Wednesday, 26 September 2012

Worry for the Future: Peering Beyond the Horizon

“What do you plan to do once you finish here?”

I dread answering that question, and all like variants of it. It has less to do with the question itself, as it does with the answer. I don’t know. It seems that all my aspirations for the future always find themselves firmly lodged in the back of my throat when I attempt an answer. This morning I was asked that question, and my broken record squeaked out an anxiety-laden “I don’t know.” Some days I find that answer to be comforting; other days, it is petrifying. 

You can't see past the horizon: 

Do clear skies or stormy waters await?
 (Photo: Ed Millar) 

This morning, I was faced with that question before the dreaming sickness had fully left my body. 

When I try to imagine myself a year, two years, three years, or any other time down the line, I tend to see only where I hope to be. I know what I want to be, but I am afraid in providing that answer, as both I, and the inquirer, know that will most likely not be the case. Maybe that is what the question really means; “Where do you hope to be?” Yet we, including myself, tend to phrase that question in the expectation of an affirmative answer. Well the truth is I don’t know if I will ever have an answer, and if I did, would it be one worth giving? Or would I be too embarrassed to admit I ever had one? I know for certain some parts of that answer, but I will never know all the parts, and I don't believe I ever will. 

As our last week in Keels is winding down, we have spent the majority of our time in interviews, and wrapping up whatever work is left. Today while chatting with John Ducey after our interview, we spoke for a bit about the future of the fishery. John is worried that it won’t hold; certainly not in the direction that it is heading now. This morning in Noah’s interview, Phonse showed us how they made cod traps and nets, and stated that soon there won’t be anyone left who remembers how these things were made. Last night in Trinity, Jerry mentioned that traditional outport life is collapsing all around us. Many of these fishing communities are gradually becoming subsumed into the world of gentrified summer residences. 

Everyone’s worried of what the future might hold.

Yet in spite of this worry, we find ourselves soldiering on towards whatever dark and foreboding future we fear. Because we are not made of the sort of stuff which would bend so easily under panic, stress, and worry, that we would throw up our arms and proclaim our surrender.

As Donna Butt stated: there will always be people who want to live here, and there will always be people who want to reach that future. 

Not all paths reveal their end, but I think

 I know where this one leads. (Photo: Ed Millar)

Life will show us where it will.
I hope it is the one I had in mind.

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