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What you won’t do for love

A thrilling evening of theatre last night; I’m writing to urge those of you in Toronto and environs not to miss it, though it’s only on tonight and tomorrow. 

What you won’t do for love is a play David Suzuki and his wife Tara Cullis wrote with a young couple who are actors. It reminds me a bit of My Dinner with André, in that they mostly sit at a table, with scripts, talking. But what talking! It’s a profoundly moving discussion of the fifty-year relationship between Tara and David, her founding of the Suzuki Foundation, their adventures together, including in Brazil helping to stop a dam that would have devastated the land of the Indigenous Kayapo tribe. 

There’s a great deal of laughter and for me, of course, tears. The young people ask the older couple how they keep from being depressed about the state of the world and the environment. “We’re depressed!” they exclaim, but Tara goes on to say they balance each other; when one is down, the other is there for support. Their message, over and over: everything on the planet is interconnected. Every living thing is our kin. We must love our mother, the earth, as we love each other. 

Tara spoke at length about the unpaid work of women which keeps the planet going – how Adam Smith, when he wrote his famous book The Wealth of Nations about the global economy, didn’t once mention what women contribute though he was living at home being cared for by his mother. Tara talked about the work of housekeeping, exhausting and unappreciated, because the only way you know your work is worthwhile is if the house looks the same at the end of the day as it did at the beginning. “Environmentalism,” she said, “is global housekeeping.”

At the end, Tara tells us that though things look bad for us, she thinks we’ll find the earth “is more forgiving than we deserve.” David tells us that, as he dies, he’ll be able to say to his grandchildren, “I did the best I could.” 

The play is a call for us all to take heed and do more. 

Afterward, there was a small reception full of interesting people. David introduced me to his friend David MacDonald, whose name I remember from past politics – the one Tory cabinet minister who switched to the NDP. His wife Deborah Sinclair is a fierce feminist. The talk was scintillating. 

And then I hopped on my bicycle and nearly froze as I rode home. 

If you can get there, go. 

On Thursday I saw the Downton Abbey film with Ken. It’s delightful fluff, really a documentary about gorgeous vintage fabrics and stunning interiors decorating an absurdly flimsy plot. Fun. 

It’s suddenly chilly here. Yesterday the wind was so violent, it blew my deck umbrella right over; it damaged the rosebush, and I rushed out to tie up wounded branches. The weather everywhere is extreme. Our planet needs us. How grateful I am there are people who’ve devoted their lives to trying to save us all. They too are more forgiving than we deserve.

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About Beth

I began keeping a journal at the age of nine. Nearly fifty years later, I started this online journal, sharing reflections, reviews, updates, and the occasional secret.

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