While my first Kathleen Jamie experience, Findings (2005), came serendipitously while browsing the Halifax Central Library, my second was bought for me for Christmas by someone who knows me well. Dedicated “for the Island-goers” this spoke directly to me, fresh from the Falklands. Jamie is also a poet, and it is with such carefully chosen yet spare and modest language that she tackles these essays that work the vein between human and nature. Several concern remote islands and outcrops like St. Kilda and Rona, with historic human occupation that speaks of human ingenuity and fortitude, and where novel landscapes persist as a result. A favourite one conveys the zen experience of the Hvalsalen, the ‘whale hall’ in the Bergen Museum, its history and its renovation, which is recalled later in a meditation on the use of whalebone as memorial and in craft. One called ‘pathologies’ explores the human body as a habitat, for bacteria among other challenging organisms, inspired by our tendency to be selective about what we consider nature worth saving, or worthy of our awe. Yet another talks about Jamie’s experiences as a young archaeologist, excavating to ‘save’ history from development while erasing it. These are some of my favourites essays in this collection, which also have others focusing on natural phenomena like orca, aurora and seabirds. My preferences are not surprising given my interest in things social: after all, when presented with colonies of rockhopper penguins and black-browed albatrosses on West Falkland, I asked, “Can we go back and watch the shearing?”. Jamie needs to go next to the Falklands, given her fascination for remote islands, wind, and the history of human industry including whaling and agriculture. I think I’ll write and tell her.
Our energy jurors completed a pre-test last night to indicate what they preferred in the future energy mix of the province of New Brunswick. With the above diversity in the group, it will be fascinating to see how the consensus process proceeds tomorrow.
We are underway at UNB’s Wu Centre, at the New Brunswick Electricity Energy Jury, with Mike Bourque from the provincial utility talking about energy mixes that keep the province ticking over. RASD (reduce and shift demand) is a big part of meeting the gap that will form as some older infrastructure goes offline in coming years. A great discussion underway already.