Trees in Winter
"Moral support cannot really be given in the sense of giving. It automatically comes to him who is qualified to take it. And such a one can take it in abundance." Mohandas K. Gandhi
Humans, as a rule, dislike things that are finite. Our actions are biased by a conviction that things are infinite. Time, energy, cheap and affordable good coffee and pretty much everything else end up being treated as inexhaustable. This, of course, despite our full and offputting knowledge that they are not.
At certain times that offputting knowledge gets the upper hand: dramatically when your time comes to move on from this world, less so when your desire to drive your car and your ability to pay for fuel take wildly divergent paths.
These days I feel the hot breath of finiteness breathing down my neck. It is because this is my least favourite season. This great hollow between New Years Day and the first days of anything really like spring is when I can drive from one side of our province to the other and see gatherings of heavy equipment crushing trees. There isn't, I can only guess, much else to do at this time of year.
I have watched this annual advance against flora for the last eighteen years. The view from my house, if you can call it that, is now expansive where before it was comfortably obscured by snow-catching, bird-cloaking stands of poplar and spruce. There is less to see in my view than there used to be.
At the same time, the chorus of voices proclaiming the dawn of Saskatchewan's dominance as a resource economy has reached a maddened state where new axioms about limitless skies and opportunities emerge every day.
So to moral support. I have always believed that the Saskatchewan I experience every day, my rural world, holds magnificent potential as a place for people as opposed to super-sized industry. This is considered naive, backward, luddite, and given enough time, I suspect it will be unpatriotic.
Fortunately I am not alone. People are always crossing my path who are claiming pieces of unplundered soil to grow fruit, raise animals, experiment with the arts that sustain us and, in contravention of all forecasters, raise families.
It is from them that I gain moral support to keep acting as if our finite province stands a chance of remaining habitable and charitable to its living occupants. My job is to remain qualified—in other words reject the tendency to become cynical—to take it.