Category Archives: Okanagan Living

THE DAY AFTER THE ELECTION 2016 – Red Sky in Morning, Sailors Take Warning


Those who have visited my blog Immigrating to Canada know I am an ex-patriot American, now a dual citizen of both the US and Canada, who left the United States with my husband after Georg W got re-elected in 2004. We left motivated by the Quaker Peace Testimonies and the need to leave a country that had perpetrated a war against the people of Afghanistan and Iraq under the false pretenses of Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD’s) with over a million lives lost. This war continues today more than a decade later. For me, it has been nearly a decade of attempting to make sense of our life-altering decision to “walk our talk” and follow our moral compass north to British Columbia and Ravens View Farm.

I have been crying off and on for several days. Only after 24 hours did I realize that I am suffering from my own posttraumatic stress disorder, which originated on election night 2004 when Kerry, who looked to be winning, lost to George W late in the evening. The grief and near hysteria I experienced was a result of the pledge I had made to Mark, to leave the country if Bush got re-elected. This was now to become a reality. The loss of that election was extremely personal as I was soon to leave my family and friends, my home, my community and all that I held dear. (This experience is captured in  IMMIGRATING TO CANADA blog post Reminiscences Before And After The 2008 Us Election.)

Many FB posts and letters by celebrities say in essence “It is our duty as Americans to stay and fight for our beloved country.” This is because half of the citizens of the United States are united in fear and they are aware that during the Viet Nam war many conscientious objectors sought asylum in Canada refusing to fight in that unjust war. Many threatened to leave the US if Bush got re-elected, but few of us actually did. The difference between then and now is that we waited until the next presidential election  working daily, calling and walking door-to-door in an effort to get out the vote and elect a president that would lead the country mindful of the ideals of our democracy outlined in the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution.

It takes an enormous amount of courage to leave your homeland, your country. It is not a decision to be made without a great deal of thought and consideration. And for those who left, not from fear, but from a need to speak our truth through action, I hope that we demonstrated that there are in fact many ways to voice discontent, and emigrating to Canada is just one. Freedom of speech and to gather allows for peaceful civil disobedience to protect earth’s gift of water at Standing Rock and protesting in the streets of our cities. However one chooses to take a stand, it takes deep courage and conviction. This election has given rise to both and the nation will be better for it. And remember, no matter where you live in this age of technology, you can take a stand and you can fight.

If you are considering coming to Canada,  you can rent The Cottage at Ravens View Farm for a week. I will cook you farm-raised organic roast chicken dinner and share our experience with you  over a bottle of Okanagan Valley wine.

A New Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, a New Parliament. A Renewed Canada.

A New Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, a New Parliament. A Renewed Canada.

As a new citizen of Canada, having voted in my first federal election, an initiation rite as a new citizen if you will, I have been watching the swearing in of the new Liberal Government in Canada led by the new Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau, this early PST November 4, 2015.

I have been deeply moved viewing the ceremony. Thirty new ministers have been sworn in. This parade of cabinet members has demonstrated, from the outset, the intentions of this new government to fully represent and meet the expectations of a diverse nation. Prime Minister Trudeau has begun the process of fulfilling his campaign promises.

Canada’s reputation on the world stage is well on its way to being reclaimed. Ministers, representing every Province across the country, include first nation and aboriginals, francophone, immigrants, including from Afghanistan, disabled and women. There is a balance of gender, with 50% of the cabinet being women, young and old, veteran politicians with new comers to the political stage, all of who are coming with a wide variety of resumes and experience.

The opening ceremony began with a performance by two young first nations throat singers, who giggled charmingly at the end producing smiles around the room and finished with three young Métis dancers leading the procession out. Some of the Ministers picked up their young children from the audience and carried them out in their arms. A new government with young leaders with young children promising a better future for the youth of this country which is planning for its 150th anniversary.

