We began our week off last Thursday. A storm damaged the power lines and we still haven’t got the power restored. Friends on another island have loaned us their fridge and I’m getting into shape lugging buckets of water from the lake to the cottage. For some strange reason I’m feeling a little more at ease. It may be the exercise and routine or that without the extra sounds — music, the dishwasher, the hum of the fridge — I can hear where my “allmos-two” son is. He chatters to himself as he investigates everything he picks up and I can track his progress through the cottage by the objects he names as he wanders.
Went night swimming. It was quiet and the water felt warmer than the air. Only the stars looked down on us.
I woke this morning to a quiet lake. We made coffee on the barbeque and decided to go into town for a generator, but arrived back at the cottage to find the power on. I read an article in The Guardian about the fact that the world’s uranium deposits are running out. The writer pointed out that spending billions on building Nuclear power plants when there clearly won’t be uranium to run them in 20 years’ time might not be a wise thing to do. I wonder what the world will be like then… I’ve always believed that education will solve most problems in the world. But is enough funding being given to researchers to allow the innovation to occur, or is it all being put into repairing and upgrading nuclear plants that may be obsolete in 20 years?
I’ve almost finished reading a great book, Consumption by Kevin Patterson (a specialist in internal medicine, who has worked in the Arctic). It’s an excellent novel based on the history of the Inuit in Canada and the effect that Tuberculosis had on them. The story tells how a foreign disease — and a different way of life — can consume a culture. At one point the narrator talks about the Inuit dog sleds and the teams of dogs that pulled them. He explains how dogs that are not worked wither and become sick. The book ends with notes from the doctor — one of the central characters. In the notes, the doctor concludes that there is a new plague that may kill more people than any other in history. The fast food, coma-inducing North American way of life is seeping into developing countries, changing the daily lives of millions of people and causing an epidemic that is bigger than any humanity has seen.
I looked up the number of people with diabetes. It affects more than 230 million people worldwide. In 2005, 40.3 million people were infected with HIV, which pales in comparison to the number with diabetes. The complications from diabetes — heart problems, stroke, liver and kidney problems etc. are just now coming to light and the actual number of deaths caused by this disease is hard to determine. But it isn’t just the fast food; it’s the boredom and the lack of physical activity and challenge that also weakens people: The spirit gets sick.
The weather turned cool and it rained most of the morning, but cleared to a bright sunny day. Got an email from my mother telling me not to use suntan lotion because now it too is supposed to cause cancer.
Watched the full moon rise tonight and thought of all the evenings my husband and I have had together under the moonlight, our two shadows becoming one.
Discussed the crisis in the Afghanistan with family and friends over dinner. One opinion is that we should just back out and stop meddling in their wars. After all, the United States had its civil war and Canada had its war with the U. S. All societies go through a struggle. A civil society needs to develop on its own and to do so may indeed involve war. What about the fact that we have already messed up the natural progression of their development with our televisions, fast food, and atomic bombs? Would it be right to back out now, knowing that these people are armed with powerful weapons? Is it right to stay in and continue to back one side over the other when at the end of the day there is no right side and no wrong side, just two sides who need to learn how to work things out?
Another beautiful day. Greg refinished his kayak this week, sanding it down and resealing it. I went for a long paddle with the boy around the island and into the little bay that always has lily pads growing. He wanted to touch everything. He is now talking in full sentences. His memory for words and phrases humbles me. I think about what the world will be like when he is my age and wonder if there will be an alternative form of energy, if diabetes and the culture that allows it to flourish will have spread wiping out a large portion of the population? I must teach the boys to eat right, to be physically and emotionally active every day, to make each moment count.
Packed up to go home today and wished we could stay here another week. Dreamed of living up here, of being a recluse writer in the woods, but the more I think about it, the more I realize that I need activity, challenge, and diversity. I’ve got some pretty big goals to fulfill before my soul will settle down enough to write more creatively.