kevorkian seals and raccoons

Dear Uma: Oh, thank you for the great piece on robotic warfare as it is now being practised by your dystopian Benighted States as the whole country circles the drain.

Dear Uma:

Oh, thank you for the great piece on robotic warfare as it is now being practised by your dystopian Benighted States as the whole country circles the drain. Along with all the other technological marvels being developed almost daily, robotic warfare puts us closer to what Rudolph Steiner, 100 years ago, referred to as ‘ahriman’, AKA the prince of darkness.


He said we were headed for denial of the soul and spirit in favour of scientific materialism and the dominance of humans by machines. I think we could be said to be almost there and I’ll bet Rudy never once considered how placidly we would accept being dominated by machines; already a life without them would be unthinkable, and wretchedly uncomfortable.

Then, the Atlantic Monthly presents an article on the ‘global elite’; the people who are in charge of all the new goodies. According to this story, this is a group of very clever, very rich people who represent in some way or another most of the countries of the world. They all know each other; they do business and socialize together all over the planet, frequenting their common places of interest and they are not much concerned with the rest of us, or the impact of their businesses on our lives.

It is nigh impossible to take it all too seriously so long as I live in this small town, embracing hopelessness and being wholly present. No robots wage war here, and there are no members of the global elite in the Yukon, let alone in Watson Lake. What we do have on offer is enough to keep me as absorbed as I need to be.

I have told you about some of my fellow residents but I haven’t told you about the family of wolf people because I’ve only recently discovered them. There are six, I think, though there could be more in the pack; it’s hard to tell because they move in and around one another with the same unseeing smoothness as a flock of birds. Never have I seen children, and parents, with a more feral appearance; I imagine the father hauling a bloody haunch into the den and the silent gathering for a feed. I see them being licked clean for school, and at night, the whole pack sleeping in a heap.

Needless to say, I am fascinated; I look for them at the post office, and in the grocery store, and when I manage a sighting I put on sunglasses so that I may stare unobserved. They are not dirty, or unattractive; they simply have the look of creatures living a wild life, a life outside the understanding of the rest of us. I have even made some attempts to engage them in conversation but none of the children, and neither of the parents, seems to have any gift for, or interest in, social intercourse. When approached, they will stand politely with heads slightly bent to avoid eye contact, and after a short period of listening and making no response, they move off with their distinctive lope. None of them look back. They are accompanied by a dog as slender and quick moving as they are. It is the kind of dog that always looks as though it is trying to tell them something urgent, like “Timmy’s in the well! Come quick!” He circles the group, noiseless, but with his whole body messaging like crazy. Naturally, he is without a collar or leash.

I am devoured with curiosity: where did they come from and what is their story? Why don’t they need the accouterments of winter clothing? They go about their business mittenless and hatless, with coats unbuttoned even in the coldest weather.

And speaking winter clothing, Sky sent me some. She was in New York, she tells me, and came across this set of mittens and a hat that made her instantly think of me. What exactly does she think of me? I wonder as I unpack about eight feet of what looks like a lime green feather boa and some bright yellow leather gloves. Does she think I am a northern stripper? Or did you tell her about Bundolo? It seems she was in the Big Apple on business; she’s doing something in the world of fashion. There were no more details: what do you know of your mother’s latest venture?

I quite like the world of fashion insofar as I enjoy reading about it and looking at pictures. Nothing I see on the pages of fashion magazines is made with me or you in mind. This must be clothing for the global elite to put in their Vuitton suitcases as they ride their private jets from place to dazzling place. These ‘pieces’ are not made with technology; they are painstakingly hand- stitched and embellished by folks who wear clothing made by the dominating machines in China.

It is for me a great source of amusement when someone is quoted saying something that reveals they actually believe fashion is important. Stella McCartney has designed some sportswear because she wants to “redefine and challenge traditional sports silhouettes”. Such a lofty goal! Being raised with Paul McCartney’s music could be the explanation for Stella’s profundity, her dedication, and her vision.

My mother also sent me winter clothing; she sent me a fur coat and before you gasp with horror you should know it is not new; it is a secondhand fur coat which means all the bad karma has been discharged onto the person who bought it in the first place, which would be my mother.

It is made of raccoon fur and looks to be a sort of “roaring 20s” style. It is incredibly heavy, being full length, and incredibly warm; none of my synthetic stuff is anywhere near as cosy as this garment of dead animals.

The Yukon does not have raccoons and I wonder what the indigenous animals might be thinking of this interloper. The chattering squirrels fall silent when I go by; do they think the coat is the actual size of the animal? Do they wonder what it ate? Are more of them moving here, into the ‘hood? The large dog down the street, the one who is always loose, has become very respectful since I began wearing the fur coat. He no longer comes to the end of his driveway to stare at me and growl as I pass; he now stays on the deck of the house where he lives, and makes no sound.

There is a downside to the wearing of this luxurious coat, and no, it is not the possibility that some greenie PETA person will throw paint or tomatoes at me. Here the wearing of fur is completely acceptable, though I have noticed there are some who offer a feel-good story around items made from fur.

Pete bought a pair of sealskin boots from Rita at Shoes R Us in Whitehorse and was told by the irrepressible Rita herself, in deep earnestness, that the seals used to make his boots were old seals who could not compete for the dwindling fish stocks and were doomed to die a slow and horrible death until clubbed for the higher good.

It brought tears to our eyes, and a song to our hearts, to know Pete’s footwear had played so noble a part in the animal world, alleviating needless pain and providing a means for the creatures to carry on in some meaningful way.

Maybe Kevorkian’s influence has reached the animal world and my raccoons were also old and ailing, seeking the steel trap in order to end it all.

The drawback to wearing my coat is its weight; I cannot under any imagined circumstances see myself running while wearing what amounts to about 50 pounds of raccoons. Fortunately, the northern woods are fairly peaceful in the winter; the bears are asleep and the wolves are more interested in eating the town’s dogs. There is some danger of being run over by a snowmobile (those dominating machines!) but I loom so large in the coat that it would have to be a deliberate act; a murder by sled.

Bundolo was out in the snow again yesterday. Its warmed up to 20 F and that is below zero, I would like to remind you.

I am tunnelling into one of the high banks made by the snowplows, thinking I will hollow out a room and have an igloo. I tried to persuade Cee to join me, but she gave me a prolonged I Spy a Nutter look before easing out the door.

Pete has attempted to negate the power of Bundolo by calling me Bunny, but he only did it once.



Heather Bennett is a writer who lives in Watson Lake.

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