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The Polar Vortex of Life

Blog_PolarVortexFive years ago, I left the downtown area and decided it was time to get back to my roots more, and move to a more natural surrounding. The urban jungle was destroying me from the inside out, chipping away at my soul slowly & steadily. The noise, the crowds, the fighting, the truly useless politics on every self-justified side, the pretentious attitude of being a little bit better than one another. The transition didn’t happen as easily as expected. When I first moved here, I spent a lot of time hiding at my computers for the first year or two, just like I did downtown. I felt that it was all just too good to be true, and that somehow it would all be taken away like so much else had been (so don’t get too attached to it). Friends tried to pull me outside and it just didn’t work.  You have to do these things on your own. And then one day, the light bulb went off.  “What am I doing in here with all that beauty out there?” Good question, who cares…just get out! Took me long enough. And that was the beginning of remembering who I was, and what I stood for in the first place. Meandering into a bit of history first: Moving to Toronto was supposed to be the start of a new life for me. When it all collapsed in such a short time, it pretty well crushed me in all ways possible. I just wasn’t prepared for another crack to the jaw when it was still broken from the last sucker punch. On top of that, my health was hanging on by a thread. But that’s life isn’t it? Things don’t work out like that bullshit “American Dream” we were sold in ads and glossy magazines. How hard you work or how much you care seldom has much to do with your actual success. In fact, unless your one of the lucky few, don’t hold your breath on there being too much left of the world as was previously known as we get older. Three generations totally abandoning any real insight into how our actions will effect the future has not been a good thing. [Experimental chemicals; no dangers, it’s all safe. Even in the food supply,  and just look at all this great stuff! Overpopulation; C’mon there’s more than enough resources to go around & all life is precious. Shifting our reliance on fossil fuels; Are you kidding? We need all our cars in the driveway, and I love all our disposable stuff.] Gee what a downer aren’t I?  Not the sort of thing that anyone wants to hear at the suburban dinner table exactly. “So Bob, how bout them (insert sports team/shallow nonsense here), what a year eh?” But don’t get me wrong. I’m more positive than I come across. At some point after all, it’s bound to effect your own community. That’s when the healing will begin from all this nightmarish insanity. Everyone will be faced with it. Where we went wrong and how it all happened? (Let the finger pointing begin) And when that day comes, don’t get too down on yourself unless you knew and just chose not to care. Some people got the cards where the destructive things attributed to their success in life. Would I have been any different if it worked like that for me? I’d like to think so, but probably not. We are products of our experience and perception. In the grand scheme of things, this planet is billions of years old. It has been through many cycles of time. Our species will come and go in the blink of an eye. Like a petri dish where cultivated bacteria multiply too fast and consume all the sugar jelly in the container, then die out fast & hard. Maybe next time we’ll form smaller colonies and not only conserve the petri dish, but even consider how to keep it going and evolve. If you can see it from this perspective, this is the positive side of it.

It will be up to the latter generations to make certain we don’t become a giant toxic waste dump with no flourishing life. My own generation has mostly taken off on the same destructive path. I grew up being warned about brainwashing, subtle marketing to the masses and advertising on these issues to make people dumb, numb & uncaring. Well I’ll be damned…it’s true. It’s not that humanity has really changed that much throughout history, We’ve always been violent & selfish. The new aspect is that when Rome falls this time around, it will be a global domino effect.  Rather than the local water cooler talk being [“Hey did you hear about Rome? Yeah I had a brother who worked there, damn shame!”] This time, Rome could be one of many countries which will most certainly effect everyone else.


Back to the subject at hand. So the slow and steady rebuild of life this time dropped me in a beautiful place. If anything…these things make you really analyze who you are and what you stand for in the first place. What your priorities are. And what you are going to do with your remaining time on Earth. Permanent illnesses with harsh consequences makes you think about these things more than I care to admit. Everyone will have to go through it. It’s an inescapable element of human existence. The advantage of dealing with it while younger is that you have less regrets as you get older. There is a hidden silver lining, even in dark chaotic storm clouds.

