The colours of spring abound. Our blue Arctic lupines and the showy Jacob’s ladder’s share this time with the bright yellow flush of horned dandelions and others of their kin. The small ground hugging wild strawberry plants show of white flowers this year promises an abundance of their tiny fruit by the end of the month. And of course the glory and fragrance of the Maytree right now cannot be denied.
The brief rapid rush of spring into our Yukon summer quickens the heart and soul. The last vestiges of winter ice on the gravel bars of the Yukon River and the snows accentuating the folds and hollows of surrounding mountains certainly remind us of where we are but the glories of June in the Yukon will not be suppressed.
The rhythms of the seasons each have their own cadence and melody. This time of our year drives the brief refrain of melancholia caused by the late snows two weeks ago far back into our collective memory. The song sung now definitely has an up tempo lilt to it though not yet at the frenetic beat summer will induce in a few weeks as an accompaniment to the midnight sun.
No matter, though, how much we try to turn up the seasonal volume with our increased outdoor activity, the world will not be shut our. The smell of smoke in the Whitehorse valley these last few days and the deep bass of water bomber engines overhead sound the all too harsh note that this is also wild fire season. We can not filter out either the global reality which the media exposes us to continually. The persistent din of bloody demonstrations in Syria or an e-coli outbreak in Europe will not be silenced however loud we try to chant, “Go, Canucks, go!”
The world pulls out our ear plugs no matter how hard we try to ignore its urgent pleadings and enjoy our time in the sun. My son Liam Skyped from Puno, Peru, earlier this week. Sitting at nearly 3,900 metres this southern Peruvian town on the shore of Lake Titicaca saw rioting last week. It caused the Bolivian border to be closed, stranding some tourists and deterring others from visiting this tourist-dependent town.
Protesters torched the government customs building and several cars. The rampage by some targeted other government buildings as well while thousands of others blockaded rail and road access into this city of over a 100,000. Liam told me that the protests have been suspended temporarily in the lead up to Peruvian presidential run-off elections on Sunday.
Most of the demonstrators have come from the Aymara communities surrounding Puno. The source of their grievances has been laid at the foot of a government decision to award a silver mining concession to the Vancouver-based Bear Creek Mining Corporation with little consultation. Indigenous opponents believe the proposed mine will pollute water flowing into Lake Titicaca leaving only environmental liabilities and little benefit for local peoples. Does their concern sound familiar?
A spring-like attitude should permeate our thinking at least once a year. The need to periodically examine our own winter-worn habits and perspectives is as necessary as spring cleaning. Maybe with the renewed energy and optimism natural to this season we can spend a little time contemplating what we really need to do to make poverty history or in the spirit of World Environment Day think about what should be done to reverse global warming. Time is a wasting, let’s get at it.
Michael Dougherty is co-chair of the social justice committee of Sacred Heart Cathedral of Whitehorse. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org.