A glimpse of another life (42.2021)

This week there were a few news stories that caught my eye:

* Here’s a crazy idea: on Sakhalin island, a coal (and I think oil) producing island in the Far East of Russia, is getting a 67MW wind farm. A wind farm that will provide energy for the coal mine. Just think about that for a minute. In order to dig up a polluting form of energy (coal) your need to instal clean energy (wind) to fuel your mining operation. OK, it’s better than burning coal to fuel your coal mining, but it’s a sign that wind power is now so cheap, cheaper than coal. So why do we need coal? Seriously, sometimes I think I have died and am living in purgatory in some crazy dystopian future sitcom.

* In Brazil, a congressional investigation into the handling of the Covid pandemic recommended the President, Jair Bolsinaro, be tried for homicide, as his actions (or inactions) led to the deaths of nearly 100,000 people. (Covid deaths in Brazil have reached over 600,000). There is also concern that the lack of care left indigenous people particularly at risk, and the President should face charges of genocide. Bolsinaro’s presidency has been marked by major deforestation of the Amazon, clearance of land for farming. If Covid-19 wiped out the indigenous populations living in the Amazon jungle area, that would make it easier for the agricultural lobby to clear more land without opposition. After reading The Overstory recently, I am particularly sensitive to stories about the loss of trees and forest.

This week I attended a steering committee meeting. Preparation for this meeting took lots of consultation, many hours of frozen-in-place sitting, with small hand twitches, putting together the presentation, several phone calls, lots of emails and at least one hour of rehearsal time. So many hours of preparation, discussion and then – boom – it’s over in less than 2 hours. I felt a little bit flat. We – me and the whole team working on the project – were all geared up and ready for complex technical questions from our partners. But there weren’t any. I almost wish there had been so we could demonstrate our knowledge and preparation. But at the same time it’s good that everything was clear and there was no need for technical questions. I let myself get a muffin from the coffee bar afterwards as a reward. (Typically, it was not a very nice muffin – dry and not very flavoursome. A sad waste of empty calories.)

This week I finally went to see the new James Bond film. Yes, finally it was No time to die and we could put a pin in our Bond Evolution film reviews. I won’t go into details here, but watch for a future post which I’ll add to my film reviews.

This week I took my second (and probably final) overseas trip of the year – a visit to Switzerland to catch up with friends, a trip that was postponed from last year. It’s a very long weekend – Thursday to Tuesday – and I always am anxious about spending time with people in close quarters for a long period of time. It has been OK so far but I have had to hide a little today because I needed some not-with-people time. Is it a post-Covid thing, that I find company exhausting? Especially as we reach day 4. Yes, it is good to see people, and yes, I like being with my friends, but also, I am not an extrovert and I need a little bit of time now and then to sit quietly alone to let my social contact well refill.

Switzerland is beautiful. We haven’t been to any big cities on this trip but the small towns are charming. It helps that we are here in blue sky crisp autumn weather, with all the trees changing colour, and the light always bright or golden.

My friends have a good life here. We’ve heard about the outdoor sporting life they lead – mountain biking, swimming in the lake, hiking, skiing, running… and that’s without the organised team sports! I’m feeling a small sting of jealousy but I’m thinking about why. I’ve worked out my jealousy feelings are actually wish list points for my life:

* I would love to live with a forest behind my home, like they do, to have somewhere to run or walk or just be in nature by taking 50 steps from my back door. I don’t have this, so unless I want to move (I don’t) I just have to enjoy the green spaces I have nearby – the park, the wetlands, the canal – and enjoy them more, not letting apathy take me over.

* I would like to have a more active life – a lake to swim in, trails by a river to run along. There’s nothing stopping me from being more active, apart from my own mind. I don’t have any places for wild swimming but I do have a local pool although I have to admit the local pool isn’t pretty like a Swiss lake. And while I don’t have a river or forest to run through I do have a park and a canal.

* I would love it if Husband would also like to run/cycle/swim but he doesn’t. I’m happy that my friends go exercise together, but I know it’s not going to happen for Husband and me so my only motivation is going to come from within.

Lesson learned – I need to kick my own butt if this is what I want.

Being in Switzerland has helped with a writing block as well. It’s given me an idea of how to move my book plot along. It’s amazing what ideas you can come up with at 2am when you can’t sleep because you drank too much coffee. Lying awake, listening to the church bells chime every 15 minutes (!) I was able to dictate a load of text in my head. Today I have tried to get what I can remember down on paper.

I hope your week goes well and you find inspiration at a reasonable hour.

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