Thursday, May 28, 2009

yes, we can

Every work morning I get a ride into the village with my neighbour and her two teenage sons. Sometimes her twenty-something daughter comes in too and then it's a squished ride, with three tall people in the backseat. I usually put my things in the trunk, having learned after a week or so that riding with all my things piled on top of my lap isn't very comfortable.

We drive into town along the Bay road, which runs alongside part of the Bras D'Or lake. It's always beautiful. Sometimes it's a cloudy day, and sometimes it is sunny and the white clouds are like moving paintings in the sky, all shadow and texture. I enjoy my rides with this family, as we talk idly about different things going on in our lives, all of us slowly waking up for the day.

(The above photo shows the view, except that this photo was taken in the evening in November, so it's not exactly representational. But it's close enough.)

Then, they drop me off at the library, where I'm about a half hour early for work. I let myself in, and check my emails. I read a few blogs that I'm into these days. Then I go up the street to Bean There cafe and get a hot drink of some kind. Some mornings it is a decaf latte, other mornings it is a peppermint herb tea. There are usually some people there that I know, sitting at tables and chatting, reading the paper or eating bagel breakfasts. I nod to them and exchange a few words, all nice ones.

I return to the library, and my supervisor and friend Kate has come in by then. We chat a bit and get to work on our individual computers. The computer I work on is next to a big window, and I can look out onto the main street, or out over the same lake we drove beside that morning. Sometimes the fog is so thick I can only see the wharf, no water. Other times the view is clear to the other side.

Kate and I often talk about community issues and how to get things changing. We both agree that strengthening your local area is the best way to prepare for any sort of crisis, be it a global recession, a flu pandemic, or the fall-out from peak oil, not to mention smaller difficulties facing people today, and we often get each other riled up because we rant about the frustrations that face any local organizer: political bureaucracy, citizens afraid to change their ways, plain old bad timing.

For the most part, though, we're positive, knowing that like water slowly working away at the shore, in time and with steady persistence, changes do come. The hallway of the library, which used to be a dull brown, is now a bright yellow and blue, thanks to Kate's efforts. It also boasts a chalkboard and a magnetic poetry board that together fill up a whole wall. This hallway invites young and old to come further into this fun place, and to leave their mark on the way in. And you know what? They do, in droves. Each day when I come in to work there are new messages and drawings on the chalkboard, new poems on the magnetic board.

Last post I talked about the "Hey, it's OK..." list that gave us all the permission to say, "hey, it's OK to be who I am, say NO to things, to have these quirks that I have," but this week I want to say YES. As in, "yes, we can." Yes, we can do small things that make a larger impact than we would have thought. Yes, we can take on new things that frighten us at first but turn out to be amazing. And yes, we can live beside this beautiful lake and work to make meaningful change in our community.

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