Veggie Voyagers

Couple travelled 30 states and 3 Canadian provinces between 7/07 and 5/08 running their 1987 Ford truck on straight veggie oil. The blog continues with a focus on the natural world and energy politics from a personal perspective

Tuesday, October 9, 2007

Lake Ontario and the White Pelican

We arrived in Hamilton, Ontario in time to have dinner at an all-you-can-eat Mandarin restaurant with Sally and Sheldon Praiser.

It was a feast and then some!
The next day dawned really warm and humid and Michael processed veggie oil by a small lake near the assisted living residence where Sally lives, Shalom Village.
I was enjoying the birds who were very active, eating the dried seeds of trees and weeds along the lake, when I met a birder in search of a white pelican. I had just had a wonderful surprise, seeing resident Mute Swans, and wasn’t too excited about his pelican since I’d seen them often in California as well as coming across the country. He said they weren’t found in the Toronto area and he was very excited about it…later I saw him and he said he’d seen it and described seeing the pelican’s unique profile and the excitement that gave him. I knew exactly what he meant about the joy in seeing that bird and there was something outstanding for me in that encounter. The joy of discovering something really wonderful for the first time and resonating with another person, even a stranger, who could feel that wonder too.
I was sad to leave Sally but we headed along Lake Ontario to Niagara Falls rather than stay another night. She is fragile but has a wonderful commitment to enjoying the life that she lives in the moment the very best she can.
After too much freeway time, I was dismayed by the commercialism and craziness on the Canada side of Niagara but when we’d parked and walked down to the overlook, we stood in awe with people from all over the world, and there was nothing but the power and beauty of the falls at sunset and that kind of white pelican joy throughout the crowd.
After the natural light had gone and extravagant washes of projected colored lights splashed the falls, we headed out.
The poor Canadians were lined up and at a standstill on the bridge trying to get home after their holiday weekend in the US, (enjoying the new power of their “loonies,” which are now $1.02 worth in the US.) Nobody but us was headed to the US so we returned again to the mother ship through customs without any official notice whatsoever of all our strange greasy cans on the front and rear of the voyager. (I was also glad that all our collective old trespass charges weren’t on a computer somewhere. I’d hate to be like Medea Benjamin who couldn’t get into Canada over this trumped up reason. Canadian radio pointed out that trespass isn’t even a misdemeanor in Canada and was not a crime that legally could keep someone out of the country. Keeping her out was purely political.)
We headed for the scenic route along the Ontario shoreline through the deserted streets of Niagara, New York, which seemed mostly boarded up, block after block, another alarming comparison with Canada’s vital economy.
So, tonight as I think of where we have been today and where we are going, along another unique Great Lake coast, we are parked between a forest and a grave yard for the people of Youngstown. There’s nothing glib to be said about the peacefulness of the place or even about the history of the community of the living or the dead. We came in the dark and the night is close around us and I’m at peace with that and grateful for the lives we have lived and for this unique day of Thanksgiving.

Michael and Sasha got stung by bees this next morning. Both are doing as well as can be expected. We continue east through rainstorms.


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