Tuesday, September 30, 2008

COLLECTIVE MEMORY

We have had a stunningly beautiful autumn here in the Pacific Northwest and I have been soaking up magnificent sunshine as the landscape around me begins to transform into vibrant and awe inspiring shades of orange and yellow. My skin is thankful for the needed dose of a natural vitamin D, which in turn elevates my spirit and helps inspire hope.

I try to reconcile this with what I see around me... markets tumbling and talk of global economic insecurity... mud slinging and appeals to base human fears in both Canada and America as national elections transpire... continued saber rattling on the global stage as entrenched ideologies collide.... greed reigning supreme as human safety is only a vague consideration for the food supply in places like China........

I try to embrace a tempered sense of hope, not the Hallmark variety "don't worry be happy" kind, but a hope that stubbornly persists in the face of darkness. It is a hope that dares to remember that as humans we are occasionally capable of irrational acts of beauty, and that we are only one small part of much larger forces of life.

I think of the ubiquitous crows in Vancouver, who despite the fact that their natural habitat was long ago plowed over return every night to the same place where their collective roost once stood. Every evening around sunset you can see them circling in droves above the trans-Canada highway near the Burnaby-Vancouver border, driven by some collective memory that calls them home, even if it is not as it once was.

For us it is the same, as all is not as it once was and likely won't be again, yet somehow we continue to remember and resist the temptation to simply forget. In this strange new world before us we can dare to remember that this is indeed our home and that we can manage somehow to find new places to claim in an ever changing landscape.

Some say that in another generation the Vancouver crows will forget about where they used to roost and will be too far removed from any living memory to return again. If so, then perhaps they will claim a new space, and find a new way to bring life and memory to the world. Either way, the will continue to fly above the din, bringing their own story to wherever they choose. So can we.

6 comments:

Comrade Kevin said...

There is often a disconnect between the spirit of the times and the actuality of those same times. Often you can't see past bias and see any period objectively until you look at it in hindsight.

Allison said...

We had a truly glorious September here in SW Ontario, fall is settling in now. The perma chill is abounding.

Barbara Bruederlin said...

Like most of life's momentous moments there is a great deal of hopefulness in your post, amongst the concerns. The crows will always find a way.

Bill Stankus said...

I see around me... "

I don't think it can be done. One is natural and organic and the other is from man-made constructs with most of the political and econ mess being the result of forces (and people) outside of an individual's sphere of influence.

Stoicism helps but society's Big Steamroller just keeps rolling.

It was a grand and wonderful weekend past.

Westcoast Walker said...

Thanks for the comments all!

Also, nice to meet you Bill, thanks for stopping by and visiting my little blog

Dean Wormer said...

They'll never stop returning. Just like those Emperor penguins that trek miles back to their breeding grounds. Once it's hard-coded it's hard-coded.