Our existential summer

Smoky and clear views from Flora Footbridge

Unbelievable – and yet, here it is, the summer of our discontent. Wildfires across the country, with smoke drifting over Ottawa (and down to New York City). Floods, landslides, hurricanes, tornadoes. A derecho last year (who had even heard of such a thing?) 

And not only climate is out of control – we are too. Mental health crises are rampant. Homelessness is surging. Drug addiction and overdose deaths are skyrocketing. The luckiest among us are having a hard time paying bills and buying food. We have a plague of COVID that won’t let go. And then we must endure the people whose way of dealing with all this is to get furious, honk horns, swear and blame the government (I know, no logic to it, but there it is). 

We know all this, why are you cataloguing it?

True. But how do we in the Glebe know it? Mainly through press reports and social media. It sometimes seems that residents of the Glebe and similar neighbourhoods live in a mystical land of milk and honey, a bubble of prosperity that protects and preserves us from the worst of harms. Yes, we are subject to COVID in all its manifestations, and we do notice the sharp increase in the cost of living. But so far, we have been largely exempted from fires, floods, tornadoes. Not many of us are homeless. And if we struggle with addiction, we generally do it in the quietest, most orderly fashion.

My point? Maybe we need to appreciate our good fortune and be aware that it could turn on a dime. We’re not special – we’re just lucky. So far, we have escaped most of the wrath of the gods – but they are notoriously fickle.

—Liz McKeen

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