Back to the Land

Mirare, a sculpture by Cheryl Hamilton and Michael Vandermeer, was first placed in Deep Cove, but after outrage by people there was moved across town to Princess Park

Two events are convincing me that leaving North Vancouver for France is our best choice.  The first, part of the research for a newspaper article, is that the District of North Vancouver’s funding for public art is a meagre 57¢ per capita.  The neighbouring City of North Vancouver spends nearly five times as much – $2.40 for each resident.

The second sign that Canada is a place to leave is the election in Ontario of right-wing nutcase Doug Ford. (Brother of the late, crack smoking Rob Ford.)  If Canada continues to elect Trump clones it’s a place that I want nothing to do with.

All of this madness and outrage leads me to think that it’s time to take a step back from the wild and crazy social media driven, all electronic lifestyle for something simpler and more satisfying.

Already we’re abandoning a lot of on-line content for actual, physical books, and printed newspapers.  I’m reminded yet again that a Sunday New York Times is a much more engrossing and wide ranging way of becoming informed than any Facebook or Google algorithm will ever deliver.  Somehow having that big page of newsprint encourages you to read entire long articles, and turning the pages leads you to topics and ideas that never would have grabbed me on-line.  A strong lede will always beat click-bait.

Perhaps because the quality of food shopping is so low around here, and because living in a strata means you can’t grow carrots, I’m looking forward to doing some small scale gardening.  Vegetables, maybe some fruit trees… who knows.  Maybe we’ll grow wheat and make our own bread.  Chickens for eggs for sure, and who knows what else. A cow?  Fresh milk? A goat? Cheese?

Eturntablenough of MP3s. I want CDs at least, and preferably honest to god vinyl.   Just last month I hauled the stereo downstairs and started working through the big box of CDs.  Listening to an entire album, as the artist intended it, really is a lot more enjoyable and (here’s that word again) satisfying.   Now I find that I’m really craving the sound and feel of good old fashioned record albums. (And not just because I wasted a half hour on the Third Man Records web site.  Jack White not only sells records, he built an actual record pressing plant! On the Cass Corridor in Detroit!)

I would love to make live music, galleries, and movies part of our lives again – things that are always in short supply in the suburbs, especially in Canada where almost all governments consider art and culture to be silly frills that really don’t deserve funding.  And I would love to have the time to really stretch out with friends and visitors and just enjoy reconnecting and rediscovering each other without feeling the need to rush off back to work or to prep for the next morning’s grind.  One of my fondest memories of Kentucky were the afternoons and evenings spent doing nothing except, as my mother puts it),”visiting.”

Ultimately what all of this is telling me is that I want to take back all of the hours spent on the Internet and spend them doing real things, in real time, with real people.  I want to sit in front of a fire with a glass of vin ordinaire and a good book.  I want to slow down enough to actually enjoy the world around me, go for long walks, and have enough time to do all of those little things – cleaning the car, making small household repairs, tidying the yard and garage – that tend to get lost in the great rush of life.

It’s very important to understand that living in a place like North Vancouver is a lot harder than living in other places.  Just worrying about the amount of income needed for housing can become all consuming, and one of the hard truths about living in Canada is that a lot of everyday tasks seem to be much more difficult than should be the case.

So, as the song says:

Green Acres is the place to be.
Farm livin’ is the life for me.
Land spreadin’ out so far and wide
Keep Manhattan North Vancouver, just give me that countryside.