Monday, July 09, 2018

The Need Tree - extrait (via Poetry Film Live)

A memory: I’m with my brother during the summer. It’s a Saturday morning. We’re waiting by our family’s old car: a second-hand Volkswagen that sits in the driveway, gathering heat like a tent that’s been zipped up and set in the sun. There’s a huge tree close to the car – an elm. All the neighbourhood’s elms are slowly dying of Dutch Elm disease; it’s the sort of environmental crisis that people in Ottawa, our home town, get concerned about. Terms like “global warming” are far off in the future. Fear of nuclear war, however, is not: my parents are deeply involved in peace movements – against the Bomb, against Vietnam.

My brother and I are bored. We’ve been told by our parents to “wait by the car”. We’re all going to the beach. My dad, however, has to make what he tells us are just a few phone calls. Hard-working at his job as an architect, and hard-working as an activist, he constantly seems busy. This is both a source of amusement and annoyance in our family; every family outing seems to involve a wait time, made all the more drawn out and hard to endure by the summer heat – not the heat itself, but the sense one has in the summer of time slowing, of time doubling, or tripling itself, like an ancient time machine.
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