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Friday, July 30, 2010

Summer breeze

Back where I grew up (rural Ohio), on still summer days, you get this certain kind of breeze. It arrives by itself, usually sometime in the afternoon, out of the clear blue sky as it were, and does little more than shake a few leaves before leaving as quietly as it came. It's very easy to  miss. However, to people who live in the country, these breezes carry a lot of meaning - they often foreshadow big storms.

Does the same hold true for human storms?

A man from our community just stopped in a few minutes ago, on his rounds to collect signatures on a petition to stop Enbridge's proposed Northern Gateway project. He's not an activist - he's just a guy who's lived in this region for decades and he's concerned. We've only got a few hundred people of voting age on this island, but his petition was filling up quickly. He just stopped in, chatted for a moment - everyone knows each other here - got some signatures, and left. Just breezing through.

A few weeks ago, another local guy sought me out to tell me how he believes the public protest against the Northern Gateway project, and specifically the oil tanker traffic associated with it, will make the legendary Clayoquot Sound protests look small by comparison - he predicted flotillas of fishing boats forming massive blockades. He is also no activist - just a regular pickup-driving guy, concerned about a threat to the place that he loves.

So, on this otherwise still and calm day, maybe these scattered occurrences mean nothing. Maybe they're just random gusts of hot air, rattling a few leaves before disappearing forever. Or maybe not.

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