I am pleased by the potential of this new government to provide new leadership and take its place on the international stage. Justin Trudeau will be going to the UN Convention on Climate Change in Paris with his new minister, Catherine McKenna, Minister of Environment and CLIMATE CHANGE and Elizabeth May the leader of the Green Party and likely Stephane Dion, former leader of the Liberal Party, now Minister of Foreign Affairs. Crystia Freeland journalist and Author of Plutocrats: The Rise of the New Global Super-Rich and the Fall of Everyone Else has been named minister of International Trade. Backing up the promise to cut taxes for the poor and raise taxes of the wealthy. A lot of changes being made and to be made to regain Canada’s reputation as inclusive country with open parliamentary governance.

I realize upon re-reading this post that I have repeated the word new over and over again. But I am not afraid of change and today I love being a new citizen of Canada with the promise of change with new leadership.

New York Times article.

The end of another season at Ravens View Farm 2015

August 31 2015 – It feels like the end of another season at Ravens View Farm

This has been the season of all seasons. It started way earlier with a warmer winter and then a warmer spring, which continued to deliver the hottest summer on record not only for the Okanagan, but the world, and possibly the driest, but that is not altogether unexpected in the Okanagan Valley, which is a dessert after all with only 9 inches of precipitation annually.

However clouds, not the smoke from Washington’s wildfires, have rolled in the past few days and the temperature has dropped with the light rain we received. Last night in fact held a maker for fall when I put on an extra sweater because the evening breeze was chilly. With the overcast skies I slept until the dogs awakened me at 6:30. But after feeding them and letting them out I went back to bed with a cup of tea to finish the book for book club tomorrow evening.

There are still some jobs to complete on the farm. Aren’t there always? But my sense of urgency to get out there before the day gets too hot to work has diminished, because my body, which is fitter, firmer, leaner and meaner than ever before, is craving rest, the deep rest that comes with fall.  And this is speaking louder than the demands of the farm.

Fall has never actually been a favoured season here in Canada, unlike my years in the lower 49 states, because it portends the temperature inversion that brings the blanket of cloud that put the orchards and gardens to sleep for the winter. It also foretells of the much shorter days to come above the 49th parallel beginning on the Equinox just a few three weeks away. This may be why I love the bears that are our constant companions this time of year. Their search for food in ours and the neighbors’ orchards, instigating the encounters with our dogs to get the plums, is a reminder of the coming season of hibernation – a reminder that there is a time for bodies to relax, for minds to release and spirits to rise.

This year I find myself looking forward to fall. I have grown weary of getting up with the birds that began to stir at 3:45 am and were in full song by 4:00 calling me out of bed by 5:00. But what a glorious way to start a day with the mating songs of so many species of birds that decided that Ravens View Farm, whose ravens had moved up into the cooler mountains, was the place to call home for the summer. With our daily refreshed birdbath and a constant rotation of irrigation on the fruit trees, they were assured a good source of water and as it turns out food as they proceeded to take a bite out of every fourth peach as they ripened.

This was a also season of new pests, from tent caterpillars to the dreaded spotted wing drosophila fruit fly as well as many diverse pollinators I had never seen before accompanying my favourite insect the honeybee. It also marked the arrival of more creatures.  We have seen more lizards and garden snakes and rubber boas this year than ever before. It feels like we created an oasis in the midst of the intense drought when their natural habitat became too hot dry and food became scarce. The insects and mice and rats (both Pack and Norwegian) and of course the snakes, lizards and spiders have all come along to savour the “fruits” of the farm. So this is a year of all kinds of abundance in the midst of our experience of global warming. With it however we lost a higher percentage of our peach and plum crop to birds who created the seconds that I and my customers turned into jams and chutneys. We fed the rodents a fair percentage of the chicken feed.

Now I have to address the spotted wing drosophila that has become the scourge of the fruit growers in the northwest and British Columbia.  My most important chore right now is to rake all the rotten Italian prune plums into black plastic bags and heat them up to kill the larvae and determine what I can do as an organic farmer to ameliorate them in future seasons. Without our annual cold snap that kills off so many of the hibernating predatory larvae in the ground beneath the trees we will be inundated again next year earlier with even more. So plans to finally renovate our heritage plum orchard through deep and strategic pruning are already underway with marks being made on the branches to be cut come winter. The result will be less fruit but healthier, easier to harvest in a timely manner at the just prior to full ripeness to avoid the fruit fly. I will probably end up with just what I need to sell to ensure the farm remains viable. I look forward to a more manageable orchard next year and the feeling that I have restored and reinvigorated the old plums.