In the past few years I’ve had to be more honest with myself.  I’m not really a city person, though I’ve lived in various large urban areas over the years also. I’ve faked it attempting to gain some measure of success & stability, all of which has failed miserably. Perhaps this is what happens when you are not true to yourself. I grew up in rural areas and have lived in some pretty remote areas, including a far away island off the Bay of Fundy. I’ve always had a deep connection with nature, the land, and animals. I thank all of my parental role models for that in a very big way! All of them, in their respective ways considered a real respect for the balance of nature and ecology to be fundamentally important. It was what I grew up with. To know where your food comes from, to understand that all things come at a price – and usually not a dollar value. I’d go so far to say that it is this connection that most inspires me to create music or do anything of real substance for that matter. It is sad for me to see so many people in such a large urban area that have obviously never developed that connection, and most likely never will or desire to. Perhaps if they stopped plowing over everything with concrete, and took the time to get to know what ‘could’ be right in their backyard – they would not be so downright unhappy so much of the time. Perhaps if it wasn’t all about money, politics and chasing phantoms. While this may be what the world has become, it’s not the world I want to see or be surrounded by. It’s a shame it took me so long to figure this out with such clarity. But all things come around full circle eventually.

I feel very fortunate to live where I do now (the Scarborough Bluffs).  It truly is one of the most beautiful places in the GTA, and also one of the last remaining pockets of real undisturbed nature left. Though that is rapidly changing if developers have their way. Trust that if they do get their way, I’m out of here! That means, good and done with the entire Toronto area. Toronto loves to talk on a mass level about being a taxpayer. It’s the favorite word here to throw around. So if being a “taxpayer” also means paving over the last wild places left, so folks with designer shoes and Starbucks cups can walk here on weekends; then I don’t want to “pay taxes” here anymore.  I’ll simply pay them somewhere else where I feel the priorities are more in line with my own.

This winter (2013-2014) has been colder than any past year I remember since moving to Toronto. The term “Polar Vortex” has been thrown around as the latest trendy buzzword. But on a personal level, this year really has been a polar vortex of sorts for my life. I am both humbled and thankful for it strangely.


The extreme cold has made for some of the most amazing landscape vistas and ice formations. Stunning skies with perfect blue hues, sometimes steely gray with incredibly bright sun reflecting off the cold atmosphere and contrasting dark ominous clouds moving rapidly. I was even able to witness a spectacular set of sun dogs. Two perfect rainbow sun reflections directly to the right & left of the sun on the path of a perfect full circle.  And to top it off, a full rainbow on the top of the circle. Without major photo gear and filters, you won’t really capture the majesty of such an event.  Though I did attempt you’ll see in the gallery below. The Sun Dogs were the first experience since living on coastal Maine where I felt that deeply profound connection again. It served as a perfect reminder of what was important to me, and that somehow….despite all of the chosen destruction and self inflicted chaos our species is causing. That it will all be OK in the end. Regardless of how it goes down. It was a message of hope.

My camera equipment is nothing special.  It’s not even a real camera!  It’s an HTC Amaze smartphone that I got when I had to switch mobile carriers mid 2013.  The camera on it seemed surprisingly good. Since I was hiking most days anyhow, why not start capturing what I was seeing every day? And that mean’s when it’s cold too.  The summers are stunning, but the winter season is more stark, and beautiful with almost no people to contend with. The trails are all yours practically.

POLAR VORTEX = DAMN COLD

Should you use that as an excuse not to go out and see this for yourself?

YOUR CALL

That’s what warm clothes are for!


So I present to you:  FROZEN VISTA’S – VOL. 1

Stay well, be healthy, and don’t forget that there is always more going on just down the road from you than meets the eye.

Author: The Tribe

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1 Comment

  1. Well said Beau ! Honest, inciteful, hopeful .. beautiful vistas too .. thx for your inspired thoughts and personal history .. cheers my friend . E .

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