Posted in New thinking

Rural Curriculum

“We abuse the land because we regard it as a commodity belonging to us. When we see land as a community to which we belong, we may begin to use it with love and respect”. Aldo Leopold. A Sand County Almanac. 1949.

yurtConstruction
Yurt construction, taken from https://www.lfy.ca/workshops/links

These last two days we have been supporting Alex Cole and his team: Silas, Chris, Rick and Gord produce charcoal from the leftovers of the coppicing of red maple. The coppicing produces poles for yurt construction.

 

This community collaboration reminded me of David Orr’s essay on Re-Ruralizing Education. It emphasizes practical woodland skills for managing the land. The products provide materials for nomadic shelters. In some way, not dissimilar to the Mi’kmaq dwellings used for their movement through the landscape. The charcoal can form the basis of biochar that adds fertility to our gardens, at home and in the forest.

At the Climate Summit last weekend, Danny Bruce, an organic farmer from Centrelea stated:

“There are lots of skills that we could relearn and use to forward us. I think maybe we can do it a little simpler than our grandmothers did, but it’s all possible.”

bookCover_rootedInTheLandAnother concept, from Rooted in the Land essay by Susan Witt and Robert Swann is the Community Land Trust (CLT) concept developed by the Schumacher Society.

“A community land trust is a not-for-profit organization with membership open to any resident of the geographical region or bioregion where it is located. Its purpose is to create a democratic institution to hold land and to retain the use-value of the land for the benefit of the community.”

It appears that we are seeing a new ‘back to the land’ movement. Or as Heather Stewart, astutely observes ‘back to the land with green $$$’ (money). The Annapolis Valley is well situated to be part of this creative rural economy, at a time of climate crisis.

Talking last night, we speculated whether the proposed Gordonstoun Nova Scotia school would adopt this type of rural curriculum.

Lawrencetown inter-library loan service has delivered Wilding by Isabella Tree. First glance shows the fascinating history of land use and farming at Knepp in West Sussex. ‘The Knepp ‘wilding’ project is a vitally important experiment for working out what we can do to let nature back into our farmed landscapes’.

Acknowledgements

To Alex Cole and his work crew of Silas and Chris, supplemented by the expertise of Rick and Gord for the charcoal making event. Heather for her insights and enthusiasms. John Wightman for his thoughts on the Gordonstoun school. Edward Wedler for graphics contribution.

References

From Rooted in the Land edited by William Vitek and Wes Jackson,
David Orr. Re-ruralizing Education. p.226-234.
Susan Witt and Robert Swann. Land: challenge and opportunity. p.244-252.
Handbook on establishing a Community Land Trust can be obtained from the Schumacher Center for New Economics. https://centerforneweconomics.org

Posted in Art, Event Review, New thinking

AI in Plein Air Art

pleinAirArtists
My goal at the recent Art Impact AI workshop held in Dartmouth, Nova Scotia, was to see how AI (Artificial Intelligence) might play a role in plein air art. The workshop was headed by Valentine Goddard and Jerrold McGrath.

The participant numbers were of a convenient size that we could delve into the subject matter at some depth. What struck me first was the diversity of backgrounds in attendance — from wood sculptor to theatre-savvy software developer, from cellular biologist to explorers of biologic/geologic forms, from filmmaker to former art director. But we all had the creative artistic mind and AI interest in common.

I learned all sorts of AI concepts such as Neural Networks, Machine Learning, CV, and Deep Learning, and dominant AI values such as transparency, fairness, accountability, and more. We were shown a book entitled Neural Networks for Babies by Fernie and Kaiser. We played games to immerse ourselves in the mechanism of AI thinking. “Finding the Criminal” game taught us about the significance of algorithm development, application, confidence, bias, and use/abuse. That type of game, upon later discussions with filmmaker Kimberly Smith from Canning, could have implications in his Movie Games project.

