Fall is my favourite season for the simple reason shown plainly in the photo above. The colours are magnificent. The sun is lower in the sky which creates even more drama as the light and the shadow enhance the beauty of the colours. It’s cooler which encourages a whole host of activities from harvest meals with scents of cinnamon, apple, and pumpkin, to pulling out your sweaters, to fires in the woodstove or fireplace, to walks through the fallen leaves. As much as I love the freedom that summer brings, I love feeling cozy and warm by the fire with a book and a cup of hot cider. It’s just a glorious time of year, if you ask me.
This fall has been moving along pretty much as normal. I’ve been looking for a job since the beginning of September; a long and somewhat frustrating endeavour. However, I have not lost hope and I use my extra time to work on my novels (that’s right…more than one). I’ve entered the NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month) event in which the participants have exactly one month to write 50,000 words. Gulp. I really don’t expect to write that many words. Realistically, I don’t have that much time to devote to writing. I do hope, however, that it will encourage me to form a habit of writing every day even if it is only about 100 words a day.
Although I don’t have much to complain about in my life, sometimes I do tend to feel like a hamster on a wheel. I’m sure we all do at times. It’s easy to lose perspective. It’s easy to forget, when we start to focus on our “troubles”, that in comparison to much of the world, we have it pretty good here. That doesn’t mean we should not stop trying to improve ourselves and our community, of course, but it just means that we need to pull ourselves out of our self-imagined mire and look around. Complacency is probably the worst of the problems that affects the Western world. There are so many things we take for granted and so many things we don’t bother to do because we don’t feel like it or we think we can always do it another time.
Yesterday was a horrible day in my hometown. A young man, a reservist named Cpl. Nathan Cirillo (RIP), was shot down as he stood guard at the War Memorial in downtown Ottawa. The Parliament Buildings were also stormed by the gunman and the video of the echoing gunfire in the Hall of Honour as the gunman was shot down was an unforgettable image and sound. Many of my friends were held in lock-downs at work and children were confined to their classrooms at school as the police and RCMP searched for a possible second suspect. I spent the majority of the day between news sites, Facebook, and Twitter trying to figure out what had happened and what was happening. Of course, I think it will be a while before we are told anything and who knows for sure if what we’re told is actually what happened.
This is shocking for Canadians. It’s not something unprecedented, mind you, but it doesn’t happen often; about every 20 years or so. There are bad things and good things about an event like this. The bad things are obvious. The good – for lack of a better word – things are a little less easy to absorb. Although the events of yesterday won’t significantly change my life or activities, it definitely gets into one’s headspace. It completely busts up complacency. Canadians can no longer ignore the fact that Canada is not immune to this kind of violence. Many places in the world deal with extreme acts of aggression daily. At the same time, however, we have to keep the events in perspective – a very difficult task for many when fear and emotions get involved.
It is not uncommon for a shooting to happen, usually in the larger centres in Canada. The thing that makes this one different is it’s symbolism. We are disgusted and saddened by a death in the streets of Toronto, for example, but we don’t feel it personally. Although this attack in Ottawa and the attack on the two soldiers in St. Jean Sur Richelieu were localized, it became clear yesterday that the Canadian military was being targeted, and yesterday’s event brought it home with a wallop when the Parliament buildings were invaded. So the question is, what do we do next? My hope is that, whatever the plan is, it is brought about with calm heads and that we don’t forget who we are as a nation, and how we stand in the world. Intolerance and hatred are insidious and it would be a shame to fall to that level – the level of the perpetrators.
So I’ll go back to my job search, my novels, and whatever else life throws at me. But I won’t forget yesterday, I will attempt to always keep things in perspective and I will give it my all not to be complacent. As I watch the fall colours and feel thankful that I’m alive and living here, I’ll remember Cpl. Cirillo and Warrant Officer Patrice Vincent as well as all the unnamed people from all over the world who have died from such violence. I’ll do my part to bring about positive change and work toward peace. It’s important to remember we’re all connected.
“You may say I’m a dreamer, but I’m not the only one. I hope someday you’ll join us. And the world will live as one.” ~ John Lennon, Imagine
Wishing you all peace now and every day.