September 20, 2002
Saint John, New Brunswick, Canada
10:53am I just got off the phone with a member of the fire department relaying a message from the chief, who stated that I wouldn't be able to have a community bonfire on Fort Howe or Fort La Tour, or anywhere in the city for that matter, because "There's no legislation that supports that. You can burn grass, but there's no provision for large bonfires." He said, "What if it got out of control? No one here, not even the chief, would want to take responsibility for that." Mayor Shirley suggested I have the fire on Fort Howe, saying that Bernie Tupmin had fires there often. The Parks and Rec. people had no problem with me hosting a fire, and said all I'd need to do is get permission from the chief. I couldn't get ahold of the fire chief to talk, just like I couldn't get the Police chief to meet with me after I heard he told the Boys and Girls Club not to let me do a show for them because I was trouble... a skateboard outlaw!
I'm trying to set up a community meeting to share ideas, visions and dreams. It's gotta be an event that's fun and dramatic, offering a new perspective on our city. I don't want to be inside standing at the front of a room; it's gotta be non-hierarchical, a circle, so everyone will feel included. Bonfires are perfect for that, no one being in the spotlight, equally sitting on the same level, passing around the talking stick, so everyone has a chance to be heard.
Tuesday morning, I brought friends Tim, Tony and Stephanie to help kayak guide cruise ship passengers. They had paddled before, but this was their first time guiding. As we were unpacking the boats, a geologist from the NB museum, Dr. Randy Miller, was heading off in kayak to check out a very rare billion year old pre-Cambrian fossil: "an algae that formed in rings and looks like a cabbage cut in half." The fossils were at the water's edge along the route we took the cruise ship passengers and I got close look at them. Such an amazing spectacle in our back yard!
It was a warm day and the water conditions were perfectly calm. I had a great conversation with a friendly gentleman from Dallas, Texas who owned an 80 million dollar woman's clothing company. He called me "Austin", because I told him about the time I spent there, and after the tour he gave me a ten dollar hand shake.
When we finished work, David loaned me a couple kayaks to take Tim, Tony and Stephanie out the Shag Rocks to play with sealions, then over to explore Partridge Island. Rounding the point at Partridge, where currents of the river and tide cause turbulent conditions, Tim capsized trying to surf 3 foot swells, which I had warned him can be tricky, but he said, "Slow down... no way!" I gave him a T-rescue and was back in the boat in under a minute. It's good to fall in sometimes to gain a healthy respect for the water and know how to get back in again. He's the fourth friend that has capsized paddling with me. I'm not afraid to take them out in challenging conditions, cuz I know I can get them back in. Good thing Tim was close. Tony and Stephanie were more spread out away from me and it was worrisome. I want to start taking high school students out on the ocean. It's a big risk on my behalf, but if I don't, they may never have the experience, and I think that's what they need if they are to fully appreciated where we live.
Yesterday, I took Chris out paddling to the cliffs on the Saint John river across from Greenhead. This city has beautiful wilderness minutes from downtown-- hundred foot cliffs straight up from the river, reflecting golden in the afternoon. There was no one else around. I got out of the boat a couple times to scope-out routes and did some soloing. I had climbing gear in the boat, but the light was fading to quick to gear up. At one moment, half way up a cliff, too scared to go higher in case I couldn't get down, I took a moment to soak in were I was. From that perspective... looking down river toward Westside, I watched a fog bank roll in shrouding everything in mist--- it was awe-inspiring. These experiences and perspectives are what make me love this land so much; and they are what I want to share with the people of this city, and I am, but on a larger scale. It's so good for the head; it's therapeutic; and physical; I love the tired feeling after an adventure.
But the masses here are not in touch with their environment, and their apathy shows in lack of attendance at public meetings like the one last night at the library, protesting the switch to orimulsion fuel at the power plant, a cheaper dirty oil they use in third world countries and have rejected everywhere else. The other option for the plant is natural gas, which we'll have plenty of piped from Nova Scotia, but the power company(which is run by the provincial government) isn't interested in talking about that, preferring the cheaper dirty fuel, and the general public doesn't feel like they have any say in the matter. Only about thirty or forty people were at the meeting, which didn't surprise me, although this matter is of great importance to everyone who cares about the air they breath. Leanne and I were the only youth in attendance. No one came from the university.
My hope is that by getting folks more in touch with their environment through outdoor recreation and creating public gatherings were we can share ideas and important issues, we will be more connected and empowered to fight the good fight against capitalism and consumption, which is a battle with ourselves. It's called good public education.
Email from The Blue Fairy, a pixy love on The Rock:
Yep, use the photos as you please, be sure to mention what we're doing out here with Bannikin, creating our own little paradise with a big hand from mother nature! That would be great actually, might generate some interest in our project and area. I was hoping it would generate enough interest from you to entice you to drop over for another visit sometime when you're not busy. I know, this isn't as easy as it sounds, if it was, I'd have been over to see you before now! Its in my mind to see you somehow before you leave and head south, so perhaps that vision will materialize!