So, how does AI apply to my plein air art world? In the short term, I do not see AI having immediate impact. I do see where AI has the potential for the visual artist; playing a role in my art, down the road, as mentor, coach, teacher and critic. I do not see AI in art as something to be feared. I see AI as something to augment the creative learning process and development of the human artist — where AI and human collaborate.

In plein air art that AI augmentation also includes the process of seeing and interpreting the geography that surrounds us as an artist.

ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS
Participants in the Art Impact AI Dartmouth workshop, for their lively and insightful discussions.
Valentine Goddard and Jerrold McGrath for heading the Art Impact AI workshop.

REFERENCES

Neural Networks for Babies, by Chris Ferrie and Dr Sarah Kaiser,  Sourcebooks, March 2019
Movie Games, by Kimberly Smith

Posted in New thinking

It is Time

This week, we received an invitation to the Annapolis County Climate Action Summit, scheduled for Cornwallis Park on November 9th.banner_ClimateChangeWorkshop I also received email from Brian Arnott that Robert MacFarlane will be on CBC Sunday Morning with Michael Enright. (see the previous blog)

The questions from County are:

1) what climate changes are you most concerned about in Annapolis County?
2) have you identified any solutions?
3) what local action (both individual and collective) and resources are needed to achieve these solutions?
4) are you willing to be a climate action ambassador for your neighbourhood?

Last night, the Federal Riding of West Nova elected Conservative Chris d’Entremont to represent us in Ottawa.

All of these questions suggest that it is time. Time to recognize the abilities of all citizens in the region. To hear their voices. It is time for the educational and research institutions to step up and contribute to our understanding of the issues (see, for example, a AGRG-developed Emergency Coastal Flooding Decision Support System, test result below).

map_floodRisk_Wolfville23Oct2019
Floodtide prediction and coastal inundation query 6:00am 23Oct2019 at Wolfville, Nova Scotia

In the 1980’s we renamed the Land Survey Institute to the College of Geographic Sciences. We recognized that there were many new technologies available to manage our geography. If we are going to have three levels of government deciding on the future of the landscape and its use/abuse. Let us work from a common shared digital representation of that landscape and its climate.

It is time to remind the educational institutions that educators when they retire they do not stop contributing to the thinking in their chosen discipline. In other cultures, there is recognition of these educators/elders.

20190927_114423It is time to realize that the movement of individuals from elsewhere in Canada, or other countries, to Annapolis County is positive. It is time to stop thinking that more citizens who have reached retirement (arbitrarily, say 65 years) is negative. It is positive.

Living in rural Nova Scotia, where it is possible to grow your own food, is positive.

So let’s answer the county’s questions.

1) What climate changes are you most concerned about in Annapolis County?
No specific change. Rather our ability to be well-informed, able to make the necessary adaptation, and have emergency preparedness action plans.

2) Have you identified any solutions?
Yes. Full engagement of educational institutions. Access to shared community information on our environment, land use, ocean use, demographics.

3) What local action and resources are needed?
Resources to maintain the existing climate network and a community information utility.

4) Are you willing to be a climate action ambassador?
Yes. If this includes education and research of our representatives, citizens and educational institutions.

It is time for citizens to demand more from our representatives, institutions and ourselves.

Acknowledgements

To many friends and colleagues in the county, Nova Scotia, Canada and elsewhere.Edward added the excellent graphics and is pleasure to collaborate on this blog.
AGRG, Emergency Coastal Flooding Decision Support System.
Climate Change in Nova Scotia.

References

Annapolis County Climate Action Summit. November 9,2019 at Cornwallis Park.

Posted in Article Review, New thinking

The Language of Place

I have enjoyed the writing of Robert MacFarlane for several years.

headshot_robertMacFarlane
Link: https://emergencemagazine.org/story/speaking-the-anthropocene/

This week, I received notice of a new web site: Emergence Magazine. It includes a podcast interview with the author: Speaking the Anthropocene.

RM. “Language and landscape are the two braids that have twined and untwined in my life, and in my writing to this point. I teach in a literature department but really, I think I’m a bit more of a geographer these days.”

