I once met a girl who could read palms. She didn’t know that she could read palms until she was backpacking through Thailand and an old woman in a rural village grabbed her and pulled her into a hut. The old woman told her she was marked, that she had the gift, and then, there in that hut in that tiny village, she taught this girl how to read palms (this gal was also a twin, which seems to be relevant for this sort of thing). The problem, this girl explained to me, was that she couldn’t do it right when she was sober. Her conscious mind got in the way too much and she overthought things or second guessed herself too much and froze up and didn’t know what to say. On my birthday she got drunk (and so did I) and she came over and read my palms.
Half-heartedly discussed, with several items totally rushed just so that I can can get this done, in this post: 4 books (Independent People, Hunger, The War of the End of the World, and Evolution in Four Dimensions); 1 movie (Angry Birds); and 2 documentaries (The House is Black, and D’Est).
In the morning before school, Ruby gets out of bed and comes looking for me. She climbs up into my lap and curls up into a ball and I wrap myself around her, stroke her hair back from her face, and cuddle her like a dad who knows that kids grow old and that they do not always fit in the laps of their parents and that this, too, will pass.
Just last week, I was trying to sneak in a few more pages of a book in the early hours of the morning when Ruby came tottering out of her bedroom with sleep in her eyes, searching for me. I put down the book, pulled her into my lap, and rocked her like a baby. “I love you, Ruby,” I said. She turned her face, looked me in the eyes and, in a perfectly matter of fact manner, said:
“Everybody is going to die.”
[Pardon the delayed posting, I was in Iceland. When I have forgotten enough of that experience to think I can speak of it, perhaps I will write something about it. Until then, there are reviews to be done.]
Discussed in this post: 5 books (Waiting for the Barbarians, The Will to Change, Dying From Improvement, My Struggle: Volume Five, and Child of Woe) and 2 documentaries (Requiem for the American Dream, and The Black Panthers: Vanguard of the Revolution).
Discussed in this post:
5 Books (The History of White People; Other Council Fires Were Here Before Ours; Ojibwe Giizhig Anang Masinaa’igan; Austerlitz; and Nostromo);
2 Movie (10 Cloverfield Lane and A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night);
3 Documentaries (Crumb; In the Realms of the Unreal; Salesmen).
I saw a picture of you today when you were a child. You had a gentle smile. You look shy and sweet and tender – like the kind of kid who wouldn’t say a word if he was abused. And you didn’t. None of us did. But for you abuse has just steadily been overshadowed by chronic pain, long-term illness, and dis-ease. Yet, for the most part, you still don’t say a word.
(I’ve been thinking how strange it is that I used to describe our childhood as “sheltered.” I think the term “deliberately isolated” might better capture what was going on. It wasn’t that our parents were trying to protect us from the evil out there in the world – it’s that our dad didn’t want others to know the evil we experienced at home.)
Part One: Dirty Water
As of January 1, 2016, there were 135 drinking water advisories in effect in First Nations communities (that is to say, on “Indian Reservations”), across Canada. This is excluding British Columbia, where another 26 drinking water advisories were in effect as of February 29, 2016. If you actually read through the advisories, you’ll notice that many have been in effect since the mid-1990s and have no sign of not being in effect any time soon. Altogether, over 109 communities are impacted. It’s hard to know the exact figures because many communities do not have a population listed but, based upon the information available, we can estimate that this impacts over 75,000 people. Over 75,000 Indigenous people living in conditions of poverty we tend to associate with some of the poorest nations in the two-thirds world — we are talking about people who lack buildings with heat or insulation (despite living near the arctic), who lack running water, and who cannot drink or bathe in the water that is available to them.