At times I feel a distinct other presence in the orchard. Mark has identified it as the fairies that live in the trees. Now while I am in the old orchard cleaning up and contemplating which branches to prune, I am sensitive to the fairies that guard and protect the trees. I believe they invited us here in the first place to save the orchard and they have been watching ever since to be sure that we are good stewards. In that spirit and perhaps with their guidance we will endeavor to do the plum orchard justice and the peach trees as well.

There’s much more to recount of this growing season here at Ravens View Farm, but my cluttered desktop now beacons me to begin the process of filing months of papers that have been accumulating, lying in wait for this cloudy cool day to be addressed. And of course this is the year that the farm will be assessed by the Farm Bureau to be sure that we are indeed a working farm and deserving of the small tax breaks and lowered water rates that farm classifications bestows. There are always chores to do on the farm and now I get to dig into my least favourite, the paperwork.

Until my next moment of procrastination, enjoy life and all it has to offer as I seem to do here on Ravens View Farm.



What does it mean to be a Canadian Citizen? Winter 2015

What does it mean to be a Canadian Citizen?

January 30 – Canadian Citizenship. We just got our letter. We have been invited to become citizens. Our ceremony is March 13, 2016. This is the culmination, a final achievement, and a last step in a seven-year journey. It begets the privilege to vote as I have already been paying taxes (in both the US and Canada). It is a testimony, a commitment to a path, which took us to another country. It is also an insurance policy. Not only is achieving citizenship in Canada symbolic of “walking one’s talk”, it gives me permission to finally speak my mind and walk my talk here without fear of being deported. (As an immigrant, especially emigrating from the US, deportation lurks as a fear especially with Conservative Prime Minister Harper tightening up the immigration policy of this great nation that prides itself on being a “Cultural Mosaic”.) I can join my Quaker Friends to protest the expansion of oil exports through first nations’ lands and nature conservancies. I can be political and I can vote for the amazing green party leader Elizabeth May or the Liberal Party’s Justin Trudeau.

As a committed Quaker who strives to lead an authentic life, the welling up of tears and the rising of emotion surprises me. Strong emotion. It is joy, relief, and maybe even sadness – I have stepped ahead and made a commitment to a new life in a new country – albeit as a dual citizen. I have not left my nation of origin behind. There is a sense that I have changed my allegiance, but my allegiance is not to a country and not to a government.

However, what I realize at this moment is that my allegiance is to family, friends, and ultimately to spirit. My final and utter allegiance is to this beautiful earth. Everything comes back to a sense of place, which transcends all rules and regulations and laws. It is the unity of heart, mind and spirit that makes me who I am and makes me a citizen and child of Mother Earth. This is what Ravens View Farm means to me; sacred ground that happens to be in Canada, that called to me and invited me to steward it into the future for the next generation. This sacred ground is waking my spirit and my understanding of life, death and existence. The final frontier is actually in our own back yards.

Friday, March 13th, our lucky day! Today was the day Mark and I became Canadian Citizens. So anxious was I, it turns out I input the date for March 11, 2015 as our Citizen Ceremony date. So we made the trip into Kelowna and our friends came to celebrate with us, but as I said, “Better two days early than two days late!”

It was a wonderful ceremony so many immigrants from all over the works and all walks of life. Today 84 people from 30 countries became citizens of Canada. And there are only one million people currently in the queue to become citizens like us. Of course the journey has been a tremendous ride of applications, visa renewals, permanent residency and finally citizenship. They took our permanent residency cards, our proof heretofore of our ability to return to our community, our farm and now our adopted country. This is a culmination of a long life-changing journey. No longer are we legally tied to the racism, sexism, and increasing incivility of the United States as manifested in what is called a democracy. We are now proud and honoured citizens of Canada, which is truly a polite society that is incredibly gracious welcoming, and warm despite being the land above the 49th parallel. Thank you Canada.

