Strange Happiness

Weeell… I guess I can just go ahead and write a post today! As the clock turns onto the twenty-fifth of November, I’ve nearly been here for three months now, and the adventure shows no signs of slowing down. Learning here is like a tap: once the passage has been opened, it takes a lot for the water to stop, and hey, I have no desire to stop it.

I saw a play today called The Little Creation, for example, that was about a number of different Native Tribes creation stories, and was told through colorful visuals and the mouths of amazing actors. I was really personally connected with the play, and now I want to learn a lot more about Native culture. Tommorow I plan to go to the Museum of Anthropology, which I’ve only seen once before, and really delve into a culture which I (sadly) know next to nothing about. Meanwhile, in arts one, we’re learning about the amazing beliefs of Rousseau in A Discourse on Inequality; about how man is better off in nature, and every step we take away from it (and towards technology) is a step towards unhapiness. While I’m not sure I’m quite ready to go all Hippy and live in a reed-commune (how’s that for West Coast?), it’s certainly an interesting read!

In terms of surviving the November Rain, I’ve gotta ask… what rain? I mean sure, it rains from time to time, and there’s definitely more cloud in the sky than blue these days, there’s none of the incessant, relentless downpour everyone warned me about before and upon arrival. I’m sure things are better this year, which is great, and the mix between slightly colder weather but with more sun is a nice transition from the all sun/all cold weather of Friendly Manitoba. Even when nearly every large tree on campus is now naked of leaves, the beauty still abounds: it floats in the salty air, and it lies on the moss that hives against the bark. When I walk to class, I am home.

My happiness is starting to come full circle here now. September and the parties of first month was great, but it was hollow, and there was always the thought that “UBC is only fun for that first month. You’ll be depressed by November”. Now that fear has been proven false, and I am able to engage my freinds on a level as deep as anything in high school; freindships that took four years to cultivate have now grown within months. And I engage my world, politically and environmentally, more than ever before. I’m learning to be a true citizen of the world, and that could never be possible at U of Manitoba. So first term draws to a close, but the fun and the learning show no signs of end. Will second term be this amazing?

Simple Forest

Hey guys, this has been a long time, but I’ve just been SUPER busy what with that little problem of school, my Ubyssey article, and directing my one act. Hopefully I can have a proper blog post soon, but for now, here’s just a poem I wrote five minutes ago, let me know wacha think :)

Running fast through the forests,

Running free

Trees zoom by like water rushing

Trees seeing me

I could run forever,

In this cradle of bloated slivers,

Had I lived a thousand years ago,

Meeting concrete never

I’d run until endless blue shows

 

Here in the time of happiness

I am free

Here in the time of simplicity,

I can see

The answer to all the clues I was searching

While frozen in the mountains of brick,

And icicles of glass

But here I smell the rich blackness of earth,

And the green fragrance of the whispering trees

 

So turn the clocks back,

To when the stars were my streetlights,

And trees my homes;

The animals my brothers—not pets—

When drums made of animal hide were the disco,

And sex was never complicated by love

And a person could be willed by instinct alone

 

This is the character of my misery;

A truth too dark to ever see.

If I could go back, to an ancient day

The chains binding me would burn away,

And only the wind would make me sway

The woods a nest to call my home

The nature of my heartfelt loan

Nothing that man can ever be shown

A Night With Suzuki

Hey everyone, sorry this should have been posted earlier that Thursday night, I went to David Suzuki’s talk at the Chan Center. He asked the question, The Environmental Crises: Is It too Late? Right off the bat, he answers “no, it’s never too late, even at the final hour, but it is very late indeed.” He started by illustrating the pressing problems in the world today: the exploding world population, Oceanic Deadzones, and deforestation. Very well worded and powerful, it’s the kind of talk one would expect from Canada’s preeminent environmentalist.

However, halfway through the speech, Suzuki took a turn towards the unexpected. He lambasted the Harper government for ignoring the pressing concerns facing the environment. “Harper tells us that because Canada is a northern country, the economy will suffer if we cut back on energy emissions. This is a fallacy, because Sweden managed to cut back over seven percent of their energy emissions, and their economy went up! Your prime minister is lying to you!” Taking the turn for the political was certainly not what I had in mind, but he argued his points very well, and really made me question the conservative government’s knowledge on such an important issue.

And then Suzuki became philosophical. He questioned why we deify the economy: “Economy and Ecology come from the same root– Ecos, study of the house and home. They are interrelated, so why do we place the economy with such great and commanding importance?” He said that the obsession with a growing economy year by year is not possible anymore; and that creating an economy larger than the early 2000s would damage the environment beyond repair. In the same vein, he encouraged the Occupy movement, saying that “there’s something wrong with our current system.  The politicians are sponsored by big businesses, and only have them in mind and this surreal sense of the word economy. A country where forty percent of its citizens don’t vote is not a democracy.” Now, David Suzuki became a revolutionary figure: standing there in front of a sold out audience at the Chan Center, his voice rising in passion while the sounds of applause and cheers reverberated around him, it felt like I got a glimpse of how change happens. This was not the talk I’d expected to see.

Yet in the final portions of his speech, Suzuki turned his most humble. He became David the man. He told of his father, and how on his death bed fifteen years ago, they laughed and cried about all the great memories they’d had together. “Those were the happiest times with my father. Did we ever once talk about that full wardrobe of clothes, or fancy car he once bought? No, that was all immaterial in the end.” In his most intimate, Suzuki became the most moving. “Those were the important times.” Ending his speech, he recieved riotous applause that lasted for well over three minutes, until he had to ask people to sit down.

I was significantly moved by the speech. I’d come in there expecting to here a sermon about how we need to stop environmental destruction, and left feeling empowered. It made me realize why I supported the Occupy Movement initially: something needs to change, and it showed a unifying support system desiring to make a peaceful move towards the better. However, when I actually went to Occupy, it felt unorganized and lacking in purpose. Suzuki seemed to grasp a purpose, and if he’d been just slightly younger, I could see him being exactly the leader Occupy needs.

So, to anyone else who attended the talk, what did you think? What did you come away with in the unexpected yet invigorating talk?

A View from Atop

hey guys, this is just a short descriptive piece I wrote after standing atop Buchanon Tower for the first time. Enjoy, and let me know what needs to be improved! :)

It’s strange that a single view can change a life. A glance, or a gaze; a blink that stretches out towards eternity. In this moment, I see everything: the reds, greens, and yellows painted with the finest brushstroke upon every leaf, mixed among the grey of the buildings; a pool of trees, intermixed with rocks, pushing against the tide. I see five pillar-apartments that guard the outer edges, and the celestial mountains on the horizon– the hair on their heads white with age.

I am above it all, an angel encased in stone. From this view, I see all the animals in their equality: the student scurrying to class, no different than the seagull, gliding through the wind towards its warm nest. How small and insignificant it all seems! Or the busses moving like remote control toys to the west, following a strict schedule, and for what? Will five minutes late change anything? I’m above them, and all I have to do is look towards the mountains to see that they are above even me—though I could try to be like them, I’m sure I must look so petty to them. Can they even see me?

One day I’ll come down. Some strange twist will bring my tower crashing down, and I’ll be an angel no more. But mixed among people once again, I’ll never be the same; always a purple among the green. All because I have witnessed the view from the top; its glorious light has blinded me. So I will climb again, groping among the surfaces of the night, until I once again can taste the sweet golden light.