Valerie’s Voice in La Ronge

We heard the call of the loons in the early more hours and felt the fresh breeze from our open window this morning, for the first time in three weeks.

We have kept the windows closed during the Severe Air Quality Statement put in place because of the wildfires in northern Saskatchewan and beyond.

People in some of our northern neighbours

hoods have been evacuated from their homes, some twice in recent weeks, and the wildfire season is earlier than we have experienced.

The wildfires and air quality statements have brought back memories for many of the mass evacuation of 2015.

I am grateful to the Lac La Ronge Indian Band (LLRIB) for providing space with air scrubbers to for folks to get out a chance to breathe healthy air. We visited several times during this past three weeks.

It’s amazing how beautiful a breeze and feel; how lovely the loon’s call sounds after the quiet of the last three weeks. And being so early in the wildfire season, it is quite possible this is not the last time we will experience the Air Quality Statement effects again.

In 2015 I created a column briefly, Evacuation Rollercoaster. Maybe this is air quality rollercoastering now.

It’s been an amazing morning to feel the blessing of the loon’s call; the fresh air, the cool breeze. We’re part of the environment, at least for this morning.

It gets me thinking how often we take things for granted. Usually, these elements are the simplest parts of life, but have their own complexity.

This morning, sitting here and writing this column, is a moment of profound peace in a busy, sometimes hectic, life.

Every moment of peace is a treasure in this complicated world. For that moment, nothing is rollercoasting up and down and around. It’s still, it’s clear, it’s just what it is.

I remember having a poster up on my fridge door years ago. It said, “What is, is.”

So often we complicate our lives with so much busyness, that we lose sight of what’s important.

For a few minutes I can reflect on the beauty surrounding me, the sun on the lake water, the bird songs, the breeze coming through the window.

I have missed these things in the past three weeks.

My heart goes out to those who have been evacuated to different parts of the country because of wildfires and smoke. People, who have had their homes and communities threatened, and been forced to move temporarily into a different environment with all the uncertainty of evacuation.

We’ve heard of people across the country who have lost their homes to wildfires and my heart goes out to them.

And I know the forest has to burn to rejuvenate, to be healthy. My heart hurts when I see all the clearcutting around our northern forest. It’s sad. And so, I take enjoyment and peace for the moment to appreciate the simple gifts, the gift of peace, in this often-turbulent world.