Musings on the Equinox March 2013

Equinox March 2013. An amazing day.
Master teachers and yogis advise their students and disciples to observe the phenomenal world.  When was the opportunity to ponder more inviting than on this spring’s equinox?  It is a day of balance when the amount of light is equal to the amount of darkness; the day that marks the beginning of spring.  And what marvellous weather did Mother Nature share with us to proclaim the change of seasons?  A dark cold cloudy morning just like
all the others that preceded it all winter long; then a break in the clouds and an incredible bright blue sky beaconing people to come outside! 

And then a snow squall and brilliant sunlight, and yet another snow squall and gorgeous blue skies, then corn snow bouncing off the still dormant earth, and again the blue skies of spring.  Wow! It was a day to celebrate the seasons, a day to let us know that things are changing, but not quite yet, a day to wonder about opposites, dark and light, sun and snow. One might consider this equinox as a dramatic display of opposing forces or one might consider how
perfectly planned this whirlwind of weather, bundled into one day, the equinox, was to encourage us to pay attention to our phenomenal world.   

The day after the 2012 Election in the US

Wednesday November 7, 2012, The day after the 2012 Election in the US.

It is interesting in this day after the 2012 election pondering what this means for the United States and how I feel as an expatriate.  I am still a citizen of United states although am a permanent resident of my adopted country Canada and will soon be applying for citizen ship having been resident for now fives years. 

We are expatriates, my husband Mark and I, having left the United
States after the re-election of George W. Bush in 2004.  When Obama was elected four years ago so many of our friends,  family and acquaintances who knew of our “defection” asked, “Are you going to move back now?” Well if Canada and the Okanagan Valley had not embraced us so warmly and so generously, maybe I might have considered it. But it is clear that we are meant to be here in Canada, in British Columbia, and in Peachland, on this lovely little “hobby” fam.  But of course we replied that  we will wait and see.  And how prophetically this convenient answer was to this query, because how sorely disappointed we have been in the performance, the decisions and the lack of honouring promises made by this idealistic and amazing young leader.  But when Guantanamo Bay’s prison was not closed down and still detains, to this day, suspected terrorists without due process of law, I wonder, “Where is Justice?”  When the war in Afghanistan, albeit an inherited war, continues as a Quaker I ask, “Where is the peace making?” 

One cannot deny that Obama inherited a hideous situation not of his making and was challenged far beyond what any president since Roosevelt faced with war, pending economic collapse, and countless other debacles that were foisted on the American people by an ineffective and glib and ignorant president who was at the beck and call of people fueled by greed and the hunger for absolute power.

So you can see my politics.  But what are my politics?  In this time of spiritual upheaval and spiritual renewal and spiritual awakening, where are their politics. And what do I believe is the meaning of
this election in which Barack was re-elected by a hair with a country divided in their politics, their beliefs, and their values. 

It is an election where people have

  • respected people of the same sex to marry. 
  • recognized that maybe marijuana is not much different than alcohol and should be legal.  And that the
  • understood that the United states is a cultural mosaic like Canada and not a melting pot in which everyone is assimilated into one, but a country in which we have our differences of race, creed, sex, sexual preference, education and whatnot. 

In a country that is nearly evenly divided, are we “polarized” or are we coming into balance? Are we no longer giving credence and lip service to the extremists, but realizing that there is value in recognizing and respecting our differences? Maybe we are getting closer to becoming “one”.  Is it blind optimism to believe that we are witnessing a shift? We all saw how Romney went from the extreme right trying to appeal to the “Tea Party” to becoming more and more moderate to appeal to a larger electorate. There is a coming together in this balanced and evenly divided election.  I find hope in this election like I haven’t felt in a long while. 

