Friday, June 29, 2012

a story

The old man is running. The grass is whipping at his legs; the ground so flat feels uneven.  Like his breathing.  It is harder and harder to breathe.  But he is listening, his ears all out ahead of him.  He is close, surely they will be there.  It is a hot day, he told them to stay away from cars.  They would not have gone to a car.  The older ones knew why.  It was just hot.  They had left the yard to go to the slough to swim.  But he couldn't hear them.

The old man has to stop.  He can't breathe.  Sweat is running down his face. His worn hands on his knees, his gasping loud in the summer air.  But otherwise, silence.  Are they hiding on him, playing a game?  He pulls in deep breaths.  He calls their names.  His seven beautiful grandchildren.  All their names carry away on the wind.  They would not have gone to a car.  The older ones knew why.

The slough is calm, empty, the ground around it untrammelled by bare feet.  A robin looks at him.  He heads toward the coulee.  Perhaps they are playing hide and seek in the cool of the ravine.  It is farther away.  Farther than they would have gone without telling him.  The old man tries to keep running, but his breath will not let him.  He sets a steady pace and goes to the coulee.  They are not there.

The silence of the afternoon hurts his ears after the sounds of their laughter in his yard.  His children trusted him with their children.  

The old man looks at the sun, then at the horizon.  He must go for help.  The RCMP detachment is nine miles away.  The old man starts to walk.  He is hungry, the wind dries the sweat of his running onto his body.  He walks.  He reaches the highway and hopes a passing car will give him a lift.  He sees no one.  He walks.  Finally he reaches the detachment.

The tall blond RCMP officer has kind blue eyes.  He is concerned about the children.  Could they be playing a trick?  Perhaps they had gone to a neighbour's farm.  He helps the old man into his van and they drive to the nearby farms.  No one has seen the children.  They go back to the slough, the coulee.  It is dark now.  They call in the darkness.  They do not find the children.

Much later, when some of the children come home, the grandfather is told what happened.  It wasn't a car.  It was a van.  They had never seen one like that.  The tall blue eyed RCMP officer let them get inside.  It was only when he shut the doors that they realized.  It was only when the doors of the residential school closed on them that they knew.

A the Truth and Reconciliation Commission Saskatchewan some of the stories that are told are to be repeated.  I have repeated one here.  It was told to the Commission by an old man who was the youngest child taken that day in the Qu'Appelle area.  He was five years old at the time.  He did not go home again for two years.

Saturday, June 23, 2012

Yesterday's Count

Blue, blue, blue.  The roses, pink and bumblebee, fill the air with sweet.  Brightly coloured children scream and laugh through the sprinklers.  I jump through to wet my bare legs and remember.  A little breeze ruffles things, like single blades of grass, and carries the scent of the roses.  My favourite crabapple three is thick with bulbous young apples.  Horse feather clouds paint one piece of blue, wispy tendrils curled.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Where is the den of the Dwarf Dragon

This week we are learning about other branches in our library system, so there is a scavenger hunt going on.  Each branch has four questions to pick from, reach into the bowl and take your chances.  This afternoon I have been enjoying sending my co-workers into the deepest basement after Jack the Ripper books and having them try to figure out where the den of the Dwarf Dragon is*.  I went to my first 'other' branch this morning and found a textbook from my childhood.  Mr. Mugs.  He was quite a pleasant shock after: see Spot run.  Yes, I was one of the last grades of children to learn from Dick and Jane.  Though now they are hanging out with vampires, as many children are these days.

*It shall be revealed next weeeeekk, after the hunt is over.

Friday, June 15, 2012

pride and shame: the dictatorship of Canada

Over the last couple of days the Opposition in the House of Commons has demonstrated clearly that not all Canadians are support the actions of the current government.  I salute them with pride and thanks.

Last night, and no surprise, the aptly named Harper Government, because Canada as a whole is certainly not well represented there, voted down the amendments put forward as a protest to the omnibus budget bill by the opposition parties.

At the end of the marathon vote, 22 hours non stop (I actually watched some of it. Up and down and up and down, as over and over to each name read and repeated, stand and acknowledge the Speaker as you vote.) After it was over a tired Minister Flaherty gave the same tired statement to the press that Canadians wanted jobs and prosperity, that they had mandated the government last year to get that for them.  Well yes.  Who doesn't want to be employed and well off.  But this tired repetition is entirely forgetful that the Canadian people want other things as well and considers them worth the price, like a healthy environment to pass on to their children, like fair wages and labour practices, like democracy.

Yes, Harper currently leads the majority in the house, yes he and his party can now,  in dictatory style push through anything they want.  And I can't fault the 'get the thing done and let them howl' logic.  But a howl can rise to a level that will deafen, and when democratic rules are used to dictatorial ends, that howl can rise to to a hurricane pitch and sweep away that which offends it.  Mr. Harper, you offend.  You have the rules on your side, but you do not have Canada.

Canadian rules come out of British and French traditions where when the head of government oversteps the bounds of right, that head is removed.  The Official Oppositional call loudly for 2015, but I think MP May has the right of it.  Remove Harper now.  This is not America. He can be taken out as team captain and the team continue to play.  After all, even Conservatives have good ideas now and then.

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Today's count

Two babies. Goober.  Ten week old rescue puppy.  I was walking back in the grey cool breezy afternoon from a work event and afar I saw a puppy.  Puppies are me magnets. I flagged down its human and she kindly brought him along side.  Happy days, I have cuddled, petted and been chewed on. Samuel.  Six month old human baby.  Asleep.  So cute when they are asleep.