EM. “In Landmarks, is the idea that the words assembled in your book are a possibility of how we can re-wild our contemporary language for landscape. You described that as being the hope, so to speak.”

In Landmarks, MacFarlane provides a series of glossaries for different landscapes: flatlands, uplands, waterlands, coastlands, underlands, northlands, edgelands, earthlands, woodlands.

bookCover_SodsSoilSpadesThis discussion of the Language of Place took me back to my bookshelf. For Nova Scotia, I retrieved Sherman Bleakney’s book Sods, Soils and Spades: The Acadians at Grand Pre and their dykeland legacy. The word that triggered this search was aboiteau and its role in dykeland construction.

A second Nova Scotian author was Peter Sanger. In particular, I had enjoyed Spar: words in place ( check my blog Place in Words, October 31, 2018).

From time spent on Haida Gwaii, I found a back copy of Haida Laas, the newsletter of the Haida nation. (December 2015).BookCover_HaidaLassDec2015

Thinking in Haida. With a slip of the tongue describes a Haida language class. The class is studying Massett Songs, a collection of songs and stories recorded by anthropologist John R. Swanson and translated by John Enrico.

“Xaad Kil is highly directional, the language is constantly creating a picture of motion and place. Xaad Kil prioritized things like wind direction, water currents and one’s own relative location to the ocean.

“ Lost in translation.
Xaad Kil (Haida) Sahgwii ltl
Literal English
Upstream- Direction I’m going.
Colloquial English
I’m going up town

Explanation

To get downtown from Gaaw, you must travel upstream along Gaaw Kaahli (Massett Inlet). That’s why we say uptown and not downtown like city people. Explained by Rev. Lily Bell.”

Here is my thesis: the language of Place is shaped by the specific geography, e.g. Nova Scotia or British Columbia. It is also shaped by the rules of the language, in this case, either Haida or English.

Regardless of the language, we need to understand the underlying processes, i.e. landscape ecology. In Nova Scotia, we are influenced by our position on the North American continent; the different air masses and ocean currents. These influences are changing within the context of the climate crisis.

I would love to believe that changing our language would help. In practice, we have to deepen our understanding of the landscape, it’s history, ecology and the associated processes.

Acknowledgements

Edward Wedler and Heather Stewart for their thoughtful conversations.

References

Emergence Magazine. emergencemagazine.org
J.Sherman Bleakney. 2004. Sods, soil and spades. McGill Queens Press.
Haida Laas.Newsletter of the Council of the Haida Nation. December 2015. p.8
Peter Sanger. 2002. Spar: words in place. Gaspereau Press
Robert Maher. ernestblairexperiment blog. October 31, 2018. Place in words.

Posted in New thinking, Video Review

Rewilding the Annapolis Valley

This week was the end of the Apple harvest.appleHarverst2019_4b Brian Boates picked up eight bins for juicing in Woodville, before transporting it to Ironworks Distillery in Lunenburg. At the same time, I heard from Pierre that the first shipment of Hunter Brandy should be available later this month.

bookCover_wilding

On Wednesday, I stopped at Books Galore in Coldbrook. I found a revised edition of Wendell Berry’s A Place on Earth. Berry describes life in Port William, Kentucky. It was first written in 1967 and extensively revised in 1983. I also unearthed Thomas Raddall’s Memoir, In My Time.

Another place-related book was the discovery of Isabella Tree’s Wilding: the Return of Nature to a British Farm. This set me thinking about “wilding the landscape”. The primary inspiration was a pair of YouTube videos by George Monbiot and Alan Featherstone, describing the Rewilding Movement in the United Kingdom, especially in Scotland.



George Monbiot is a well-known columnist for The Guardian. The Rewilding message is a very positive one. It is to bring back species that were part of the landscape and to work with ecological processes in its recovery. In the Scottish Highlands, the main focus has been replanting native tree species.

