Phoenix Riting! – October 19th, 2023

Phoenix Riting!

As I hoped, I hit the sweet spot between wildfires and snow for my road trip to Edmonton. It was lovely, sunny and the fall colours were glorious; the rains began the day I returned. It’s wonderful to be home in the pouring rain! I timed it well.


I did attend the September 26th Community Engagement Session meeting at the Hall, and I found it hopeful and inspiring. We rotated through several tables, each one devoted to a different topic relevant to our future (ie environment, arts and culture, various forms of industry etc) and brainstormed our ideas and visions for the future as a community. I was impressed by how aligned we were as a group. Certainly, there was disagreement, but it seemed minor, at least at the tables I participated in. It felt good, and very productive. Our core values were reaffirmed, to honour our island’s natural limits, to seek to live harmoniously in our environment.


In particular, at every table we agreed as a community to valuing differences, and that disagreements are okay. Community resilience depends on being adaptable, hearing each other, and working toward solutions together. Sometimes, events on this island have a resonance of unity, as if a greater entity were working through us, and we are all simply voicing its needs. Maybe it was just the thrill of meeting in person after so many Zoom meetings, but I walked away feeling uplifted and full of optimism for our shared future. This feeling is everything to me, for though realistically we will always problems, our shared commitment to core values is holding steady. I look forward to the next session at the Hall on November 14th.


In contrast, the rest of the world seems to be going slightly insane. For example, the furor over my July 6th column apparently continues behind the scenes, as evidenced by last week’s editorial. After a whole summer of hearing nothing at all, I recently received a lengthy email from a prominent Denman Islander, explaining to me exactly why she believed my column was ‘transphobic.’ I did read the whole thing. The writer denied me permission to quote or reference what was said, so I won’t address it directly here at this time.


I very much appreciate the feedback. I found the email interesting and a little frustrating. It gave me much food for thought. While they affirmed their belief in my ‘transphobia,’ they did not, to my mind, in any way show how what I wrote could possibly contribute to hatred, disgust or violence toward trans people (the definition of transphobia). ‘Transphobia’ seems, now, to be a code word for something far more abstract and nebulous than the definition suggests.


I am told, in essence, that my opinion is dangerous and that I am selfish for expressing it, but not what the danger is. I have the sense that the writer and I speak different languages. It’s a tangle, and I will need to take more time to reread and digest what was said before I can formulate a response. The email was thoughtful, well written and the tone was non-attacking (though the underlying accusation is still there).


With that, I am tired. The world is going mad. Don’t even get me started on what is happening in Israel right now. My heart is both light and heavy at once. I feel oppressed and freed. Paradox! These are strange days indeed.


Many blessings to you all, as we plunge into the dark time. I’m going to the Hall on Saturday night to dance to Led Zeppelin tributes and oh wow. Few things can’t be cured with dancing, at least in my life. I’ll go dance it all out, and save the world in the process. I can’t wait! I’ll see you there.


That’s what I think. What do you think? Email me at