In the Biblical Book of the Acts of the Apostles the narrator begins:
In my former book, Theophilus, I wrote about all that Jesus began to do and to teach until the day he was taken up to heaven . . .
Well I cannot pretend to produce such a significant piece of history or theology in my own writing, but I can say that in my first blog titled On the street where I live I shared my canine impressions of Arrowstone Drive where I live most of the time in Kamloops, BC. I am now pleased to share my impressions of Balmoral Street in the Fernwood neighbourhood of Victoria where my humans and I are staying. And we may be here for some time yet as flooding and mudslides have made travel home impossible as I paw.
We had planned a short two-week get-out-of-town vacation so my mamma human could see her friends and my papa human could enjoy his photography coupled with dining out. Well, all hell has broken out in Southern BC due to massive flooding caused by the aftermath of summer heat domes, slope erosion beside highways and rail lines, severe flooding in the Abbotsford area of the lower mainland, much disruption to people, homes, livestock, business, economic activity, employment, and especially damage and deprivation for indigenous communities. A friend of my papa’s is a famous Indigenous Archbishop who writes:
People are stranded and cut off from food, [medication] and emergency services. This is a catastrophe for communities, including the folks from Lytton [British Columbia], that have suffered so much in the past year. Our Indigenous Anglican churches are severely threatened. People are terrified. Please pray.
While I am unsure about how prayer works, I will simply bark for Jesus (which is what my Papa says I often do). So much suffering, and for those who were so afflicted and affected during recent heat domes, wildfires, smoke, and the destruction of those places near and dear to them, those places they call home–their unceded ancestral territory.
Here in Fernwood I am not inconvenienced at all. I still get two wonderful walks a day at a local high school track and can access the amazing back yard where we are staying. As I peer out of my current window I see all sorts of trees, outbuildings, special projects–and one morning a live rat in a trap. I don’t know what happened to the rat eventually, but I am told that it was “dealt with.” Shivers! I also see birds who tweet and cats that taunt. Sometimes another dog trots down the street requiring response. Occasionally our hosts or a neighbour sneak into the yard (without permission I might add). Advance notice would reduce anxiety for all.
Elsewhere in the neighbourhood an old school is being seismically upgraded, to the tune of well over $80M dollars – that’s a lot of dog food. My papa’s parents attended that very school which displays the signs “boys’ entrance” and “girls’ entrance” on each side of the building. I wonder if they will cover those signs up in today’s non-binary gender world.
The streets here host so many beautiful old houses, many certainly over eighty years old in various states of repair or renovation. One house even looks burnt out; I am told it is the victim of a property dispute. Elsewhere in the community, plans are coming together for a new affordable housing project which will certainly change the community tone and look, hopefully in a good way.
Peppered throughout the tree-lined streets are many telephone poles with beautiful graffiti designs on them. My papa plans to photograph them somehow, as long as the rain holds off. If I were a male doodle, I would also add my own touch to them; not my interest as it turns out.
And back to the rain, and rain, strong wind, and more rain. Both my humans note this recent rain is like nothing they have ever seen; as both grew up on the island, their observation is significant. The cumulative effect of recent severe weather events in this, Canada’s westernmost province, in one of the wealthiest, beautiful and secure countries of the world causes my humans great concern. They both watched the recent climate conference in Scotland (I did not notice a single dog in the protest marches except of course my police colleagues) with a mixture of hopeful expectation and frustrated ambition. While persons such as Christiana Figures suggest that much was accomplished, and that the United Nations Framework is the only possible multilateral decision making organization, the results after twenty-six meetings seems miserably inadequate.
People’s lives, home, work, communities, land rights, food security, access to clean and safe water, all these and more are now beyond reach for so many British Colombians. All I can say is that I wish for all other creatures, and Creation itself the beauty, joy and security I enjoy.
Courage comes from the heart
and we are always welcomed by God,
the Croí of all being.
We bear witness to our faith,
knowing that we are called
to live lives of courage, love and reconciliation
in the ordinary and extraordinary moments
of each day.
We bear witness, too, to our failures
and our complicity in the fractures of our world.
May we be courageous today.
May we learn today.
May we love today. Amen.
From the Corrymeela Community