Valerie’s Voice in La Ronge

I’m writing this column in the final hours of 2023. It’s been a year of surprises in some way, particularly the recent weather.

The long summer months filled with smoke brought back memories of the summer we were all evacuated from the north because of wildfires. This year, the fires were more intense in other places, the smoke spread across Canada and into the United States.  The Earth is a small place in some ways, connected.

The year is marked, as every other one, with the loss of people important to us from our lives, and the connection with new, or former friends.

My understanding and connection to the environment enhanced with the realization that, when I heard the haunting voice of the loon, the air was clear and I could open the windows. Most of the days the loon was absent, so was clean air and I rejoiced.

Those days became holy days amid the smoke-filled hours of being shut in. We are grateful to the Lac La Ronge Indian Band (LLRIB) for bringing in the large air scrubbers and sharing them with all Lac La Ronge residents.

The garden always takes up much of my summer hours and this past year was no exception. Chives, asparagus and strawberries flourished and we’ve added six raspberry canes, which we hope will give us lots of berries for the coming summer.

There have always been stories to follow throughout the year, and this week is no different. Some within the neighbourhood and others took us travelling, either by car or by phone to other parts of the north.

And that doesn’t change as the deadline for the January 2024 Northern Advocate looms. The list is varied and I never say it’s final until the copy actually goes to print. Because I know that can change in an instant.

I still think after more than 20 years in the newspaper business, it’s always full of surprises.

When I actually did layout on a newspaper years ago, I actually had one paper done at 3 p.m. I was amazed! Amazed that is … for about 15 minutes!

The phone rang letting us know of a light plane crash in the area, a wooded area not unlike La Ronge area, and I was off. I got photos and the story, redid my layout and headed for home after midnight. In my job it is a honour and privilege to tell the people’s stories, some heroic, many ordinary people, doing extraordinary things in the life.

As this year comes to an end, our world is in turmoil in many places. If I think of one thing, it’s one of the times I had the privilege of hearing Barbara Coloroso, who my friend calls “the goddess of children”, speak.

She emphasized the need to teach our children compassion, a most important gift, which our world so needs at this time.

To quote an old song, “What the world needs now, is love” and I might ad compassion, respect, and love.

We know now, I think, that conflict and war is not, and never will be, the path to peace. We need a love revolution, in its truest sense – Love rooted in honesty, kindness and truth. We need to are about out Earth and all its aspects and fully appreciate the beauty we have around us.

Wishing you all a very Happy Holiday and new beginnings, which are always possible every morning as we awake to a new day!