Permanent Residency Achieved! October 2010

Permanent Residency Achieved! October 2010. I am pleased to announce that, upon my return through the Kelowna International Airport Immigration last week, I received my permanent residency in Canada!  This process has taken three years to come to fruition beginning August 11, 2007 when I received my temporary foreign worker permit.  Thus began Mark’s and my journey north of the 49th Parallel and embarking on a whole new learning experience including, but not limited to, cultural differences, (new spellings of the English language), restoration of a six acre farm and orchard, a new geography with whole new points of reference. I am delighted and honoured to be welcomed into Canada to continue my work with Ballet Kelowna. Mark arrives later this week to complete the process. Much thanks goes to the Central Okanagan Immigration Specialist Woody Cross who helped guide me and the organization through the process over these past years.  My thank you testimonial is included on their websiteNeedless to say, I have much to be thankful for this Canadian Thanksgiving Holiday.  Thanks to all of you for your continued friendship and your support during this time.

In gratitude, Alison

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Welcome to “Musings from Peachland” and Ravens View Farm

Welcome to my blog posts – Musings from Peachland

These “Musings from Peachland” are a series of missives that were sent to family and friends over the past three years. They chronicle the process of relocating from Boulder, Colorado to Peachland, British Columbia in the beautiful Okanagan Valley. They chronicle a change of lifestyle when one undertakes to steward a small organic farm, Ravens View Farm.
This blog will be of interest to readers who are thinking of moving to another country, ex-patriating from their native land for moral and/or political reasons and those who are interested in becoming small organic farmers. These musings share our experience with major life changes in mid-life.

American Thanksgiving 2009

It is Thanksgiving Day in the United States and I am feeling a bit of melancholia.  I could even say that I am feeling lonely. Lonely for friends and especially family. Lonely for a day of good smells, for Caitlin insisting on watching the Thanksgiving Day parade and, dare I say, football games playing endlessly in the background while we putter around the kitchen.

American Thanksgiving was my favourite holiday of the year.  I use the past tense because, although I am cooking a small turkey for some American friends this evening, it is not the same.  Our little house is not surrounded by many other homes engaged in similar activities binding us together by invisible threads of common holiday tradition.  I like to tell people Thanksgiving is my holiday of choice because it is simple, bringing us together for a celebration of lives well lived and appreciated and giving us an opportunity to give thanks for wonderful food, wonderful family and friends and for a wonderful life.

So before I start this ordinary day here in Canada except for my turkey that will go in the oven at 2:00 for a dinner at 6:00, I wanted to take this moment to reflect on how much I miss you all down there in the lower 48, say thank you for being part of my life and a part of me.


Although this is how I feel this morning after listening to NPR out of Omak, Washington, I must add this caveat. Just yesterday I was exclaiming how much I love our new lives in Canada here on our little acreage in Peachland. Everyone continues to be welcoming, joining our circle of friends and acquaintances whether as Quakers, neighbors, farmers & beekeepers,artists or colleagues. Mark and I could not ask for a better place to be at this time of our lives embarking on parallel careers as farmers in the beautiful Okanagan Valley; another thing to be thankful for.



Reminiscences Before and After the 2008 US Election

Reminiscences Before and After the 2008 US Election

The Weekend Before: A Memory

From this viewpoint and this place in time, the weekend before the 2008 US General Election, it is hard not to look back to the weekend before the 2004 election.  I spent that weekend walking a local precinct and calling the numbers that were given to Mark who had taken on the Precinct to get out the vote for Senator Kerry.

Mark was fulfilling a promise, or one might say, an obligation, or an ultimatum. The story I tell about that time is that Mark wanted to leave the country after Bush got elected the first time. That, I believe, is what he might say, but I know for a fact that as soon as the war cries and the government lies took hold of the US after 911, he was ready to vacate to take a stand personally and politically and leave the United States so that he was not complicit in these militaristic actions that went so far beyond our beliefs and were an affront to our faith.