The concept and philosophy could be applied to the Annapolis Valley. For example, in collaboration with the Clean Annapolis River Project (CARP) we could remove the tidal power dam at Annapolis Royal and allow the river and its Ecology to return to a pre-dam condition. We could also manage the runoff from the small communities and the surrounding farmland. With this type of action, it may be possible to reapply for heritage river status. This application was tried a couple of decades ago.

Monbiot, in his presentation, speaks to the palaeo-ecology in the British Isles. What would be the palaeo-ecology of the Annapolis Valley region, before the arrival of the settler culture? What have been the transformations of the landscape since the settlement of Annapolis Royal? What is the relationship between the marine environment and its ecology with the terrestrial landscape; in the past, pre-settlement era and today?

To develop an appreciation of these changes in landscape ecology, we must be able to map the ecology over time. This would make a remarkable research project for students and faculty at the Centre of Geographic Sciences (COGS), alongside the local NGOs.

Meanwhile, reading the latest AIRO newsletter I noted a reference to Royal Acres Estate and their Scottish Highland cattle and the MareGold Retreat Centre at Victoria Beach. Both supported by AIRO, these initiatives seem compatible with the Rewilding Movement in the UK.

Please check out the YouTube videos.

Acknowledgements

Nina Newington for the Isabella Tree reference. Jane Nicholson for her work at Annapolis Investments in Rural Opportunity (AIRO). Heather for help with the apple harvest. Edward for his continued graphics support.

References

Wendell Berry 1983. A Place on Earth. North Point Press.
Thomas Randall. 1976. In My Time. A Memoir. McClelland and Stewart.
Isabella Tree. 2019. Wilding: the Return of Nature to a British Farm. Pan MacMillan.
George Monbiot. 2016. Rewilding and its Place on the Global Development agenda.
Plymouth University. YouTube video.
Alan Featherstone. 2016. Presentation at Plymouth University. YouTube video (see above).

Posted in Event Review, New thinking

Climate Emergency / Watermark

On Monday, we attended the Council meeting of the Municipality in Annapolis Royal. There was a motion before council for a Declaration of Climate Emergency. It was supported with a short presentation by Nina Newington from Extinction Rebellion. A sizeable gathering of citizens were in the Council chamber to witness the event. Of course, interest had been raised by Hurricane Dorian.

Tim Habinski, the Warden made the point that action on the ground happens at the municipal level. This is true, although it does require the collaboration of all three levels of government. This reminded me of a song by Dave Gunning from Pictou County. He performed at the Evergreen Theatre in Margaretsville the previous evening. The song was ‘These Hands’. These lyrics have been included in a children’s book. To be successful, we need ‘all hands on deck’.

That includes a wide array of citizen groups, as well as the educational institutions in the county. For example, David Colville at COGS has developed and maintained a network of climate stations throughout the Valley. Would that be a useful resource ?

Or if we want to monitor changes in land use, whether through natural events or human activities, we could use drone photography.

Or if we are concerned about changes in the coastal zone, we could use the LiDAR technology at AGRG ?

To slightly change the subject. This week at the North Mountain coffee shop in Berwick, I picked up a copy of Christy Ann Conlin’s new book Watermark. I wanted to see whether today’s authors are addressing the questions raised by rural society and its values ( in the spirit of Ernest Buckler).

Watermark is an interesting word. From Wikipedia,

“It is an identifying image or pattern in paper that appears as various shades of lightness/darkness when viewed by transmitted light. Watermarks are used to discourage counterfeiting.”

In Conlin’s work, it refers to a human quality that is inherent from upbringing. In my world, I think in terms of ‘watermarks’ on the landscape. For example, this week, we picked up thirty bushels of drops in the orchard, planted by Raymond Hunter.

As part of our background research into Hunter brandy, I received the following email from his son, Willy Hunter (September 16th.)

“Ray often said, that even when he planted trees when he was 80, he wouldn’t know who would harvest the apples, but someone would.”

Next week, we shall start picking from the trees.Heather and I are that ‘someone’.

