There were clues.
White sloughs turned blue. Geese returned, alighting on a slough as I drove south one morning. I scanned hills for crocuses and ditches for green. It was going to happen. It was so close.
Then it was gone again the next night: white by morning; last year’s grass was this year’s green; sloughs were gone too; temperatures were under -18 C.
We know about losing things. Farmer and I searched the new shop, old tool shed, tractors, trucks, basement and the house. Somewhere the big tape measure was laughing at us.
“Well, I never!” Farmer remarked, as he does whenever he loses something. We searched; then I put away hope of us taking that walk outside together to plan exact placement of my new Growdome.
What did I expect from that tape measure? This was a tiny interruption in the planning phase but I mourned the time spent searching and the loss of the object itself.
Things get lost. The world has been searching for a Malaysian plane that, by all accounts, it would appear someone wanted lost. How does that happen?
My son is reading a novel about a Jewish boy who finds himself inside the labyrinth of Second World War concentration camps, with Capos; death and brutality. Earlier in life I might have enjoyed discussing details, but now I smell loss.
Last night I told him: it’s just too painful for me to discuss this with you right now.
Is it spring, that plane, or the fact that thousands of gold miners in Chinese gold mines pour lethal cyanide directly on the ground while mining? In Saskatchewan, we do much the same with petro-chemicals, whether we’re farming or disposing of plastic waste on our farms by open burning.
So much loss is unconscious, habitual, taking-care-of-business, common place. We lack the big picture in which we are perpetrators.
Like others, I certainly don’t crave the painful consequences of ecological disasters we create. Similarly, I don’t want to reconsider flippant comments I’ve made, or how much hurt these have caused others during my lifetime. But God help the carpenter’s fingers if his pain doesn’t tell him his hammer missed the mark.
It’s not the violence or drama I need to discuss with my son; it’s the choices we have and how we decide to use our power.
The geese are all flocked up again, heading south. Who can blame them?