This story begins in a kitchen in Prince George, BC, where I stood in my bathrobe, jaw-dropped, already shell shocked, at the images conjured by radio commentators describing the twin towers coming down. Far away from northern BC, we had visited NYC three years ealier and were lucky enough to have seen the twin towers that, unbeknownst to us, would vaporize an instant later in historical time.
In 2001, I was already five years from my bachelor’s degree, with as many years work experience under my belt. My work life consisted of fisheries work in the summers and library work in the winters, with a month or two of ‘pogey’ here and there to bridge the gaps between jobs. In 2000 my partner and I made the move to Prince George from Terrace BC in search of greener pastures, or at least more steady work. The latter was hard to come by, so I signed up for a year long Advanced Technology Diploma in GIS, with the hope of fulfilling my life long dream of permanent full time employment.
The summer of 2001 had been idyllic. A work study placement in Smithers BC and a housesitting job on the side of an emerald and white mountain with two big mountain dogs and solar panel power gave me all the time I needed to read, relax and find the quieter side of life after my days down in town working for the Wet’suwet’en making maps and databases. The day before the world changed I remember sitting outside with friends feeling peaceful and happy and relaxed. Classes were starting again and I was getting over my fears of becoming a ‘techie’ because I had capitulated and signed up for GIS boot camp.
By Thanksgiving we would be at war in Afghanistan, fighting Al Qaeda and the Taliban. This set the tone for the next decade. In 2005 I finished my master’s degree at Carleton Unversity after a move east with hopes of escaping overdetermined logging cultures and economies, the upturns and the downswings in BC’s economy driving us on out east like cattle, hoof and horn set to ride and bend the wind, dead set on getting our way.
I heard just today that Canada is no longer in the war with Afghanistan. 2011 and the war is ‘finally’ over, at least for Canada, at least in that one battleground. What is the cost of winning a war? What is the cost of merely enduring one? Was it worth it? We now have one of the most conservative governments this country has ever seen, and I’ve seen hide nor hair of my mail in what seems like a month now. It feels like there’s a slow war brewing way down underneath everything. I don’t think it’s just me.