My new book “Midlife Solo” will be published by Mosaic Press later this year. Stay tuned!

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Halifax fires, and the sacred fire of David Suzuki

7 a.m., a silent house, another sweet day dawning, my cat gazing out the back door at squirrels. I’m home, with so much on my To Do list and so much to process, where to begin?

After the conference ended — triumphantly, with a banquet, many connections made, many fine writers re-energized — I spent Sunday morning on Norrey’s bike riding along the waterfront, a long boardwalk with lots of informational panels and fun things to look at and do, especially for kids. Halifax has done much that’s right — open space, waterfront, parks — for both citizens and tourists. I mourn again the @#$@# dinosaurs who are wrecking our city and our province with their appalling, criminal policies. 

A word about weather: for days in Halifax it was so cold, I wore all my layers, five or six, and was still shivering. And then Sunday, it was instantly 30 degrees, scorching hot, everyone in the province flooding to the beach. Monday, 10 degrees again. Very confusing! I’m proud to have managed such huge temperature changes with what was in my carry-on. 

Midday Sunday Kevin came to pick me up at King’s and take me along the south shore to St. Margaret’s Bay, where he and his wife Donna have lived for many years. With little money they’ve managed to travel widely, locally in their camper, and to acquire more acres. Kevin counted 500 trees on their sprawling property before the latest hurricane took out more a hundred of them. 

I’ve known Kevin all my life. His mother Dorothy — Dee — was the receptionist of Dr. Wiswell, our paediatrician. Dee was British and had complaints in her marriage, as was and did my mother; they became best friends. 

On a blazing hot day, we drove to Bayswater Beach, walked by the water, had a picnic. We drove past many a cove, including this one. I told them about my American grandparents, who’d drive up from New York to visit us in Halifax. One Sunday my father proposed a drive. “No, Gordie,” said my grandmother. “Too many coves.”

But as we drove, we noticed a thick plume of smoke, growing bigger, and when we got home, found out about the fires not that far from K and D’s place. Very worrying, engulfing homes and woods. Climate change. Devastating. 

So far, they’re okay. Friends who knew your parents, whose parents you knew — priceless.

In Donna’s hat at Bayswater. Not exactly dressed for the beach, but I did my best. 

Kev drove me to the airport Monday morning. Tiggy and the garden are in fine shape thanks to Robin. So much work to be done, a very long list. 

But first, last night, a grand celebration. As you may know, David Suzuki and my father were great friends and colleagues, and David and Tara are now friends of mine. I was honoured to be invited to a celebration at the CBC last night of David’s 44 years with The Nature of Things; my plus one was Anna, thrilled to see one of her great heroes, the Indigenous activist Autumn Pelletier. There was music and delicious food and an amazingly diverse crowd; Tara spoke about her life with David — 50 years of marriage — and then David spoke, with his usual eloquence and passion, about saving our planet and the importance of public broadcasting. He is 87, and his fire is undimmed. 

David and Tara’s accomplished and beautiful daughters Severn and Sarika, and David’s family from his first marrage. 

A hero. Love Earth.

Here I am, a tiny person on a tiny planet, head filled with words and thoughts about writing and activism. Where to begin? One thing: recently I’ve been feeling just a bit old. But after watching David last night, no more. 

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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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A new book by Beth Kaplan, published by Mosaic Press – “Midlife Solo”

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