Wednesday, November 07, 2012

Of Sheep and Oil

 
Out here on the edge of the Atlantic I have a meat man who delivers fresh local meat. Seriously.

A man who takes pride in his produce. Today he had fresh local lamb. Mein Gott! I find that frozen New Zealand lamb in the freezer section of the grocery store abhorrent. And this in a province that has sheep and lambs wandering all over our barrens.  Of course the fairly recent introduction of coyotes here (what do they do, build themselves little rafts in Labrador and sail off for better pickings on our island?) has proven a huge threat to the sheep farmers. But still.

Something should be made of local lamb. And the fleece. A friend is a sheep farmer. More like a hobby as he loses money feeding the coyotes with his produce and subsidizes his sheep with his fishery income. He's getting older. None of his children have followed in his path. The salt is in his blood, he tells me. He could never do anything else. And wonders why his children don't feel the same. They're all out at the oil in Alberta. Raising their children, his grandchildren, out of sight, smell and sound of the sea.

He decided to visit what held them all there last year. A first out of province trip for him.  They took him to the tar sands.  He couldn't find the words for it as he tried to tell me. Words don't exist, he finally said.

It had to be the money, the big money they all made to keep them there locked up tightly with their children at the local schools and big sad houses in new subdivisions where he and his wife had their own suite with a Jacuzzi they were afraid to use. A daughter was a petroleum lawyer (new one on me), a son was an engineer, another a pipe fitter. Pipe fitters make more money than anyone else. And no, he didn't know where all these pipes were going, must be a government secret.

He felt he couldn't breathe most of the time. He felt a huge unbreachable distance between himself and his children even as he pretended to admire all the trappings of wealth they had accumulated.

And wondered where he had failed them.



22 comments:

  1. Me too, and what a statement about life's values. Those sheep in green fields by the sea vs that horrendous pollution and blackened land. Health vs death by money.

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  2. Me too.
    Many years ago
    when I lived in the realy big house with a number of cars in the driveway - was most unhappy.
    Now in a cottage at the edge of the woods - have the least and most contented.
    I have never tasted lamb :)

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  3. I suppose I am just as guilty since I use oil to heat my house and my old bones. We do not have piped gas and my house has only one fireplace. So what is the answer should I sit and shiver until hypothermia sets in?

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  4. Oh! What an ugly scene that is, WWW!

    They've put so much money and manpower into this, whereas they could've been putting it all into research to help find feasible alternatives, improving, polishing the technology already available for sun and wind and wave power and maybe also finding something even more miraculous, which I believe is there waiting to be discovered. But no....of course, the oil lobby wouldn't like THAT!

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  5. Maybe a perspective shift is in order for him? He's not required to pretend to admire their wealth - that's not being true to himself. But you also can't insist that your children follow in your footsteps or share your goals in life. I hear this story a lot from farmers I see - they don't understand why their kid won't, say, take over the dairy and instead wants to study music or engineering or medicine. Everyone has to discover his or her own path.

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  6. I can well understand his dismay and frustration. The filthy business of mining tar sands simply to support an increasing population who demand more and more goodies leaves a very nasty taste in my mouth.

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  7. CC:
    The sadness on him is enough to make my heart break.
    XO
    WWW

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  8. M:
    And we only see what the powers that be release to us. The destruction and disease out there is beyond human comprehension.
    XO
    WWW

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  9. GM:
    None have the answers until more investment is made into alternative technologies, like wind, solar and wave. This planet is on its dying breath.
    Our love affair with oil is killing us all.
    XO
    WWW

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  10. SAW:
    His distress is in how they are conducting their careers and lives in the filthiest industry they could have chosen. Alberta Tar Sands are the enormous abscess in Canada's hide.
    And for children to leave the pristine climate of NL and consciously choose this horror is beyond his comprehension (and mine).
    XO
    WWW

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  11. Nick:
    And the First Nations People's voices are unheard in spite of the birth defects and cancers and destruction of native lands, I could go on and on. We will never recover.
    XO
    WWW

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  12. I had gone to a rural and up the mountain part of our district last Sunday and caught up with an old friend who left the city that I live in now to go back to his ancestral farm house. He has gone back to farming and though his old farm house has been modernised, he has, for all practical purposes become a farmer. A great change from his city days as a Lawyer. He tells me that his children are now in the city but he does not want to visit them ever and refused my invitation to my home too. He too feels that the city life is making his grand children into a species that he is unable to understand.

    In this case, he has personally experienced both urban and rural living and has chosen the latter as being more satisfying,despite not having electricity for more than eight hours a day!

    I envy him.

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  13. Truly sad. And we are going to have to fight like hell to keep the tar sands oil pipes out of the U.S.

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  14. Ramana:
    I am more and more reluctant to visit large polluted cities too, I've had poor reactions to them lately - a severe allergy.
    Having said that I really loved the city when I was living there.
    But I honestly believe they are toxic.
    XO
    WWW

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  15. Hattie:
    And good luck with that, I think they've started laying them. if only we could invest in renewable resources as much as into fracking and pipes and tar sands.
    XO
    WWW

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  16. OWJ:
    Sorry I missed you earlier!! Yes, I've never been as happy as I am beside my beloved ocean!!
    XO
    WWW

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  17. Nothing is more unfortunate than to live with gold beneath your feet.

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  18. I'm not saying I agree with their choices, just that we don't really have control over their choices.

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  19. SAW:
    None of us do, I agree. But we can still be heartbroken.
    XO
    WWW

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