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A thank you; and thoughts on our most recent winter storm
With wind chills dipping down to -34 and beyond, we wanted to keep the wood stove well stoked last week.
First of all, thank you.
I was overwhelmed with the love, kindness and compassion everyone directed my way following the last post. I’m still catching up on replying to many of you, and it’s going to take a few days, but I will get back to each and every one of you.
It was wonderful to hear from so many of you; please, let’s not leave it as long next time. Thank you everyone for asking after me, for sharing your own experiences, for just catching up.
I'm so grateful for all of you in my life. The latter is rich beyond measure.
Since my first treatment around two weeks ago for what to me is a new kind of chemo, I’m finding I’ve found that I am experiencing the most relief I’ve had in seven months since first diagnosed. It’s tremendous. I’ve regained much of my mobility in my left arm (I was actually beginning to experience problems dressing myself; shirts and jackets were extremely difficult to put on), have minimal pain now, sleep at night, and am mentally sharp (okay, hold the jokes on the latter, please). I have a lot of hope at this point.
Okay, but enough but me. How about that last blast of winter? How did everyone make out? It was like minimal cold, snow all season, and then - suddenly - winter decides it’s going to do it’s best Emeril Lagasse imiation: BAM!
Bam! Say it again. Bam!
Seriously, thinking of BAM! How about that Nova Scotia Power 14 percent rate hike over two years coinciding with the storm, and the fact that the utility still wasn’t able to keep the lights on yet again for thousands of provincial customers.
Didn’t that feel like a big punch in the old kisser?
Off-grid begins to look like a more feasible option all the time. Just look at the growth in the Facebook group I help moderate: Off-grid Nova Scotia. In a couple of years it’s gone from 900 members to over 7,000 members.
Snow. Not much. But at -34 with the windchill it was plenty cold.
That’s not even taking into account other groups like Solar Nova Scotia, and so on.
Beyond that, it’s eerie to feel today what is almost like March weather after our two-day winter.
That leads me to my current reading: I recently bought a massive volume by the historian Douglas Brinkley, titled Silent Spring Revolution. The book traces what he describes as the long tale of the 1960s - 1960 to '73 - and is subtitled John F. Kennedy, Rachel Carson, Lyndon Johnson, Richard Nixon, and the Great Environmental Awakening. Brinkley positions that revolution within the context of today's changing climate (I only had to look out the window as I write to see one of the examples of increased, severe storms from climate change, and now its strange aftermath) and asks who are today's champions, and how will they change policy to save the world?
Certainly, my wife and I are fortunate. I think of the some 40,000 people who at the peak of the storm were without power because of N.S. Power: and the latter’s permission to increase its rates by 14 percent over the next two years adding to the already considerable energy poverty existing for some. Add that rate increase to inflationary food prices and interest rate spikes, and suddenly things are unaffordable for a lot of folks.
In terms of living off-grid, it doesn't mean we're able to insulate ourselves from the weather. Having to take various dogs out for their business, gather more wood for the heating stove, and feed the horses at noon, I've already spent a good hour-and-a-half outside. But it's by my choice, and this child of the west finds the Arctic air invigorating as well. So I’m not complaining at all; I like it. But for many others who live a more conventional lifestyle the changing weather can cause real hardship.
What am I reading: Lesley Choyce’s Republic of Nothing. First of all, it’s a hilarious novel about an iconoclast who decides to form his own nation on a Nova Scotia island. Why this didn’t win a Stephen Leacock award is beyond me. Also beyond me is how I’ve managed not to previously read Choyce’s work since’s he’s written over 100 books. Obviously, with that number, some are going to be hit and miss. Republic of Nothing is a laugh-out-loud hit.
What I’m listening to: Mike Stevens and Matt Andersen’s rootsy, blues, folk recording, The Banff Sessions. Damn. Lots to savour here. Stevens’ virtuoso harmonica playing is matched with Andersen’s deep guitar work. The music ranges from the joyful to the soulful.
Finally, I have a favour to ask.
This past post put me up to 486 free subscribers. I’d love to break the 500 subscriber mark, so if you can share the heck out of this, the last, or any other previous posts, and recommend the newsletter, I’d appreciate it.
Thanks again for everything, everyone. Now that I’m feeling much better than I have in previous months, more content will be on the way. Much love to everyone.