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Sunday, June 29, 2008

Summer on the lake...

June 28th - 6:15 a.m. on Kootenay Lake. Bony foot and paddle...

It seems summer has finally hit, after a cooler spring than usual. And I'm going to be home more in July and pretty much fully in August. This is good, as is the canoe, the friends, the long days and the beauty.

Something is on my mind though. It has to do with how quickly the seasons and years seem to be flying by and how important it seems to be to seize the moment because of that. First some lyrics from arguably the best album ever.

Ticking away the moments that make up a dull day
You fritter and waste the hours in an offhand way.
You are young and life is long and there is time to kill today

And then one day you find ten years have got behind you.
Every year is getting shorter; never seem to find the time...

-- "Time" from The Dark Side of the Moon: Pink Floyd

There is an area of study that looks at perception of time by humans and it won't surprise you (unless your are 8 years old) that time speeds up and rushes as we hit the middle years. Let me put it in my words (bear with me, if you have time...)

It's common knowledge that our perception of the passage of time can be influenced by psychological factors: time flies when we're busy, but really drags when we're waiting. (Stare at a clock and wait for a minute to pass. Or wait for someone on hold on the phone, or for Windows to load.) These are generally short term experiences, but what about long periods of time such as years? Is there something other than transient psychological factors affecting our time perception?

We usually think about the years of our lives in terms of decades: our teens, twenties, thirties, etc. This is sort of a linear view: that all our years are equal; that clock time is our time, through which we move at a uniform pace. But perception, it turns out, is not linear.

This simple picture doesn't square with our perceptions as we age. By our middle years, at least, most of us have become aware that something is screwy, that a very slow but profound change has been sneaking up on us: the seasons and years that used to crawl by are now racing by. Where are the long, leisurely summers we knew as children? If it seemed forever to get through grade five, what happened to last year? Why do we now seem so rushed by life? Where are all the things we wanted to accomplish, but never seemed to find the time for?

There is another clue that our lives are not running in a linear, clock like fashion: when we try to remember back to the earliest years of our childhood, they seem incredibly distant, like a far horizon that always recedes as we attempt to approach it. Why should we find it so much harder to remember the first few years of life than to remember later years, even after a longer time? And why do parents see their children growing up so much faster than they did?

Research supports all this - young bastards with time on their hands I say.

Still with me here? What's time like for you? Do you buy the theory that it really is speeding up (in your experience)? Do you care? Will Gary ever stop asking questions?

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Pit stop, with photos...

Rebiya Kadeer - human rights defender

On the way to Queen's Park...

Andres Paz, fellow blogger and friend (behind banner)

Kootenay Lake - early June morning (from patio)

I'm home for a few days before a couple of days on Gabriola Island then back to Northern BC for the final leg in this part of my consulting contract. By the way Sarah, I do a lot of things - in this case I'm helping the organization that provides health services in Northern BC to do some planning. I'm meeting with staff, community stakeholders and the board. There are 7,000 employees, although I'm only meeting them in the hundreds.

The Amnesty AGM in Toronto was amazing, maybe the most inspiring I've been to. Rebiya Kadeer was a big part of that. She gave such impassioned speeches, at a rally against Chinese oppression - (see photo above) and as keynote speaker at our meeting. Two of her sons are still in Chinese prison - as pressure on her to not speak out. I won't describe the details, but at one point officials placed a cell phone in her hand and on the other end was her distraught daughter... and the sounds of her sons being tortured. Yes, she's a strong and courageous and bold leader for the Uigher people of China.

China has a long ways to go.

When I asked if I could take her photo, she handed my camera to someone else, embraced my waist and the result is above.

And finally, a photo of the view from my patio at 5:45 a.m. this morning. See why I'm happy to have a canoe!

Friday, June 13, 2008

Next stop - human rights for all...

I'm still in my crazy weeks, with very few days not on the road. I don't know why I did this to myself, but in a week or so it settles down and has been very interesting so far.

I'm in Toronto now, for the Amnesty International AGM. It's a gathering of the tribe, maybe 300 activists from across Canada. There will be business things to do, like elections and resolutions and debates on policy - important and some people love that stuff. There will also be direct actions to take, great workshops and inspiring guests and moments.

One of those guests is Rebiya Kadeer, and amazing women who is having an impact worldwide as she works to free Huseyin Celil, a Canadian citizen imprisoned in China.
Here's a story in the Globe today about her.

Ms. Kadeer is considered the most important leader of the Uyghur people - the Muslim minority group to which Mr. Celil belongs. She met with Canadian officials this week, and is in Toronto today kicking off Amnesty International's annual general meeting.

I feel like this blogging community is a fine little tribe of sorts as well. More later and I'll drop by your sites when I can.

Question: when you feel outrage about something being done to someone or something, how do you channel it or deal with it?

Tuesday, June 03, 2008

Just about there... on to November

I think this is a very classy and inspiring speech and might even bet on an Obama/Clinton ticket this year. Oh my American cousins, don't be afraid to believe it could get better...

Sunday, June 01, 2008

Home for a day

I'm home from Northern BC for a pit stop for a day and a bit. A chance to see everyone, do my laundry, catch up on paying bills, cutting grass, reading my mail etcetera... and fly away today to Prince George to work this week in Mckenzie, Valemont, Vanderhoof and Quesnel.

Here are a few shots from last week. Sorry I didn't have the camera handy for many bears, eagles galore, a bushy-tailed red fox and most amazing, a wolf in the wild. The coyotes posed so I had time to get the camera out. Click to see larger.

Dragon boat women in Prince Rupert Harbour

Fog rolling through the gap - Rupert harbour

Curious human - curious creatures...

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