Acknowledgements

Willy Hunter for sharing the rich stories of the Hunter family life in Clarence, Paradise and Lawrencetown. Heather for sharing the orchard work.
Edward is travelling in Cape Breton this week. We will add his graphics later.

Reference

Christy Ann Conlin. 2019. Watermark. Anansi Press.

Posted in New thinking

Naturally rooted; Hunter’s Brandy

On our way back from Sydney, Cape Breton we drove along the North Shore of the Bras d’Or Lake. Heather noticed a sign: Richmond County – Naturally Connected. This reminded us of a sign on Highway 101, Annapolis County – Naturally Rooted.logo_naturallyRooted We started to reflect on the difference. ‘Connected’ suggests a network of relationships between the elements of our natural environment and the people and culture that lived on the land. ‘Rooted’ suggests more a sense of permanence, with both feet on the ground.

As I tried to understand the subtle difference between these two county slogans, the thought occurred to me that for Nova Scotia, we could map these messages onto the local geography. What would it tell us about the inhabitants of each municipal unit? Would it give insight into the relationship between the local culture and the landscape? What resources would be highlighted for consumption by the travelling public? Would each municipality offer a different story?

A map showing the municipal messages would make an excellent project for a student at COGS. Recognizing that the municipal boundaries do not necessarily correspond to either cultural or natural boundaries.

Today, we headed over to Lunenburg to visit Ironworks Distillery.ironworksDistillery We have been working with them to produce a product, ‘Hunter’s Brandy’. Raymond and Rona Hunter were early organic farmers in the Annapolis Valley. In the late ‘80s, Raymond planted a small orchard in Paradise, less than a hundred trees, primarily NovaMac and MacFree varieties with the occasional Liberty and NovaSpy. We took responsibility for the orchard around 2008. Initially, we would hand-press the apples into sweet cider for sale at the farmers’ markets.boatesFarm More recently, we have reached an agreement with Brian Boates in Woodville to juice the apples and then deliver the liquid to Pierre Guevremont at Ironworks Distillery, Lunenburg. This week, we conducted the final tasting of Hunter’s Brandy. It has been two years in the making. Look out for it at your local farmers’ market or take a drive over the top to Lunenburg on the South Shore.

The organic farming of Raymond and Rona epitomized a certain relationship, and care for the agricultural land. Naturally rooted or Naturally Connected?

Acknowledgements

Heather noticed the similarity between the two signs. Edward translated our story into graphics.

References
For an update on Ironworks Distillery, go to ironworksdistillery.com
For more on the products from Brian Boates, go to boatesfarm.ca

Posted in New thinking

The Maine Line

banner_fourSeasonsfarmMaineThis week, between Canada Day and Independence Day, we went down to Brooksville, Maine to visit Andrew, Julia and family at Julia’s Mothers house. Besides the kayaking, sailing and beach access we discovered a part of ‘the back to the land’ history.

The first revelation was Eliot Coleman and Four Seasons Farm. Coleman is an American Organic Farmer elder. He has published several definitive books on the topic. After we toured his farm, talked to the next generation apprentices, we had a second revelation. Just a few miles down the road was The Good Life Center, established by Scott and Helen Nearing. Coleman was a friend and student of the Nearings.map_goodLifeCenterMaine

At The Good Life Center, we walked the Fairy Trail; we peeked into the Meditation Yurts, built by William Coperthwaite.

That evening, we went to supper in Stonington. Afterwards, attended a juggling performance by Shane Miclon at Opera House.

What a splendid day!

pic_bobHeatherMaine_1For those interested, check out the following web site www.goodlife.org or Google Eliot Coleman. On the web site, there are several videos of talks at The Good Life Centre. Or you can pull down one of the books off the shelf.

” Life is enriched by aspiration and effort, rather than by acquisition and accumulation” Poverty and Riches. S. Nearing. 1916.

pic_bobHeatherMaine_2To get there is very simple. Take the Digby-St John ferry, drive to the Canada/US border at St Stephen/Calais. Take the Airliner, Route #9 towards Bangor. About two thirds along head south on #179 to Brooksville. Specifically, both The Good Life Centre and Four Season Farm are at Harborside.

