After five weeks in the North, what has changed on the home front? First, Dr Mackinnon has retired. This means no family doctor. Make sure that you have registered on the 811 list; not an encouraging sign, especially given the recent video that went viral on a young cancer patient. Second, Highway #201 is still full of logging trucks removing trees from the remaining forests of Southwest Nova Scotia. Third, no news on the Gordonstoun build outside of Bridgetown. It does make you wonder whether we need a change in our political leadership. or are most of our woes related to the performance of the civil service? In which case, we need a ‘change in the culture’.
On a more positive note, courtesy of Amazon, I returned to find two new books by David Manners. You may recall from an earlier blog, that he wrote a novel in the 1940s about rural living in Centrelea. In The Wonder within You, David Morgan-Jones gives a useful biographical introduction to Manners’ life. Manners was born in Halifax in 1900. After going to the University of Toronto to study Forestry, while there, he started his acting career. In the 1930’s he was a Hollywood film star. He dropped out, and moved to Yucca Loma where he wrote two novels: Convenient Season (1941) and Under Running Laughter (1943). He shared his life with Bill Mercer (1948-1978) in both Yucca Loma and Santa Barbara. Manners died in 1998. Awakening from the Dream of Me (1987) was described as ‘a unique collection of aphorisms from an American sage‘. The Wonder within You (2005), edited by Morgan-Jones, was published after his death. It contains a selection of quotation from both his newsletters and journals. For example,
‘No tools, no money, no travel, no teacher, no group, no organization is needed. The ultimate is here, and it is free and open to everyone. No identification card is needed, no scroll of great deeds or list of failures. Come as you are, naked of the world’s judgements.’
From the past, this month, I have received emails from students who were in Lawrencetown in the 1980s. Bill Castel and his mother, Pat, were both students at NSLSI in the Scientific Computer programming program. Sidey Timmins and his sister, Ann, were both students in the new GIS program from the mid-eighties. I have also been in contact with Danielle Robinson. She is PhD candidate at the University of Guelph looking at food sustainability and rural tourism. She is making a comparison between the Okanagan Valley, BC and the Annapolis Valley, NS. I look forward to her visit to Nova Scotia next month.
My last piece of reading, I picked up this week, at my father-in-law’s house in New Glasgow. The book is by Joan Dawson Nova Scotia’s Lost Communities: the early settlements that helped build the province. Besides raising questions about the historical exploitation of the Nova Scotian landscape, whether saw mills, shipbuilding or mining, it offers us a reminder that the current overexploitation of our resources will again pass into history. However, it does beg the question: will we ever learn? To do things differently?
To those friends and relatives who believe that ‘there must be a better way’ without exploiting people and the planet. To Heather Stewart and Edward Wedler, fellow travellers.
After five weeks away, I have five issues of The Guardian Weekly to digest. Just imagine. In the April 19th. edition, there is a promising book review of Outpost by Dan Richards. Alex Preston, the reviewer compares the writing to the work of Robert MacFarlane. Time to use the services of inter-library loan in Lawrencetown.
David Manners.1987. Awakening from the Dream of Me. Non-stop Books.
David Morgan-Jones. (ed).2005. The Wonder within You. From the Metaphysical journals of David Manners. Trafford Publishing.
Joan Dawson. 2018. Nova Scotia’s Lost Communities: The Early Settlements that helped Build the Province. Nimbus Publishing.