But I was not interested in leaving.  My parents had left the country after Nixon had gotten re-elected and escalated the bombing in Viet Nam and Cambodia.  After years of anti-war demonstrations and organizing they finally took the advice “Love it or leave it”. This was not too dissimilar to the slogan of the Bush regime of “Your either with us or against us”. Well there was no question as to our answer; we were against the Bush administration’s war mongering based on a series of lies to the American people.No matter how many demonstrations I attended, or letters/emails that were sent to our congressmen, no difference was to be made. The Country and our Congress were int he grips of fear and the neo-cons’ agenda and they gave away our civil liberties,our privacy, and our kids to a false war.

The challenge that I gave to Mark was to do what my mother had done.  Work. Work hard and organize if you want to leave our great country, our home, our family and our friends. You need to earn the right to move by working to get another administration elected.  So he started attending Democratic Party meetings and took over the precinct that someone else had relinquished. This brought us to our fall four years ago,walking door to door, calling a list of voters, distributing literature, and standing outside the polls. We were told that Boulder County would make a huge difference in swinging Colorado to the blue side of the presidential election. Yet our votes weren’t even included in the state count due to problems with our government prescribed electronic voting machines.

I went to the Boulder Theatre were the democrats were gathered in anticipation of victory.I went in confidence and with faith that hard work, perseverance and, I guess one could say prayer, would lead to a victory.  A victory for America, Americans, our civil liberties, a victory for the civilians in Afghanistan and Iraq who were being caught in the cross fire of an illegal war.As you may remember, it looked like John Kerry was ahead, wining the popular vote, winning the key states. But then they started counting Ohio and other states.

The painful revelation that our country had been stolen away, yet again, for yet another four years, was utterly painful.  The grief was more than palpable. Then to realize in the days that followed, the lack of courage, or was it collusion,that prevented Kerry from challenging the vote, challenging the machines, took away any hope of remaining in the country when I had pledged to leave the country.

Mark packed the car the day after the election and took off for British Columbia, specifically the Okanagan Valley where cacti grow in the northern most tip of the Sonoran Desert.He spent four days between rocky mountain snowstorms and found a bank,an immigration lawyer and a real estate agent.  We were on the path to walk our talk and follow in the footsteps of others from the 70’s – “Love it or Leave”, or now, “Either you are for us our against us”.

I realize that if people were to ask whether I would move back to the US if the election goes for Obama, I think, “Why would I move back after living in Canada for four years?”Yet we have only been here for 14 months.  In retrospect, it has become clear to me that I made an intense psychological and emotional break from the country of my birth that sad election night four years ago.Subsequent to that election, so much that has been taken away from the people through line item vetoes, through conservative courts that have betrayed our trust and, more heinously violated our constitution, from condoning retention and torturing detainees to spying on our citizens.  The foundation of our democracy and our country has been eroded, beyond repair? The time had come for us to be witness from abroad.

Election Eve

On this Monday night, the eve of the election, I am feeling ambivalent. I did donate to, but did not participate, in Obama’s campaign. When we moved north, taking our local phone number with us on our cell phone, I expected that relationships with friends would continue.  But only the few tried and true maintained our friendships over the distance over the phone. When people didn’t reach out as I had hoped, I came to realize that we had fallen victim to being“out of sight and out of mind”. Interestingly this situation could be a metaphor for the election. One might assume, given the fact that I am,presumably, so far removed, at least geographically, that we really don’t care that much about the election. One might assume that having crossed a border,and in the minds of some had abandoned the US, I am feeling very remote from the situation.   But, in fact,we joined and listened everyday, all day, to our local Washington State NPR station, including: Talk of the Nation, The World, Fresh Air, All Thing Considers and Democracy Now among others. We got our ballots, we called knowledgeable friends, we studied and we voted. Mark drove the ballots stateside to ensure that they were received through registered mail in plenty of time to be counted.

