2012, it’s been real.
Here’s to a happier, healthier, more compassionate, adventurous and beautiful 2013.
*Shit I wrote while trying not to fall asleep inside an arena in Washington, D.C.
Something about the blunt acceptance of death, that there is nothing to look forward to from this point on, and yet, the sense of wonder and warmth that remains.
Many things happening. A lot not happening.
I needed to read this note again.
The world, indeed the whole universe, is a beautiful, astonishing, wondrous place. There is always more to find out. I don’t look back and regret anything, and I hope my family can find a way to do the same.
What is true is that I loved them. Lauren and Marina, as you mature and become yourselves over the years, know that I loved you and did my best to be a good father.
Airdrie, you were my best friend and my closest connection. I don’t know what we’d have been like without each other, but I think the world would be a poorer place. I loved you deeply, I loved you, I loved you, I loved you.
That last sentence.
I have to go run now.
The searing clarion call from Tibet. The ripples of anguish across the communities in exile. The amoral handwave by the Chinese ruling class. The deafening silence from its detractors in the mainland and beyond.
Everything that’s needed to be said has been said, and yet we find ourselves unable to confront the malignancy of the situation. For those of us outside Tibet, we do our part in going to protests. We write impassioned essays. We get arrested. We get into online arguments.
And yet the simple fact of the matter—the skin of the truth—is that we don’t know. We shout a lot, but at the core, within that gauze of work and life and shit, we are at a loss for words. We wonder how the picture of a charred body pricks us, reminds us of our injustice and insecurity, and of our connection to a piece of land many of us have never stepped foot on.
We think we know what drives a young teenage monk to pour fuel on himself and strike a matchstick. We hope we can relate to a mother of three children when she abandons them for the Cause.
What is it that binds us together?
Where is that mischievous, irrepressible smile?
How deep is our well?
My days are ordered with quiet streets and bulbous figures wrapped from head to toe against the November cold. They are insulated within walls and windows, muffling the clinks of streetcars and the wayward songbird. They are filled with breaks of coffee and tea from the computer screen. They are chores pushed back and messages to be returned.
They are not this.
But every week, they become closer. Bit by bit.
There is a protest happening tomorrow, Wednesday, in downtown Toronto. At Richmond St. and Yonge St. In front of Canada’s Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade. It has to do with the pending sale of Canada’s natural resources to a group of investors in China who have financed the forced resettlement of Tibetan nomads. Tibetans nomads who have now resorted to burning their bodies in order to express their defiance.
It will happen at 10 am in the morning. I know it can be inconvenient, but please try.
We may not know who we are or what we ought to do. But we know this much: our righteous condemnation against a transaction that facilitates the destruction of the Tibetan people, culture and land must be felt and heard.
Especially if it is inconvenient.
More often than not, you’ll find us railing against taxes, gay marriages and the scourge of women ruining men’s lives.
Make of it what you will, but the conversations I’ve been having these past few weeks with other Tibetans about the Presidential election in America have revealed an annoying, persistent pattern. A pattern that congeals on a foundation of parochialism, delusion, and above all else, selfishness.
But instead you are biking purposefully, dodging cars and pedestrians, angling your handlebar across streetcar tracks and passing slow cyclists on the road. You are cutting it close to this evening’s workshop, the fifth in a series of sessions that you have to attend in order to qualify as a hospice volunteer caregiver. You rue the time it took for you to select the colour for the walls of your study room, which came to naught anyway because you decided to go with the leftover paint.
You make it to the location on time with seconds to spare—in one piece, thank god; struck only by tiny pangs of wistfulness upon seeing the steaming joggers on the sidewalk.