The Lake

<Dec. 14/13.> The lake is VERY riled today

Most riled I’ve ever seen it, I think.


Storm a’comin.


I love the lake

Love all bodies of water.

Always have, I guess.

Grew up on a lake

Swam in it to the age of 6

Then couldn’t anymore

Polluted, they said

Not “safe” anymore.

So we switched over to the pool,

Swam there instead

(considering what chlorine does

this wasn’t “safe” either.

Whatever, eh?

Nobody knew a thing back then.

“Better living through chemistry”

People really believed it.)


At the hearing the other day

When someone heard I’m in the east end now

He seemed appalled


Too close to Pickering, he said

(He’s right! I am.


Lake full of toxic crap

Radionuclides (tritium) included


& I thought about how long I’ve known Lake Ontario

Is full of toxic thises & thats.

LONG time now… Very long.


Am I to stop loving Nature now??

Sure, I might swallow some "routine emission" while merely taking a breath

& Fukushima is EVERYwhere

Have you heard about the ocean??



Or inhale some dangerous chemical

(Smells AWFUL at the water filtration plant some days. 

Toxic toxic toxic.

Chlorine again??)


But you know?

I’ve spent a ¼ century fighting

All this horror

While many sat in comfy armchairs

Quarterbacking from afar


Now it is what it is.

We’re ALL GMOs (genetically modified organisms)

by now

don’t you think?


Babies born “pre-polluted


Yet we still love those babies very much



Still love the Earth

& each other


We’re all we’ve got!


We don’t abandon loved ones

Just because they’re sick


Don’t get me wrong

I’m horrified too. Let’s be honest.


Don’t want any more nuke plants

Going ballistic on us.

Tired to death of the cancer explosion.


I do what I can

I do my fair share

& I refuse to live in dread

Live in fear

Live in silence

(Apathy infuriates me)

Joy is urgent, as some wise person has put it.

“Urgent joy.”


I’ll keep on walking

Keep on squawking

Being grateful every day every day every day

For life. Life


Keep loving the lake

& the people I love

(I kind of love all of us

Some of the time, anyway)


I’ll be sad

& keep getting mad


But I still love the lake

& the people I love


We’re all made of water.

Water is Life.



p.s. have written twice now about the lake & its riledness, lately. But only just now (Dec. 17th) finally saw the film 'Watermark.' So glad I did!! Quite extraordinary, beautiful, moving, informative. See it!

‘Quote of the day’ with this post: “The most revolutionary thing one can do is always to proclaim loudly what is happening.” – Rosa Luxemburg

Some others thrown in for good measure

“What’s important is not what’s gone, but what remains.” ~ from the film ‘Home: A Hymn for the Planet'

“After you have exhausted what there is in business, politics, conviviality, and so on -- have found that none of these finally satisfy, or permanently wear -- what remains? Nature remains. – Walt Whitman, poet (1819-1892)

“Pray for the dead and fight like hell for the living.” – Mary Harris “Mother” Jones

“The further a society drifts from the truth, the more it will hate those who speak it.” – George Orwell

“To treat life as less than a miracle is to give up on it.” – Wendell Berry

“Defeat is not the worst of failures. Not to have tried is the worst of failures.” –  George Edward Woodberry, quoted in Reflections of Eden – My Years with the Orangutans of Borneo, by Birute Galdikas (Little, Brown & Co., 1995)

“You can describe the predicament that we’re in as an emergency, and your trial is to learn to be patient in an emergency.” – Wendell Berry 

“Just to live is holy. To be is a blessing.” – Rabbi Abraham Heschel

“The power within – the more you give, the more you have to give – will still be our source when coal and oil are long gone, and atoms are left to spin in peace.” – Gary Snyder, “Turtle Island”

“Recognizing our despair over the ravages to the biosystem is necessary. However, when we become paralyzed by despair, we opt out of the organism which is our proper home and become part of the destructive force…Nature is still the provider of epiphanies. One does not abandon one’s mother in her illness…” – Peri Phillips McQuay (nature writer)

“A spiritual life is not about being self-conscious, or wearing a button that says ‘I’m a bodhisattva!’ It is about doing what you have to do with no attachment to outcome.” – Joan Halifax in Being with Dying – Cultivating Compassion and Fearlessness in the Presence of Death 

“I can say that it is time now to play ‘the end of the world’ symphony. I don’t know what instrument you hold, but you need to play it as best as you can, & find your place in the score. You don’t have to play a solo here. But this is our task now.” – Dr. Sandra Steingraber, in a recent interview with Bill Moyer