I am optimistic and anxious as our son described New York City this election eve. I am also grateful for the distance, so if the outcome follows on the stealing of the last election, with 1/3 of the nation’s polls still tied to electric voting machines that can’t be audited, then I will not feel the pain as intensely.  And I can be happy we did what we did, when we did, because a McCain/Palin administration, even if balanced and by a democratic Congress is untenable and beyond imagination.  Even when Obama is elected so much damage has been done to our democracy, our economy,our, dare I say, way of life that even with hope how much can be changed? What can one man, albeit a visionary leader and president do to undo 8 years of a neo-conservative, fascist regime that did so much to undermine our democracy?And if, heaven forbid, Obama loses, what will the world think of us? Or, shouldI say, the USA, because in a very real sense, Mark and I, as ex-patriots, have become disenfranchised, although we are still American citizens and hopefully our votes will be counted to elect Obama to the Presidency and Udall to the Senate.

Fall is a time of transition, death or dormancy for plants that have set their seeds for spring, hibernation for many animals to gain the energy and create the space for change and transformation.  Is this the Obama message of hope that will spring anew in the New Year? I find myself hoping for a change, just as I did four years ago, not believing that it can go any other way and in Barack Obama’s words, I dare to hope.

Election Night

So here I sit tired and exhausted after being optimistic and anxious all day in anticipation of watching the results of our general election.  This morning’s meditation was dedicated to Obama and the perfect outworking for the highest good for the nation with undecided voters electing a democrat.  I picked a Shambhala slogan card with the election as a the focus and received “The humble warrior is supreme.” What better message to guide me through the day.  So I did have a very real sense of optimism that Obama would prevail and it has been an evening of tears of relief and joy beginning when Ohio, then Pennsylvania went for Obama and then to watch the apparently sincere and utterly gracious speech by McCain followed by a brilliant acceptance speech by Barack.

The Days After

It is now Thursday morning and I am home for two quiet days of work in my home office after three days of meetings in town without the space to focus on the election except for the drive home.  I quietly wept throughout election night and awoke yesterday morning and the tears continued.  I was emotional all day yesterday and had to summon my reserves not to cry again as everyone I met congratulated me on the outcome of the election.They had all been glued to the television the night before as well. Don’t underestimate how closely your neighbors to the north follow politics and activities to the south.  We get most of your channels and it was continuously a challenge to figure out which channel to watch CNN, ABC, or CBC.Many people here wept with the results along with others around the globe.  The historic moment is not lost with people around the world.Canadians of African decent believe that the US has become a model of possibility for them in this country.Race is a reality in every country in every corner of the globe especially in a country like Canada that prides itself in its cultural mosaic.

So why am I crying? Is it joy in a hopeful future for a powerful nation that now has the potential to change its imperialistic nature and become the beacon of hope that Obama has promised?  Or am I crying with grief that I have left my country of origin four years ago in spirit and in body 14 months ago? I weep for those four lost years of national promise. I weep for the teachers and children who have to teach and learn to take tests instead of to think; I weep for four more years of the dismantling of our civil rights; I weep for the greed that has created a global economic collapse; I weep for the loss of life and limbs of our soldiers, US, Canadian, English and others all we have lost in the US over the past eight years.I weep too for Barack Obama for the seemingly overwhelming challenge he faces. I weep for what the world has become and I pray for the vision of what the world can become.

On 911, I called our son, Kris, to be sure he was safe and was relieved to learn that he was in San Francisco away from his Chelsea home and Tribeca office during that traumatic time.  It took three weeks for him to get home and he expressed that it was hard to be so far from his home when it was experiencing such an intense tragedy.  Oddly, this is a metaphor for me today.  After experiencing such a disappointing outcome after working so hard to get Kerry elected, I am sad not to have been at the Boulder Theatre with all the hardworking democrats to celebrate such a fantastic outcome.  But I can’t help but wonder where all those people were four years ago when the writing was already on the wall.  However, maybe we have learned that all good things come to those who wait.

I am renewed in my faith in my country and many of my fellow citizens.  With our work to reclaim this small orchard and develop an organic farm, I am creating the change, at least in our new life in Canada, that I wish to see in the world.  I am re-dedicated to thinking globally and acting locally as stewards of this land, which will grow to support us and others holistically and environmentally.

 In hope, with peace and gladness,