Some Thoughts Today

I changed my header image today, replacing the colourful Steller’s jay I had taken a picture of in the back yard with a picture of a Merlin, or Pigeon Hawk (small northern falcon) taken on top of a housing complex in Wood Buffalo, Fort McMurray, Alberta, on the day I was leaving there.

There’s a story behind this.  Some months ago I had decided to join up with a construction/re-building volunteer organization to go up to Fort McMurray and help re-build some of the 2400 homes that were destroyed by last year’s wildfires.  Some 1500 other constructions were also either totally destroyed or badly damaged by the rampaging fires (2016 Fort McMurray Wildfire – Wikipedia)  of last May.

So, my partner, Vic Janzen and I drove my van the 1500 km to Fort McMurray from Chilliwack, B.C., doing the drive in two days – easy stretches – had the power steering pump not sheared its shaft 300 km south of our destination.  So the rest done with armstrong steering and since the pump also runs the power breaks, some interesting moments practically standing on the pedal to bring the vehicle to a standstill.  It’s doable, and we did it without incidents.

This was meant to be a somewhat long term involvement but we literally ran out of work after two weeks of steady labour and long hours.  We got three basements formed, cement poured and basically ready to receive the “ready to move” pre-built homes that are being trucked in from southern Saskatchewan where another group of volunteers built them with help and donation of materials from a local firm.

I met one of the people whose house our group is replacing.  Lots of teary emotions as these are proud people who never thought they’d be in such a situation, having to accept hundreds of thousands of dollars’ worth of “charity” from complete strangers. I was reminded again of how little we can rely on what we believe to be certain.  Even with all our fancy technology, our way of life can be taken from us literally in hours; all that we’ve worked a lifetime for gone, just like that.  All is ephemeral.

So, we came back, without incidents this time except for the “check engine” light and “check oil” light constantly popping on and off.  This has yet to be analyzed and corrected… will it be another $1000 repair job… or worse?  I suspect a leaking head gasket, but what do I know about modern vehicles and their convoluted engines, except to drive them?

Would I do that again?  Sure, only I hope it’s closer to “home” next time!  I hear there’s been flooding in the Okanagan valley in central B.C.  That would be only 600 km from here.  Would I go back to Fort McMurray?  Only if there was better organization and my time was better allocated, as in productive long term work.

Anyway, the other side of … ~burning woman~ … eager to make this planet a better world for all.  We do what we can, eh?  🙂


10 thoughts on “Some Thoughts Today

    1. Sha'Tara Post author

      Thank you, Simon. I accept your “kudos” though I don’t think of it as amazing, more like practice of self-empowerment and compassion, hence bottom line, still selfish quest (in a way). Can we ever escape our selfish nature? Probably we need it in order to function, but we can choose to be greedily selfish, or self-sacrificially so. I chose the latter because it fits both, my nature and my upbringing. See? Still selfish… 🙂

      1. Simon

        I find it interesting that you describe yourself as selfish by doing something to aid others… I won’t argue… But you’re still awesome 😊

  1. poeturja

    I like the hawk photo and yes, that’s similar to the ones scouting my yard. Now that the fires here have been flooded out, the hawks seem to have returned to rebuild their habitat. Hmmm, much like you, helping people to rebuild. Nature mirrors art mirrors humanity mirrors…I know the recipients of your help will treasure your involvement in their future forever 🙂

    1. Sha'Tara Post author

      Thanks Clarissa. I think of it as sowing seeds, as in the parable of the sower. (Matt. chap. 13, New Testament of the Bible)

  2. Phil Huston

    Great story! I grew up in Oklahoma, and spent several summer jobs and one starving musician one building pre-fab houses for the BIA (Bureau of Indian Affairs). We knocked out walls and trusses, stacked and banded them. There was press at the time that something was inherently wrong with pulling up to slab with a truck full of pre-framed walls, but we used the same lumber as a site built house and built them with pride. Back then there was a big sign in the warehouse. “Build It Like You Had to Live In It.”

    1. Sha'Tara Post author

      At least some of us have, and do, engage aspect of life, whatever makes us do it. “Build It Like You Had to Live In It.”– I like that slogan!

  3. Sha'Tara Post author

    Some words got deleted (?) My comment should read, some of us have engaged, and do engage, the service aspect of life, whatever makes us do it. … etc.


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