How to be tired and still awake

November 16, 2023   ·   0 Comments

By Constance Scrafield

It probably happens to everyone at some point in our lives that our beds beckon to us as the only place on earth we want to be. Those cool or cozy sheets smiling at us from across the mattress, those fluffed pillows ready for a sleepy head to come and rest, where the world and our place in it is exhausting. Sometimes, the debts the world invents for us need to be put aside, left to swim in our subconscious; some truths and many fictions need to be ignored. Rich or poor, that wall of fog that is fatigue makes those sheets and pillows appear to be our best friends, the ones that know us best.

There is no denying that the 10 days of participation in the Royal Agricultural Winter Fair is a hard toll for everyone, as vendors, guardians to the many, many animals that are brought to the Royal, the organizers, tech people, clean up, maintenance – the whole huge village that exists for those ten days. One meets others, and friendships can blossom, or the connection was in the moment but still valued for all that. Certainly, one always takes home lessons, for better or worse. Here are some of the lessons I learned and the reflections they encouraged.

The stars of the show as far as the attendees who came were the beautiful children, so many of them, the boys defining their tiny person independence in good boots and sturdy pants and shirts. They dashed in all directions, their parents calling the boys to come back, but they wanted to see that over there. Younger ones rode triumphantly on Daddy’s shoulders, princes of all they surveyed.

The little girls were wondrous, their hair dancing, shining in the lights. They were so happy to be in the Royal’s collection of shops and distributors of so many sugary treats. They were excited to watch the lunatic rush of the “Smart Dogs” and to visit the llamas, well, and so many creatures they had maybe never seen before.

Naturally, I wondered at a world’s contradictions, peopled with such beautiful children whose parents clearly adore them, that those parents would go along with Canada’s approach to the global climate crisis. Say what you like about Justin Trudeau, but he has proposed one policy after another to steer Canada’s environmental policies in the right direction right from the start of his administration. Yet, he has had to contend with unending, unyielding pushback from, in particular, the oil industry. There was a whole recent ridiculous citing of the Constitution over carbon taxes, for example. Immediately following the withdrawal of the carbon tax in Alberta came the news that Canada cannot reach its emission goals for 2030.

We were selling sterling silver Celtic jewellery at the Royal. Children loved to spend a short time with us to look at our pretty things and sometimes stop long enough to hear some of our stories about the Celtic culture. A very smart crowd, students of a Montessori school, all in school uniforms, came into the stand with their teacher. A couple of them wanted to buy the magnets we have with Celtic designs on them. One of them, a self-assured young man in his jacket and tie, had his own budget and under the watchful eye of the teacher, purchased two magnets at a cost of $2 each. The teacher whisked her troop away, but I was pleased to meet them. 

We know this once-perfect planet is in trouble. There is no reasonable argument to say this depletion and harm are not due to human activity. The depletion and harm are due to human activity. The baffling and truly villainous lies the oil industry promotes about how we must continue to be powered by oil and gas because the alternatives are not nearly ready to carry the planet’s demands only gives rise to the question: why are the billions being spent on the development and expansion of oil and gas development and extraction- why are those misguided fortunes not being redirected to boosting and developing alternative energy?

I mean it, really. Do oil magnets not have beautiful children with bouncing hair and a tenancy for baby independence in their lives? The chiefs in the oil and gas industry have known for many decades their products are ruinous for the environment. They knew full well, but there was so much money in it. Now, how could they admit this knowledge and do the right thing? Such an embarrassment for such an admission and conversion, impossible to weather and because of those trifling emotions and petty fears, they are determined to push on. They will troll the last sanctity on earth, its ocean depths, and reap disaster there, too.

So many lovely, delightful children came to the Royal. They were the highlight of my every day, but on some level, I wept for them, for in our complacency about the environment or our fevered protests rescuing land from harm, we are nevertheless too quiet about the radical measures that must be taken immediately.

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