This morning I danced to Ladysmith Black Mambazo in front of a winter scene by Lynne Campbell, black-legged sheep in falling snow. I didn’t think much about winter or sheep, or Africa for that matter although I wondered if the music was inspired by the land. I would assume so, drums and heartbeat. And then I thought of a pueblo in New Mexico full of tourist buses and the woman I met as I walked across a parking lot who lived there and for some reason stopped to tell me that when the buses and the people were gone you could feel the energy of the red earth through your feet.
I’m often thinking about land in one form or another and so as I danced it wasn’t unusual that I began to think about the wild, unkempt garden outside my window with its bushy native shrubs, serviceberries just ripening, rows of lettuce and cucumbers, the robins and rabbits I share this with, and then I thought beyond it to my town—not especially picturesque or special, just mine—and the lake that I love despite its pollution… the gulls, the peace, the way the lake knows how to be itself and do what it’s supposed to do despite what we do to it because we don’t know how to be—and how all of it links me to childhood, to the flinty smell of factory on my dad’s clothes as he comes through the back door—my mum, with a picnic hamper of potato salad, homemade bread, radishes, a thermos of Koolaid, another of coffee; us heading to the beach for supper and a swim.
I dance to Ladysmith Black Mambazo thinking how what’s happening in Ottawa this week, this month, is a crying shame. That this act of devastation to the land and the water, to the rights of everything alive, is being trampled without explanation or apology. That these changes to the environment and the eco-system are not merely wrong and unfair and unkind to the planet, to ourselves and the creatures we’re meant to protect—which in turn we can thank for our survival; see how far you get without bees—but what the madness in Ottawa changes is how generations will think, how they’ll live, whether they ever eat radishes on a beach, what they’ll have to think about, care about. What they’ll have left to care about…
That woman in the pueblo recognized the inevitability of economics, she knew that ridiculous as it is, we’ve created a society where there are concessions that need to be made. But What Ottawa is doing—turning its back on the environment—is more than a concession, it’s unconscionable.
And yet it’s happening right now, a Parliament all eager willingness to bulldoze and deceive. Something wicked this way comes…
My new favourite mantra comes from @Belgraves: “What our country needs is for Canadians to act like the people they think they are.”
So I dance, try to feel the earth beneath my feet.