Sunday, April 30, 2006

Reflections on my Trip

Here are some things that stand out in my mind.

While at Jelena's who lives on the corner of a busy road in a less priviledged part of the city: The trees were in blossom all around where she lived - I am not sure what kind of tree they are. They look like a cherry tree but the blossoms are much more full and compacted together than cherry trees around here. And the blossoms are very pink. Maybe they are an ornamental cherry tree or Japanese cherry tree? Anyways, the homes were rather ugly around there but Jelena has created a magical place in her little yard - with beautiful lanterns hanging and flowers planted. An ugly blue container van turned onto the street. The blossoms rained down on the van and he left a swirl of blossom petals in the air behind him. That captured it all for me. I was reminded of the beauty and power of nature to overcome ugliness. Especially there on the coast where it is so verdant. Despite 2, 000, 000 people living there, nature abounds and you get the feeling that if everyone left all of a sudden, it wouldn't be long and there would be no sign of the people left.

On Grandma B: It was very good to see her and she seemed quite happy to me. We visited her everyday for a little bit - about an hour each time. On the second visit we also got to meet Jenny which was very nice. Grandma was telling us about how she avoids sitting next to this one woman who at one time ran her fingers through her jello. Grandma told her that 'you don't run your fingers through other people's food' to which the woman replied 'I just did'. So Grandma avoids her. At this point in the story, she says very loudly, that 'life is too short to sit by a pain in the neck like that'. I don't know. It made me laugh inside to hear my 89 year old grandma saying that. Life is too short, indeed! I think she is enjoying all the familial attention that she is getting right now. She sure enjoyed telling everyone that we were 'hers'. I am going to try to write her a letter every month. It is such a little effort and I know that she will enjoy it.

On the Okanagan Valley: As I drove over the Connector and down into the valley, it was clear and sunny. I could see to the far, far side of the valley that encompasses not only the Okanagan but also the Shuswap. I could see the snow caps of the Monashees and the Selkirks gleaming and majestic in the distance. The trees stretched endlessly between. I was overcome by the awesome beauty of nature and this incredible place that I live - the view of time. It is easy to imagine the hard rock pushed up with the rockies and then the volcanic hills, blunted by the ice age - such a miraculous creation, this valley where I live. From the view up there, I can sense the ancient-ness of the land. I imagine people seeing this valley for the first time. I feel so cradled and protected in the mountains. I love where I live. And I wonder how much longer we can go on like this and what it will take for us to find away to live in harmony with nature instead of at war with it or even 'in dominion' of it. We think of ourselves as separate from nature - above it or better than it. We have raped and pillaged the earth and we have not yet realized that all this we have done unto ourselves. When will we? We are destroying the air we need to breathe and polluting the water we need to drink. I remember travelling as a child and stopping at mountain fed streams to drink deeply of the sweet, cold water. We wouldn't dream of doing that now... Such big changes are needed. What are we going to do?

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