It is only a four-hour drive from the ferry to Brooksville.

Another observation. Notice the quality of the forest cover in Maine and compare it with the devastation that has been allowed in Nova Scotia.

Safe driving or happy reading, especially for those Nova Scotians who left the United States but brought with them the ‘back to the land’ ethic of the Nearings and Coleman.

Acknowledgements

Thanks to Janis for her generous hospitality. To Andrew and Julia for encouraging us to make the drive. Quinn and Isla Rose, such good company. To Heather for her appreciation of the ‘good life’. Edward for his graphics contribution. This blog is for Paul and Ruth Colville.

References.

The Good Life Centre. www.goodlife.org
The Yurt Foundation. William Coperthwaite, Machiasport, ME 04655
Eliot Coleman. The Four Season Farm. fourseasonfarm.com/

” It is opportunity that is rare. Not ability. The idea of equal opportunity is one of the most brilliant dreams that ever came into human consciousness.”
Poverty and Riches. S. Nearing .1916.

Posted in Event Review, New thinking

COGS celebration and reflections

Last Friday, I attended the 17th Annual COGS Student Success celebration at the Lawrencetown Fire Hall. Approximately fifty awards were handed out to students in the Geographic Sciences. COGSawardsThis included GIS, Remote Sensing, Marine Geomatics, Survey Technology and Technician, Community Planning and Information Technology. Today, the student population is around one hundred and fifty.  In my day (1980-88), we had similar student numbers, divided into three departments: Surveying, Computer Programming, and Cartography/Planning. It will be interesting to speculate on the numbers and disciplinary interests over the next thirty years.

Konrad Dramowicz and Kathleen Stewart, both announced their retirement from the NSCC. We wish them well in the third age.

bookCover_ArtisticApproachesToCulturalMappingA couple of conversations caught my attention. The first was a chat about the conversion of a LiDAR-derived topographic landscape into a hooked rug. This resonated with a new book that I had signed out from the COGS library. Artistic Approaches to Cultural Mapping: activating imaginaries and means of knowing. The second conversation, with Ed Symons, related to my experience at the walk-in clinic in Berwick, looking for a doctor. There, I had picked up a brochure describing the process for 811 registration. Here was my question: why not allow communities to actively engage in the doctor shortage issue. Can we not map citizens who do not have a family doctor from the registry?  Can we not map the communities where doctors are retiring? This would allow individual communities, without government oversight and control, to be more proactive.

logo_WWSCYesterday, Heather and I joined a group of about thirty woodlot owners for a field trip organized by the Western Woodlot Services Cooperative (WWSC) to North Range, Digby County. It started at the Forest Products Mill outside of Barton. Our host was Harold Alexander who has been managing woodlots in the area for over forty years. It was a joy to spend the time in the woods with a knowledgeable person and to appreciate the complexity of the decision process behind woodlot management and to understand the potential for a better alternative through citizen collaboration.

bookCover_UnderlandThis week, I received emails, from my brother and Frank Fox, about the new book by Robert MacFarlane, Underland. On BBC Radio 4 at 9:45 am, each day there was a short podcast from a different chapter. The book looks at landscape features below the ground, especially caves, mines, sewer systems throughout Europe. It reminded me of two occasions in my own life. While at the University of Birmingham, we hitch-hiked to the west coast of Ireland to go caving near Lisdoonvarna and the Burren. A few years later (1970) I joined Derek Ford, Michael Goodchild and others to explore Castleguard Cave in the Canadian Rockies, beneath the Columbia Icefields. Both are a classic example of physical geography in action.

One final reflection. Again beginning with a conversation with Ed Symons,  he gave me the latest issue of Municipal World (May 2019). It includes an article New Uses for Historic Places of Faith. Up near Wolfville, they have converted a church into a local craft brewery. Yesterday I noticed at Plympton, they are deconstructing the church. Only the frame remains standing. What an interesting commentary on society.