Pixy Queen... I love the photo of you at the fire. It inspired some dancing around the fire of my own a night ago after the potluck I had here. I love having a bunch of friends over so they can all meet each other. I have a wide verity of friends, all very different in age and interests, so it's cool to see them all having a great time together, cuz they wouldn't likely get to know each other otherwise.
Last night I watched Fargo with my friend Leanne, then we laid in bed and she read aloud from On The Road. She is the girl I went to the prom with in St. Andrew's and we both wore pixy wings. After the light went out we were laying there in bed playing with the energy flowing through our hands. It's amazing, cuz it's for real. I could feel the pressure of her hands on mine, and feel tingling fingertips as if taps where energy poured out through.... although our hands didn't touch. When I met Samantha in Austin Texas, she had me lay down with eyes closed, and she'd put her hands over various chakras on my body without touching and ask me to guess where her hand were. I was right almost every time. I'm starting to get more curious about this. Just thought I'd share it in case you have any stories of the same, or know what I should look into. I met a woman in Moncton who does Reiki, so I'll find her.
I'm off to Unity, Maine.... to do my show at the Common Ground Fair, on the kids Stage. It's a huge granola gathering-- Farmers and hippies and crafty folks... and my friend Danielle will meet me there... and it's my birthday today, so I'm sure it's gonna be a rockin' weekend! It's a three hour drive so I should leave soon.
I'm planning to tour NS with my show in November before heading south, so i could jump to The Rock too. If you could help me set up another show in Corner Brook or somewhere else to help pay the way... that would be great!
See you soon!
Happy birthday my love! Yay! I will for sure celebrate this day in your honour, so worthy a spirit to have entered our realm at this time and space, I feel very fortunate that our paths have crossed. Thanks to your parents who made you happen!
I'm happy to hear that I inspired some fire dancing, you inspire me frequently, so its nice I can return the favour.
Its pretty special when you encounter someone who is of a similar frequency, energies flow openly and sometimes intensely. Both people have to be open to letting it all flow freely, accept the energy from the earth, the universe, conduct it through your body, and release it to the intended recipient who is of course open to receiving! I'm very aware of my chakras, or rather they make themselves known to me. Often times I forget to give them the attention they deserve and they get blocked, then they remind me to take time out and focus on myself, to work on opening them so they can receive information and energy from 'out there'. So, yes, I guess you could say that I'm 'out there'! Different chakra centers deal with different areas of your psyche. Try this with someone who is like minded: Hold a crystal pendulum over each chakra. Energy moves through your chakras in a spiral pattern, no surprise as most natural things tend to move that way. Crystals are great conductors of energy. Have I given you one of my amethyst crystals? I believe I have, if not let me know and I'll wrap one for you. The copper that I wrap them in aids in the conduction as well. Anyway, if the chakra is open and energy is flowing freely through it, the crystal can pick up on the frequency and start to move in a spiral pattern. If it is blocked, the crystal may not move at all, or swing back and forth. It is interesting to learn about what corresponds to each chakra, especially once you find out which ones are open and /or blocked. There are ways to clear blocked chakras, which I could get into, some other time if you're interested.
Enjoy your weekend, I'm envious! Sounds very interesting, for sure you'll meet neat people! I feel a need to get out and experience other people and places, in due time....
We'll talk more about the possibility of setting up some shows for you over here, it would be great to make it into St. John's if you had the time, a show would go over great in there! A cross island tour is perhaps in order!
Love and respect,
Just wanted to write a little note to thank you sincerely for the show. The staff and girls all said it was awesome. I'd like to
apologize for not being able to make the show. I would have really love to
be there. I really have so many questions about " The Far Out School" and
how the development is going with that. I know you are making an incredible
difference in peoples lives everyday. I have experienced difficulties
already with my daughter in the regular school system and wonder everyday if I am
giving her tools to develop to her fullest or robbing her of her spirit. I
agree that there have to be better ways to educate our children and youth
and that institutionalization is not the answer for everybody.
Mom's everywhere struggle to balance parenting, social life, and
relationships let alone going out to work or school. Pregnant teens in this
city are monitored crefully on their parenting skills and relationships.
The time they spend in school is also monitored. Their finances are
threatened to be taken away if they so choose to spend the first year with
their babies, which is an entitlement of any adult mother who recieves a
maternity leave. Many of these girls don't fit into the school system as we
know it. They often have missed alot of time nearing their due date and
again when their babies are born. They have all the regular pain, morning
sickness and doctor's appointments that a pregnant women experiences with
most likely added financial difficulties and peers, family,who have no
concept of what they are going through. These girls would benefit greatly
from a more supportive and adaptable learning environment as would so many
I am excited to see further developments with your school and would like
to help in any way I could. Thanks again so much for the show. It was really