The Times In Which We Live

An Article for the Riverview Reflector winter issue

I’m sitting in our kitchen nook at home typing on my computer. We live 11 km south of Winnipeg on the 2nd floor of our straw-bale barn-looking house.  Looking through the window I can see the Red River through the trees. Normally (whatever that is) I wouldn’t be able to see the river through the trees in October. However, with the heavy snowfall that came 2+ weeks back together with the already saturated land and heavy rains in September, the river is far higher than it usually is this time of year. In fact, our pond which communicates with the creek which communicates with the river, are all the same level. River, creek, pond have spilled into the pasture that surrounds the pond. Living in the flood plain and going into winter with saturated land and high river levels causes my ‘spring flood’ radar to activate. I need to remind myself that there is lots of time and many variables between now and spring thaw.

While I look at high water levels, city boulevards and peoples’ front yards in our Riverview community still hold branches that broke and fell from the weight of that heavy, wet snow. And there are the farmers whose crops remain on the fields and those without electricity for too long due to fallen power lines.

Changing weather patterns affect us all. Climate change is part of our current reality, whether we affirm it or not. It had it’s place in our recent federal election and some suggest it will be the key issue in the next one. My husband works as an agronomist with an international development organization and so travels to countries in Africa and Asia. For several years already he has been bringing home stories and reports of the effects of changing weather patterns in these countries, affecting people’s livelihoods and places of home. My grandson Julian, now in grade 3, is learning about and eloquently informing me about the harmful effects that “cow farts” have on the atmosphere and his attention upon leaving school at day’s end is easily focused on the exhaust fumes chugging out of the parked and waiting school buses. “I really wish they wouldn’t pollute the environment with all that exhaust!” In early November our congregation will be introduced to an eco-church inventory to help us get a better sense of how environmentally conscious we are as a faith community in areas of worship and teaching, building maintenance, land ownership, community lifestyle, etc.

Changing climate and changing times in which we live. I struggle personally and communally with knowing how to live and respond to it all. Living 20 kms away from where I work contributes to that struggle. The struggle is not the problem. Avoidance of it is. May I never, for Julian’s sake, avoid the struggle.

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