I thought I might just take a breath, figuratively speaking, to explain a bit about who I am and where I come from. At least some context.
I am living within an hour of where my grandparents on both sides were born and raised. Where my parents were born and raised and where I was born and raised. My two brothers live here, our sister lives less than two hours away. On my father’s side, out of 17 cousins 13 still live in this area. My parents seldom ventured any further than Toronto – about two hours away to the west – or the family cottage, about 2 – 1/2 hours north of here. One brother went away to university in Nova Scotia, spent a couple of years in Toronto, but then came back here. Neither my youngest brother or sister has ever spent much time more than an hour from home (until she relocated with her husband.)
I spent about 4 years away at school myself (mostly in Toronto) but in between there somewhere I took a year off, worked to save some money and then backpacked around Europe for 3 months. After graduating I spent a couple of years in hippie heaven – cheap land, homegrown, lots of music and frivolity. Then 3 years in Revelstoke, B.C. “working” on the railroad, learning to ski, with homegrown, lots of music and more frivolity. Along the way I have been a truck driver, taxi driver, flooring installer, signals apprentice, actor, musician and general ne’er-do-well.
I don’t know what Jennifer saw in a long haired, bearded guitar player but somehow I convinced her to marry me (40 years ago next month) and I built us a comfy passive solar home (not far from the family cottage) and we raised our two amazing home birthed kids there. While Jennifer started a very successful natural foods store I became a builder specializing in energy efficient homes and, eventually, a project manager, home inspector and energy advisor.
Coming full circle, we now live about 30 minutes from my old hometown and about the same distance from our son (and wife and 2 grandkids) and about 10 minutes away from our daughter and her partner. So…life is good!
You know what they say…too good to last.
I hate to be the guy bearing the calamitous news that not just our grandchildren, but our children…yes, even we old codgers…will likely be witness to the final stanza of the epic poem that was the human anomaly here on earth.
I know what you are thinking – “he keeps saying he’s an optimist so what’s with this fatalistic bullshit?” – or words to that effect. Truth is, the fact that I have a two year plan and am thinking about how I might persuade our children to join us in it somehow is perhaps the ultimate optimism. My love of more than 40 years is not totally persuaded. If it comes down to choosing, I believe she would rather starve with our kids here if they can not make this leap. And it is a huge leap of faith…for it is my considered opinion that there may only be some slim chance of any humans surviving what is now an irreversible and precipitous process of disintegration.
Yet, from my point of view, if we pull up stakes here…home to generations of family… and move thousands of miles away and then, somehow, the disaster does not happen – well, is that not just part of the human experience? Our ancestors have crossed oceans, fled southward from ice ages, carved out homes in frequently inhospitable climes (southern Ontario being far from the worst!) and not only survived but thrived. My fear is that with noone putting on the brakes, the train of civilization is going over the cliff and taking all possibility of avoiding extinction with it. My hope is that survival may be possible where there is great diversity of flora and fauna and a culture that has endured by recognizing and accepting what that environment offers. Not to mention fairly stable, reasonably warm climate.
I think learning Spanish will be the least of the hurdles.