By Kuya Minogue, resident teacher at Sakura-ji
It’s the first day of fall, and I’m sitting on my deck admiring the lawn that I seeded and weeded last spring. That lawn is now a small patch of green, and something about it calms me. Right beside it is a gigantic sunflower plant that has over 60 miniature suns on it. Honeybees are gathering their fill of pollen and Miles Davis’ Kind of Blue is giving some bounce to my writing. So, right now, in this place, life is good.
I’ve been procrastinating writing this because I’ve actually said all I want to say about noticing, naming, and remembering what we love, expressing our gratitude, and then turning our attention to our concerns for the future, and to the urgent need for action. I believe we, as a community, have made that turn, and it is time to pull together to plan, implement, monitor and adjust our community’s response to climate change.
I know I’ll be in danger of gushing if I begin to thank you, the voters, for electing two town councillors who, I trust, will keep the local adaptation to climate change issue alive, well, and dancing on the council table. I also trust that council will facilitate and encourage grassroots involvement in initial planning stages — dare I say, in a visioning process in which all citizens can collectively imagine a Creston that is not dependent on fossil fuels, does not support the sale of fossil fuel based plastics and other products, and that does support, in whatever way possible, local farmers, ranchers and food producers. Our council knows how to do this. They did a fantastic job of engaging citizens for the 2017 Official Community Plan.
Speaking of support for local food producers, kudos to Fields Forward for their work with the BC Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries. They are well into developing, and close to opening the Creston Food Hub. Their webpage says that the Food Hub will “produce juices from fruits and vegetables, package vegetables for institutions, bottle jams, freeze-dry products into powders, and provide other food processing services… and help our food and farm businesses grow and innovate by giving them access to community-based processing equipment and facilities they might otherwise not afford.” This is such an exciting development in our quest to enhance and strengthen our sustainable food economy. It is definitely time to celebrate the completion of these critical steps forward, time to toast our successes. So I raise my teacup to “all the good people.” May you be replenished.
Another reason for my procrastination is that this is the last column in this series. I’ll be somewhat silent about climate for a while because Sakuraji’s three-month-long Zen retreat started on the Equinox and will continue until Winter Solstice. Being in retreat is no big deal. It just means doing more sitting meditation, studying a 1st Century text that, for me, is a guide to surviving a 21st Century climate emergency, and attending dharma talks on line. I’ll be trying to stay off the Internet except for temple business.
I will be back doing my bit for a viable sustainable future next February with a new set of columns. I don’t have a title yet, but I do know it will be about letting go of old ideas, transitioning off fossil fuels, and building mutually beneficial relationships that are rooted in genuine care for each other, our land, air and water. Thank you for reading my column and for the encouragement that many of you have offered. See you in February. We’ve got a fossil-fuel-free town to build!
But first, “Every community activist needs replenishment.”
Take a break from thinking about climate stuff and find a healthy way to celebrate. In fact, take a break from thinking about anything, and just enjoy the beauty of the fall season, the work that brings you joy, our vibrant community, and the love that nourishes and replenishes.