This past Sunday afternoon I had one of those Yukon moments where I realized, yet again, the truth of the saying about how there are only six degrees of separation between people – regardless of where they live.
A woman at a local hardware store started to talk with me about the disaster at Lac-Megantic in Quebec. I had only seen brief glimpses on the news: the full horror that has played out this week had just begun.
As we talked, she told me that a young woman she knew had gone to Lac-Megantic to work and that, of course, her thoughts were with her. And, we talked about how difficult it is, and will be, for friends and family near and far as they watch and wait to find out whether their loved ones number in the grim death toll. In the mix of fear and anxiety, perhaps anger, there is also compassion.
Yukoners, despite our physical distance have – perhaps because of our awareness of the importance of community when tragedy strikes – responded with deep caring. I recall being struck by the display in the Vuntut Gwitchin First Nation office that commemorates the $432.30 contribution the Old Crow Indian people made in 1941 to help the children orphaned by the bombing raids in Britain.
Distance does not dull our compassion.
Liz Hanson Leader