Tuesday, October 6, 2015

prayers, trees and "The Little Paris Bookshop"

I ached and ranted when George Bush was elected, and the hideous Mike Harris, TWICE. But this election is the most fraught I've ever lived through; the fate of our country's soul is at stake. The Cons have limitless sums of (well-concealed) money, a well-oiled, experienced election machine, and absolutely no scruples, and they're dealing with two under-performing contestants. Mulcair and Trudeau are fine men, no question, but they'd have to be powerhouses to overcome the forces against them.

I'm terrified. My cleaning-lady was here yesterday, a Polish immigrant who lives in Mississauga, drives a car the size of a tank and doesn't understand why I bother to recycle. We've been friends for many years. She told me her son was going to vote for Trudeau but changed his mind because of the Muslim issue. "Trudeau said he'd bring in 25,000 Syrian immigrants, but Harper said, we have to check them first to be sure they're not terrorists. And my son agrees with that."
"You're an immigrant, Marisha," I said. "I'm an immigrant. This is a nation of immigrants." She just looked at me. What her face meant was, we're different; we're nice. They're dangerous.

It is to weep. I thought, we've lost. They've won. Their politics of fear, paranoia and divisiveness, appealing to the worst in human nature, have won.

Trudeau is our only hope. Mulcair seems to have fizzled completely, from such a strong start. I feel sick contemplating all this. And yesterday some giant trade deal - I had to turn off the radio and may not be able to turn it back on for years.

Instead, I'm reading. Just finished "The Little Paris Bookshop," by Nina George - yes, a novel, I do read them sometimes. Charming. It will certainly be turned into a movie, maybe starring George Clooney as Jean Perdu, John Lost, the hero, who sells books from a barge on the Seine. It was manipulative and obvious in places, but full of heart - about the joy of books and the joy of France, among other things that matter deeply to me. Here's a paragraph.
Soon Anna was surrounded by piles of books as a woman in a shoe shop might be surrounded by boxes.
         Perdu wanted Anna to feel that she was in a nest. He wanted her to sense the boundless possibilities offered by books. They would always be enough. They would never stop loving their readers. They were a fixed point in an otherwise unpredictable world. In life, In love. After death.
         When Lindgren then jumped onto Anna’s lap in one audacious leap, and made herself comfortable, paw by paw, purring loudly, the overworked, love-crossed and conscience-stricken advertising executive reclined in her chair. Her tense shoulders slackened, her thumbs unfurled from her clenched fists. Her face relaxed.
         She read. 
Monsieur Perdu observed how the words she was reading gave shape to her from within. He saw that Anna was discovering inside herself a sounding board that reacted to words. She was a violin learning to play itself.

Charmant, non?
On the recommendation of my blog friend Theresa, I got another stunning book out of the library:
"Remarkable Trees of the World," by Thomas Pakenham. It soothes my heart to look at his pictures of fantastic trees. He has other books about trees and I'm going to get them out too, and make a nest of books about trees to get me through the next few weeks. Trees don't care about elections; they just go on growing and processing sunlight and casting shade and hosting birds. I will take inspiration from them. 

Though of course this election matters to them, too, because the Cons will do nothing about climate change which is destroying our towering friends. Prayers are in order. 


  1. I had a moment of horror, the other day, among trees, Beth, when I realized how it seems that we may have another Conservative government. I read the lists of his abuses of power, the awful words of his awful minions (John Duncan most recently but also Mr. Kenney, Mr. Oliver, oh, any number of misters of little ability or originality) and wonder how our country could have come to this. Already for too long -- and perhaps again.

  2. Horrifying and tragic, yes, Theresa. We live in a bubble of like-minded people, but there are so many outside that bubble. The only solace is trees.

  3. I guess you want a Paris incident but I guess that is just living in a bubble.