RD Pot Luck September 2017

Mother would be in jail

    I am sitting at my computer waiting for someone to Facebook me and tell me what to do next. 
    Or maybe someone I never heard tell of will email me to ask that I add them to my LinkedIn “family,” which does not exist. That is because after signing up to join the exalted ranks of the LinkedIn I decided I live on the wrong side of the tracks and have managed to hide the fact thus far in life and why screw things up now? What they don’t know can’t hurt me.
    But this has not been a fruitless week, and speaking of which – fruits, not weeks – I picked up a tomato at the grocery store and looking at it realized what is most appealing about produce from the farm market. There are none of those damnable stickers on every banana, tomato, and anything else that might – heaven forbid – carry a germ.
    Sometimes we even find a muffin or crescent that has not been wadded in plastic film. The less fresh-baked goods are mauled, the better. 
    Fearmongers and their insurance broker henchmen are going to take over the world. Mother, were she alive today and trying to raise children as she raised us in the ’50s, would be in jail. No food stickers in those heady days. Hitchhikers going no great distance could ride on the running board. Come a good snow, she’d let us rope our sleds to the back bumper of the car for a ride to the village.
    At times it was a wild ride with mother, the best of times and the sometimes not-so-great. Such is life. She never shied from adventure – nor from delivering corporal punishment for her children’s transgressions. Oddly, I have no recollection what brought on switching, or an over-the-knee spanking with a hairbrush or wooden spoon – likely all deserved.
    No question bad language brought on having the mouth washed out with soap. “Wash,” however, fails to describe having one’s jaws forced open to make room for a large bar of green laundry soap that, scrubbed back and forth, assured molars were well encrusted with the gaggish fat-and-lye concoction. Although in this case memory links crime and punishment, the lesson did not stick as fast as the soap. I’d benefit today from the occasional scrub.
    Why share these memories? Because too often people think life should be lived atop “candy mountain” where, as the song says, “the bull dogs all have rubber teeth,” and so on. No stress, no trauma, no down-in-the-dumps time. A “Dick and Jane” existence. “See Spot. See Spot run.”
    “Oh look. Here comes a car.” (I made this last part up myself.)
    As father noted late in his own life and long after mother had found lasting peace, “Your mother was never boring.”  Growing up with a boring mother? He was right. That would have been truly traumatizing.

    As our morning radio host coos over another fine day for golf or an afternoon at the beach, farmers wonder about a repeat of last summer’s wet-to-drought summer. Fires out west, too. Fortunately, knock on a stump, the Atlantic region has thus far been spared the like of wild fires charring swaths of British Columbia. 
    Unfortunately, we have in Nova Scotia a Department of Natural Resources that might more appropriately be dubbed the Department of Natural Destruction, for the way it allows forests to be turned into wastelands. There is less biomass left in the wake of clearcuts – which account for more than 80 percent of harvests – than after a wild fire. 
    Port Joli, our nearest neighbouring community, is the centre of one of Nova Scotia’s Important Bird Areas as identified by Bird Studies Canada. No matter. In a shameful display of disregard, clearcutting was allowed over many hectares of Crown forest this spring at the height of the nesting season.
    We do have a lot of protected lands in this immediate area, what with the presence of Kejimkujik Seaside and Thomas Raddall parks, and Nature Conservancy and Department of Environment lands. Some object to what are seen only as restrictions on free access – limitations on the use, and abuse, of these lands. Others, so far prevailing, see a glass half full of opportunities for wildlife and natural spaces under threat of extinction.
    Meanwhile, on the ocean side, the Department of Fisheries and Oceans sees a choice location for a coastal marine protected area. It would be like a national park, only with some harvesting of resources such as lobsters. By and large, inshore fishermen, who more and more rely on lobsters as their one remaining fishery, are not thrilled by the prospect.
    In the interest of finding common ground, the not-for-profit Harrison Lewis Centre (where I’ve been serving as volunteer executive director) has stuck its nose in the middle, investigating both DFO’s plans and community values. Some people with more than passing knowledge of these things recommend that fishermen get busy designing a marine protected area they can live with and negotiate, rather than wait for government to impose its will. 
    These same people are pretty well convinced that government will impose its will, because Ottawa, in 2010, “agreed to marine conservation targets established under the United Nations Convention on Biological Diversity to conserve 10 percent of coastal and marine areas ... by 2020.” (Fisheries and Oceans Canada, on the web.)
      A personal opinion is that we should be masters in our own house, taking far more responsibility planning how lands and waters in our own neighbourhoods are used. If DFO has its sights on this or any stretch of coast, it makes a lot more sense for residents, commercial fishermen in particular, to look for ways to work in concert with the powers-that-be than to believe crossed arms in opposition will carry the day.
    Time to water the garden. Take care, DvL