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Voices ᐋ ᐄᔮᔨᐧᒫᓂᐧᐃᒡ

Shelving the rare items

BY Sonny Orr Aug 25, 2020

Lately, the resurgences of the old urges – travelling, shopping, getting away – are starting to claw at our need to escape. In many communities, people have snuck off to the land and many are rediscovering the urge to get away. Urges like picking berries for one. Berry picking is therapy for me, as each handful gets me closer to that jam, or pancake, or my mouth. The sheer size of this year’s bounty seems to be pointing at the need to fatten up for a long cold winter.

The weather these days isn’t the same as the last few decades, because the planet has had some reprieve from the pollution that was killing it. Thus, converting quickly back to the good old cold days before climate change due to our ceaseless pumping of greenhouse gases into the atmosphere. If I were an earth scientist, I would be happy about that.

But for many people around the world, this type of escape just isn’t in their agenda, simply due to not being able to survive an economic shakedown. I wonder when the financial gods shake the trees with its golden apples, will there be any bounty to harvest? Maybe, just like the berries, money is plentiful and easier to make and it’s just fattening us up for a long economic drought. Maybe I’m right or wrong, but it’s just a gut feeling.

If you haven’t noticed, a lot of imported goods aren’t available, like the special coconut water that I so relish. Nope, just domestically grown products, which are very good, I must proudly add. Do coconuts grow in Canada? No? So, we go back to the land, which is chock-full of nutritious goodies, already ripening for our harvest.

One family has done just that, returned to the land for what seems to be an epic but comfortable lifestyle, waiting for the world to heal, perhaps waiting for an inoculation of some sort to rid us of the Covid-19 scourge. I’m hoping that one day it will all go away, just as quickly as it appeared, so we can go back to all the urges we had in the recent past.

I know that many people are enjoying this familial closeness and dealing with isolation and time lost but still savoured. I don’t know about others, but it seems like spring and summer were rather enjoyable and now that we are back at our place of employment, even work seems enjoyable. It’s the mask thing – Is it on or off? Where did I put it down? – and all that other stuff we must endure in public places.

But when on the land, where no one is in contact with you except mosquitoes and blackflies, life is back to normal. That’s where we all carry out our urges to escape and live the life that we strove hard to maintain in this modern world. But for me, I still have an urge for a large hamburger with a side order of skinny fries and a watered-down coke, or an espresso that kicks you back onto your feet at any hour of the day, or the gritty fresh bagel, and the all-you-can-eat buffets. Maybe a movie or two and some gambling to end an evening with some luck.

Naw, those urges are slowly fading. Time to shelve those cravings forever it seems – I’ll be better off in the long run. Who needs high cholesterol salted meat slices slathered in artificial flavouring anyways?

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Sonny Orr is Cree from Chisasibi, and has been a columnist for the Nation for over 20 years. He regularly pens Rez Notes from the cozy social club in Whapmagoostui where he resides.