It’s funny how we Cree seem to know what is happening in other communities, usually through the radio, via this magazine or by the totally reliable and accurate method known as word of mouth. The news travels faster than wildfires and can sometimes be just as damaging. When the word is out of range, just like a fire, we seem to be obviously oblivious to its smoke and heat. When the word gets too close to home, we tend to panic and leave aside our plans or dreams to be in favour of comfort, ease, condolences (served in liquid form in lands that bide by Quebec liquor laws) and convenience.

Why can’t we fight the fires that burn within our communities, fires that wreak more damage than a natural fire, which rejuvenates and helps create new life, rather than tear apart lives, families, communities and nations? We know that natural fires, when left to their own ways, burn out the old growth, create growth material with the ashes, and make way for the new plants. Animals that lived in forests had nothing to eat when the forests were dry and after the inferno was over, the new shoots made good fodder, which made better hunting and berry picking, and so on.

Our forest fires these days seem to be out of control to the unknowing eye but in the long run, things balance out and start over again. Now, try to imagine society as a forest and the word as the fire and when things get hot we leave and/or hose it over until it is out, huh? What about that?

Lets say we let it burn until the old are out and there’s enough manure left over to start a new society actually based on our values and let it grow from there.

Speaking of forest fires, I actually got to smell one but never really saw one. They seemed to be everywhere, in Val d’ Or, the mushroom-like smoke seemed reminiscent of movies or bikinis, can’t really remember what; and then in Chisasibi, where I nearly panicked because I had to leave town to catch my plane home, it seemed a little surreal with the haze and flashing lights. And way up here where the whales play, I actually confirmed that there are enough trees to burn to cause the neighbourhood to wonder if a joy ride to Rouyn or other exotic places in a big military aircraft merited our ho’s and hum’s. Yes, just another forest fire. No reason to panic folks, it’s just good old nature doing her job.

Talking about nature, au contraire, I hear say that fires are sometimes set by firemen, who are secretly fascinated with fire or just plain old need some excitement and money. But that’s just what I might have heard on some news broadcast. I suspect that lazy campers and tourists are more to blame. I once watched a promo video where some campy vixen emerged from a scraggy lake like Bo Derek and forever convinced me that tourism was the way to go. None the less, they also made incredibly large bonfires everywhere they went where long trails of sparks rose steadily in the hot dry summer air. Just the right conditions for a summer blaze, I’d say.

Well, enough of the conspeories (short for conspiracy theories which is quite often lambasted about on trash TV and tabloids) and give momma nature her dues, she’s just doing her job, so don’t complain. Stay home and watch the news.

(By the way, I do not endorse what I just wrote, as I know it is wiser to leave when the fire gets too close).