn’t that wintertime?  Isn’t this Canada? Why wouldn’t there be snow? It’s a gorgeous West Coast morning! Both Rugged Mountain and McKelvie are well blanketed with white and the bluffs across the river show a good covering.

I don’t usually like winter white, and I don’t want any more of it down here, but I am relieved to see the mountains are getting a good dump of the stuff. We’ll need every drop we can get come summertime.

They’re no longer calling it “global warming”, they’ve changed the name to “climate change.” And there are still those who deny any such thing is happening or that we should try to reduce our impact on the entire globe. Maybe this kind of thing has happened in the dim and distant past, but that doesn’t seem to me to be any reason to sit on our hands and ignore what looks to be heading down the pike.

Cameron, Anne in brown car

Anne Cameron

Most of our fruit and vegetables are grown in California. California is becoming a dust bowl. . If farmers there can’t get water, the cost of produce is going to go up (well, it never seems to go down!). In the face of that, wouldn’t you think those who have put themselves to a great deal of time and trouble to get elected would look for ways and means to reduce the impact?

Why are we importing so much of what we could easily grow here ourselves? Why is so much non-renewable petroleum product being burned to ship stuff here from just about any corner of the earth you could name? Granted, we have small hope of growing our own citrus but do we really need to bring vegetables from afar?  Are we too dim to grow our own? Has nobody heard of greenhouses?

Do we really need to cover good agricultural land with blacktop so we can park our SUV’s and go into the mall to buy parsnips and spuds?

I have, on more than one occasion, asked to speak to the manager of a supermarket to ask why it is there are spuds from Idaho, Washington, Oregon and even Montana for sale and no spuds grown on Vancouver Island. Pemberton grows some of the best potatoes you could hope to find but try to find them in any of the chain supermarkets. Even apples for crying in the night! The big chains bring apples from New Zealand while our Okanagan orchardists are struggling to stay afloat.

The word which comes to mind is madness.

Why are we turning a blind eye to the corporations moving into our watersheds? We need strong legislation to keep all forms of industry out of our watersheds. It isn’t as if we can learn to live without water. Instead of allowing “exploration” of any kind we should be demanding the size of the watersheds be increased and protection for them made stronger and more effective.

And what’s with this string of traffic going through the border crossings to buy groceries in the States? A news item on the TV this morning tells us that even with the value of the Canadian dollar sliding downward, ever downward, there are still large numbers of people heading south to buy their groceries. These same people, should they get ill or be involved in an accident, will depend on our hospitals and health care system. That system depends on taxes. Taxes which aren’t being collected up here if people will persist in heading south to buy their groceries.

People are even buying milk down south! Don’t they know or care that the regulations in the States allow dairy farmers to use hormones and chemicals banned in Canada? Don’t they care what they’re giving their kids to drink? All dairy products in the States contain these substances and when they make these shoppers ill, where will they go for treatment if the health care system is starving because taxes didn’t get paid here?

Maybe it’s all indicative of the same flaw in the human condition. We just don’t seem to be able to look past our own noses. I’m not convinced this is a naturally occurring inability. I never met a conspiracy theory I didn’t like! I think it’s part of an on-going pressure to dumb us down, to make us passive and unquestioning, and thus more easily led and fleeced.

Right now I’m reading Command and Control by Eric Schlosser, the guy who wrote Fast Food Nation.  It’s about nuclear weapons, the “Damascus Incident” and what nobody seems to have been inclined to share with us. It’s scary. It sent me to Google where I typed in “nuclear accidents.” That brought up a list that scared me even more. G’wan, I dare ya! I dirty-dog downright double-damn-dare-ya to go to Google and find out how close you are to a very ugly death.

But the pussywillows are still in full glory, and my cat, “Dustbugger”, is sprawled on the back of my chair, purring and nuzzling my hair. Hey, how bad can it be?

Well, pretty bad if you realize that one of the major groups involved in the minor shit-storm in Ukraine is an ultra right-wing pack of mouth breathers who keep alive what they see as the glory of Nazi ideology. But, as I mentioned before, I’m an easy target for conspiracy theories.


Anne Cameron grows pussywillows on the western edge of Vancouver Island. She received the George Woodcock Lifetime Achievement Award for an outstanding literary career in British Columbia in 2010. Her 23 books include Daughters of Copper Woman, the bestselling work of fiction ever written about B.C. and published from within B.C. She has banished herself to Tahsis, a small town not far from Friendly Cove where the shenanigans called British Columbia all began.

4 Responses to “#4 Let it snow, let it snow, let it snow”

  1. Gassy Jack says:

    Hey, darlin, slow down. You’re makin my head spin so bad I can’t figger out what planetbusting problem to despair over. You’re going to use up all the world’s troubles in one column and then you’ll be stuck talking about good things like the fact global warming stopped ten years ago.

  2. Paul Durras says:

    But that’s how it is in real life, on a daily basis. All these troubles are swirling around us simultaneously. And so the column kinda captures how the multiplicity of these problems is a problem in itself… I love your word planetbusting.

  3. Library Lover says:

    I bet there’s some nice retired librarian out there who would volunteer to donate you some free proof reading. At least in the headlines…

  4. Library Lover says:

    Thanks for fixing the headline typo! My inner schoolmarm is satisfied.

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