Acknowledgements

Ed Symons for the conversations, before and during at the COGS Award Ceremony. Harold Alexander for his in-depth knowledge of the woods in Southwest Nova Scotia. Peter Maher and Frank Fox for forwarding the reviews of Robert McFarlane’s new book. Edward Wedler for his artistic contribution.

References

Nancy Duxbury, WF Garrett-Petts and A. Longley. (ed). 2019. Artistic Approaches to Cultural Mapping: activating imaginaries and means of knowing. Routledge Publishing.

Robert MacFarlane. 2019 Underland: a deep time journey. Hamish Hamilton Publishing.

Footnote

In the Duxbury book, two items caught my eye. There is a reference to Tom van Sant’s  map The Earth – From Space: a Satellite View of the World. Here, right next to my computer, I have a signed copy of this image dated 12-13-90 from my days with Esri, Redlands and meeting Tom at his studio.

The second item is a reference to the work of radical geographer, William Bunge: 1968. Where Detroit’s run over Black Children on the Pointes-Downtown Track map. Bill spent time in the Department of Geography, University of Western Ontario, London, Ontario.

 

Posted in New thinking

Elder Travel

bookCover_TrueNorthRisingIn True North Rising, Whit Fraser describes meeting Mary Simon’s parents in the Arizona Desert (p.138). For nearly twenty years, the in-laws made winter camping trips. Bob May started work for the Hudson Bay Company at Arctic Bay, where he met his wife, Nancy. This story reminds me of the changes in technology, and its relation to elder travel.

We head North, to Iqaluit, with a cell phone and iPad. On arrival, we are reminded that this is ‘old’ technology. Here are smartphones, text messaging and no landline in the house. My iPad only gives me access to email.

iqaluit_blackHeartCafeAquaticCentre
In Iqaluit, at the Black Heart Cafe and at the Aquatic Centre, I notice that they have a free book exchange. This allows me to read an essay by Margaret Laurence, ‘My Final Hour’. Laurence was Chancellor at Trent University, living in Lakefield. This connects me with my son, Patrick. They have recently moved their family to Peterborough. We once lived there, when I worked for the Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources.

bookCover_BornToWalkOn our way North, we had a stopover in Ottawa. This was our chance to visit an urban Chapters bookstore. I picked up Dan Rubinstein’s Born to Walk: the transformative power of a pedestrian act. The book contains a reference to a wonderful Ray Bradbury short story, The Pedestrian.

“The year is 2053. Leonard Mead loves to walk. Every night, he strolls alone along the buckling concrete sidewalks of an empty silent city, peering at houses who citizens are riveted to their viewing screens. Suddenly, he is stopped by the city’s lone police car. (There is no more crime, nobody goes outside).

“Business or Profession ?” A metallic voice asks.
“I guess you’d call me a writer.”
“No profession”, says the voice.
“What are you doing out ?”
“Walking” replies Mead.
“Walking !”
“Just walking.”
“Walking, just walking, walking ?”
“Yes Sir”.
“Walking where? For what?”
“Walking for air. Walking to see.”

Mead is told to get into the car. There is no driver. He is taken to the Psychiatric Centre for Research on Regressive Tendencies.

Rubinstein, page 193. Chapter 6. Creativity.

As part of our elder travel, we need to understand the appropriate combination of technology in North America and elsewhere. We also need to make sure that we engage in walking, and have ready access to a variety of printed matter (books).

At the end of our third week up North, I am coming to the end of Sheila Watt-Cloutier’s book, The Right to be Cold. Recently, I became aware of a new blog site — northbooks

Acknowledgements
Heather Stewart, my travel companion, and Edward Wedler, my technology support person down South.

References
Whit Fraser. 2018. True North Rising. Burnstown Publishing House.
Dan Rubinstein. 2015.  Born to Walk. ECW Press.
Christl Verduyn (Ed). Margaret Laurence: an appreciation.
Sheila Watt-Cloutier. 2015. The Right to be Cold. Penguin Books.