Today is the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation here in Canada, what we have been calling Orange Shirt Day for a few years. Today, as Canadians, we remember our historic relationship with the first peoples of this land. We mourn and honour the children who never returned home and survivors of residential schools, as well as their families and communities where the pain reverberates still.
As someone living in Epekwitk, Abegweit, the “Cradle in the Waves: we call Prince Edward Island, PEI, the Island, I am reflective of the fact that this is not merely the ancestral unceded territory of the Mi’kmaq, but the ongoing territory as well. I am open to learning from my neighbours.
On June 21st, I blogged about National Indigenous Peoples Day, an opportunity on the longest day of the year for Canadians to recognize and celebrate the unique heritage, diverse cultures, and outstanding contributions of First Nations, Inuit and Métis peoples. In “An Unfinished Walking Song and Prince Edward Island’s Mi’kmaq on National Indigenous Peoples Day,” I also talk about residential schools and my own growth in understanding of our shared story. It was a hard post to write, but I hope you will take the time to read it.
More recently, I wrote about C.S. Lewis and some peculiar ways that he can help us think differently about colonial history: “’We Became to America what the Huns Had Been to Us’: C.S. Lewis and the European Colonization of America.”
Today is also Day 7 without electricity, and I’m sporting my orange shirt in front of my beloved tree, downed by Hurricane Fiona. Our Cradle in the Waves has been rocked, stirred, disturbed … the land and shorelines have changed. I blogged about my experience a bit on Tuesday in the post “Stone Soup, Cherry Trees, and Shorelines: An Update from Prince Edward Island on Hurricane Fiona.” I am embroiled with little tasks and jobs tr;lying to keep my household going, support my wife’s parents and neighbours, and help my students keep moving forward, so I don’t have time for a real update. However, I’ll share a bit from a social media post yesterday that works as a follow-up to my Soup-Trees-Shorlines Tuesday update:
Day 6 in the Dark, Random Thoughts and notes of Blessing:
- I have received dozens of lovely notes of cheer and offers of help, and I feel blessed by the unseen webs of support that are part of my daily life
- we had a big BBQ last night to cook all the meat Kerry’s parents had in the freezer, and a double rainbow made an appearance
- did you know that tater tots work well on the BBQ? (lucky)
- Tuesday’s “Stone Soup” by Rick (whom I hilariously called Rusty) was such a nice treat–hot, good food made with ingredients from the neighbourhood’s supplies and then given back to the neighbourhood
- hot coffee, a blessing remembered
- having a generator for part of the day is such a lift that it makes me tear up: I can work, our freezer is cold, our basement is dry
- once I understood the limits of a generator, we’ve been able to string extension cords together to plug in neighbour’s freezers, one at a time, which has been neat
- a tea kettle draws the most power of any appliance
- a chainsaw I have! and itching to use
- the gassy, gnawing, rumbling wine and chatter of generators and chainsaws from 7am to 1am is wearisome, though I’m trying to keep it in perspective
- we are waiting for the electricity to come back on by standing on our top floor deck and scanning the community, and then looking at the Maritime Electric outage map–it’s really like an inversed invasion map, as a circle of lightlessness surrounds our home
- I could hit a baseball to where the whole block has light (if I could hit a baseball)
- Wednesday night Kerry and I walked through our neighbourhood, encouraged by how quickly things have been cleaned up, and amazed at the damage that still exists
- it was beautiful to see flickering candlelight behind the curtains
- all summer we try to get out of the house to sit by the campfire, away from electric light, but it was cheerful last night to sit beneath a lamp and watch an old TV show I had on my laptop
- I think I want to hang solar-powered garden lights so that future apocalypses are more cheerful
- it is a blessing to help betimes: a family last night was burning storm debris to cook supper in a metal bowl (with poisonous potentials), and I was able to give them dry wood (from my dry basement), which warmed me in a different way
- my downed cherry tree is providing frost cover for tomatoes, which survived the storm (amazingly)
- a sober note: Hurricane Ian is ravaging the US coast, refugees are scattering through Europe as winter sets in, and we have had warm nights in PEI since Hurricane Fiona; however, only 50% of Islanders have power and the temperature is going to drop
I’ve got gas! No, not that kind! I mean the ole fashioned dinosaur detritus, stinkify the air, run the car and warm the earth kind.
As the post-hurricane Fiona chaos in Atlantic Canada meant gargantuan lines and empty pumps, we decided to wait. We traded generator time for gas around the neighbourhood, and I learned to siphon gas without drinking it, sacrificing my beer-making supplies to the venture. It meant we lost our fridge food, but our basement is dry, our freezer is cold, and there are a half-dozen freezers around us that are still keeping food safe to eat.
Before dawn today, on day 5 without electricity, we went on a gas hunt. We succeeded, and also found bananas and coffee! What a wonder. We will have gas for the generator and car. And if I can find a way to replace my stolen chainsaw, I can get the yard cleaned and scavange some neighbourhood wood for winter.
I am sorry for all the hurricane sorrows and headaches on PEI and in Florida. Here in NC we are bracing for Ian’s impact this afternoon. I ache for those who have lost so much … to storms and war. Holding you in prayer.
Best wishes Allyson.
I’m glad you got hold of a chainsaw! That sounds like a necessity. Also impressed by the community coming together to share food and things. Very heartening. Hope you can all get the power back on before the cold weather comes.
Thanks Yvonne, best wishes!
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