my wife Jude and I, dismayed and disgusted by
American politics, sold our home in California
and moved to Canada. We took our cue when
U.S. tanks crossed the Iraqi border. No sooner
had that happened, Rumsfeld and others, so
cocksure about WMD’s the day before, said that
they might have to poke about a bit to find them.
In 1966 I was a college dropout with a pregnant girlfriend. In what I still blame
on a spike in my testosterone level, I joined the U.S. Marine Corps. I spent six
months of my service in and off the coast of Vietnam. I helped sort out the dead
and wounded, an experience that resonates in my life to this day. That war, like
the Iraq war, was started by a president who misrepresented the truth. And it
grieves me to see a new generation become cannon fodder.
All we were seeking in Canada was a fresh start in a nation that chooses its wars
more prudently. We wanted Permanent Residency so we could sponsor Jude’s
two teenaged sons and my grandkids if the draft was reinstated and they didn’t
wish to take up arms. We wanted to do this off the grid on some acreage where
we could pursue self-reliance.
This blog is about what we’ve found: a life we couldn’t have imagined when we
left the states; a home bursting with friends and fulfillment, humour and hope;
a farm abuzz with the astonishing lessons of nature.
BLOG TITLE: of all the poetry I’ve read, the line that stays freshest in my mind is:
“Let now you soul in this substantial world some anchor strike.” That’s from “An
End to Travel” by Robert Louis Stevenson. Although Bob was referring to dying,
I take it as elegant advice to find where you belong and stay there. I don’t believe
in blooming where you’re planted. I’ve been in too many sterile to hostile soils
to adhere to that.
A few years after we moved in, I took the photo of the rainbow and the apple tree
in the middle of our property. I’m an agnostic. By no means did I interpret this
as a sign of celestial approval. But as random chance goes, it was impressive.
BLOG SUBTITLE: this is a rift on a line from Dante’s “Divine Comedy”: “Abandon
hope, all ye who enter here.” It was inscribed over the gates of Hell in his epic
poem. Some historians contend that it was also over an entrance to the infamous
Andersonville Prison in the Civil War. My version substitutes “hype” for “hope”.
I’m asking readers to shed what’s not important so we can discuss what is.