I awoke to a cloudy day in my loft hideaway in strawberry fields. The smell of livestock and of late summer lakes wafted through my open window, reminding me that I was not at home. I had escaped – from a new man in my life who was too soon introducing hurtful words and toward a good place to get some writing done. Today, I would go introduce myself to the First Nations Chief in the area to ask him his opinions about the Métis trespassing on what was exclusively the tribe’s legal right to do. The shots had been heard by everyone two days ago. It would seem that the Métis, openly hunting deer out of season, wanted their opinion heard loud and clear.
I had been sitting in my loft with pen and paper searching my gray cells for ideas, and so was naturally interested by the local war taking place around my strawberry fields hideaway. What I didn’t know yet were the words awaiting me at the breakfast table two floors below. I would soon be hearing nonsense stories about another war taking place beyond this nestled Victorian farm in the woods.
It was difficult to make much sense of the B & B owner’s words. What did he mean by saying that planes were crashing into buildings? An airline employee myself at the time, I thought it simply absurd to hear of such accidents occurring. Had I woken up in Bizzaro world?
My next recollection is of the respected voice on the radio. It was Schreyer’s, and the media was asking him what he felt the American President’s next move should be. Schreyer believed, and I agreed, that time for mourning was necessary.
And that’s when fear took precedence over my grief as I felt my stomach suddenly plummet. We were talking about the United States, after all. They weren’t a country known for their adaptation skills. We were talking about a nation whose citizens quite regularly sued one another when they got hurt. It's part of their social fiber. It’s not that grieving isn’t in their vocabulary; it’s that retaliation is more in their vocabulary, as George Orwell might put it. .
I was immediately ‘excused’ from an online U.S. forum upon suggesting that Mr. Bush would soon put my livelihood in jeopardy. Beyond the simple sadness and surprise of this happening, it was a telling sign. There were Americans easily willing to separate themselves from global citizens who weren’t angry in quite the same way as they were, and, George Bush actually had an audience.
My bonds took a plunge, the rental control board lost all meaning during an inflated housing market brought on by panic, and the airline that employed me did indeed file for bankruptcy. Worse yet were the innocent people dying every day, paying the price for terrorists who were in no way affiliated to them or their homeland. And thus were Americans laying their mourning upon the graves of the Iraqi people.
I did speak with the First Nation Chief that fatal September day. And I wrote. My journey took me to Margaret Lawrence’s ‘Galloping Mountain’ in the hope of getting a stronger sense of native history and their plight in my province. But not until I heard some truly touching human stories that day, those stories that elevated emotions and a sense of connection with one another will allow.
I put off my return home for as long as I could. The guy (remember the guy?) didn’t survive the week, but those stories still survive in my heart and throughout my writings.