Dailies: June 10, 2013
We have had quite mercurial weather over the last few days! At the end of last week it was cold enough to merit sweaters, and then poured rain until Sunday, which was beautiful and brilliantly sunny. Today started off with just a fine mist again–but it’s quite warm. You never can tell here.
I have a feeling that if time goes by any more quickly that we will be home before I can blink twice. It is a strange sensation to have an experience take so long but also be over before you can get a grip on it.
It could be that these feelings are coming to a head because at the end of this week we will be holing our sixth screening, which also means that we will be half done with the project (in its primary phase, anyway). In keeping with Alexandra’s feeling that the first half of the year always takes longer to express itself to our minds, I can only assume that the fall is going to accelerate.
We have some wonderful participants here in Tyendinaga, and have been greeted kindly on the whole. I think this might have been the first location where we take out the cameras at the end of the workshop and people were anxious to get started (rather than being anxious about getting started). It sounds like we will have quite the variety of viewpoints expressed. We should be able to bring you the screening live on our Youtube, so make sure you stay tuned for updates about that.
There is a small coffee shop and gallery just down the road from where we are set up in our bus called Li’l Crow Cafe. We’ve been in there quite a few times now and have made friends with the owners, David and Kimberly Maracle. This was where we went into the tipi that Alexandra wrote about a week or two ago. Well, it’s sad to say but we recently found out that the tipi burned down one night last week! Fortunately no other property was damaged and no one was hurt, but it was still an upsetting thing for the David and Kimberly because they were married in that tipi. Dauntless to the last, though, they didn’t miss a day of business and in fact had, by the time we went in there two days after the fire, arranged for a new tipi to be donated so that people can continue to gather in that space. I felt a little off balance about it–I can rarely recover from bad luck so quickly! But entrepreneurs in semi-remote areas must be very flexible, I suppose.
Yesterday a friend took us for a little drive around the territory in her car (we’ve been on bicycle and, since this is one of the larger reserves in Ontario, we haven’t really seen more than a third of it). It is a very beautiful but still mostly undeveloped place. There are towns on either end–Shannonville to the west and Deseronto to the east. We are closer to the Deseronto end. We started out around and our friend told us about how developed the territory was becoming. When she was a kid, she said, there were maybe 600-800 people living here. Now there are over 2,000. Some of the increase in population has to do with a change in First Nations status regulations, which have relaxed to permit people of a different backgrounds to claim ancestry here.
It has created, in some senses, class divisions that once were not present here. She joked to us that when she was a kid, she didn’t think that her family was poor because everyone was in the same situation. Now there are larger properties on the waterfront and mini-mansions dotting the rolling hills, and whole tracts of land full of houses that were uncleared forest forty years ago. On the upside, though, there are more eagles and ospreys now than ever before–public outcry forced the cleanup of the Bay of Quinte, which had long been polluted by a cement plant to the east.
The labyrinthine corridors of the bay find their way into land unexpectedly. One moment you are looking across a vast field and then around the next corner it is open water. The whole territory is mess of coves and streams and ponds. It is good for the environment (I saw a beautiful white heron in one of the swamps we drove past) and for recreation–on a power line crossing a creek by the edge of the road there are dozens of tangled fishing floats, hooks, and lures caught there by an over-exuberant release of the rod. Today would be a perfect day for fishing.