I grew up with dogs and have had many fur friends in my life including cats, the splendid looking muzzle you see in this image is Bruce the golden doodle I walk with and borrow on occasion especially when I’m feeling low, he is a walking love bundle.
Born in a small town south of London one week after the armistice of 1945, I spent my first 21 years in England, was educated in the British school system and emigrated to Canada in search of adventure.
I landed in the Port of Montreal, Quebec from the Cunard Line Carmania in October 1966. My first home was Toronto, Ontario. The adventure really began when I moved North to the Yukon in 1971 discovering a Canada that met my hopes for a dramatically different experience of life. I spent one year each in Alberta and the Northwest Territories then back to Ottawa before finally migrating to British Columbia. I travelled across the country twice, visited all ten provinces, two territories and what is now Nunavut, and earned an income working in advertising, tourism, gambling, municipal government, and international development.
I became interested in community building, organic farming, alternative healing, mysticism, earth based pagan practices, labyrinths, ritual and ceremony,
I recently undertook a big life change project and had a 280 square foot tiny home on wheels custom built in which I’m now living, after many many levels of downsizing. Thoughts around time of life and responsibility for my consumption led me to this decision to live small, and leave the planet as clean in every way as I can. I strive to live by a set of values developed in the years of watching climate change, environmental degradation and social upheaval. I no longer travel by air, my last trip to Mexico in winter 2019 illustrated for me just how incongruent with my value system it was to be jetting around. I minimize my use of fossil fuels, purchase previously used clothing and household goods, buy local, listen, learn and stay open to change.
In 2000 I became a shareholder in an organic farm in the Fraser Valley and began to understand how important it is to support local farmers, share the risk load they face in growing organic food as well as just how delicious fresh clean food tastes. Preparing and sharing good food is one of my love languages. My home is within easy distance of many farm stands where in summer I can shop for organic produce picked that day, organically grown flowers, pasture raised lamb, chicken, organic eggs gathered that morning, berries, apples and much more.
My father taught me to swim in the ocean when I was five, setting a pattern for life. There are five beautiful clean clear lakes with no motor boats allowed, and many beaches with ocean access for swimming on the island I now make my home.
All these are the stories of my privilege.
The original inhabitants of the land I live on are the Tsawout nation members of the Quw’utsun tribe, Hul’q’umin’um people. Nearby is the village site of Xwaaqw'um named as the place of the Merganser duck Xwaaqw'.
As a settler I am navigating my own decolonizing process through the research that grounds my art and my writing. Forty-eight years ago when I lived in Dawson City, Yukon, Chief Elijah Smith published the first Yukon Land claim document ‘Together Today For Our Children Tomorrow’. This began my gradual, long, slow education in the largely unacknowledged side of Canada’s history. After fifty-five years in this country I am one of many who in 2021, six years after the report of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission reported on Canada’s genocide of indigenous people, is grappling with the shocking truth of the role of the church and state as the discovery of the unmarked graves of hundreds, possibly thousands of indigenous children taken from their families into residential schools.
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