And now, Dear Readers, the word of the week: turbidity. That is, cloudiness. Murkiness. Sediment stirred up and suspended.
Last week the Greater Vancouver area was lashed by a particularly virulent winter storm. The wind and rain knocked out power (in some places for up to 48 hours), felled trees, damaged buildings, and closed roads. Chateau FiL escaped relatively unscathed; the lights stayed on and the three stratospheric fir trees in our back garden stood strong. There were a few fallen branches that would have given me or Dearest Wife quite a headache had we been taking out the rubbish at the wrong hour, but thankfully our timing was good.
Our main inconvenience has been the need to boil our water. You see, the authorities have advised that the storm has washed unprecedented amounts of sediment into Vancouver's rerservoirs, therefore increasing the theoretical risk of bacterial growth. So best not to drink or brush your pearly whites with untreated tap water. Actually, the boffins said: "As turbidity increases, there is a potential for increased risk of gastro-intestinal illness. Until turbidity returns to acceptable levels residents may wish to use an alternate drinking water source ... or boil their drinking water." I pictured the press release being written by Muppet Beaker. As a sign of our modern times, Dear Friends, Vancouverites reacted by cleaning out every shop of bottled water. "Why boil? I want my water NOW! Instant gratification, please. What's that? Landfill? Discarded plastic bottles? I don't understand what you're trying to say."
Actually, for FiL the storm had the proverbial silver lining, in the form of a silver car. You see, on Wednesday I had taken the family car for servicing. Not the Squealing Pigmobile, but our Golden Pimpwagon: an airbag-laden, cream-leather-seated (Oh, yeah, baby!!) Volvo V40. However, the garage was caught in one of the power outages and I therefore had to drive the loaner car, a 2006, 2.5 litre, turbo S60 sedan for three day instead of the one. Oh, the hardship. Dearest Friends, I'm really not a car aficionado, but it was rather fun driving around in that overpowered executive chariot.
Coincidentally, as Vancouver scurried to recover from the storm, I found myself sitting in a hotel ballroom listening to four experts discuss disaster preparadeness and business continuity. You know, how to keep your firm working even when the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse are sweeping across the land. They talked about Asian flu pandemics, of the coming Big Quake, of fires, of floods, and spooky terrorists. I have very mixed feelings on this whole matter. On the one hand, it is valuable to be prepared. Fire extinguishers in the kitchen, blankets in the car, that sort of thing. Yes, we have our recommended five-day supply of food and water in the garage, just in case of earthquake. But on the other hand, I'm wary of people's fear being whipped up into a paralyzing froth of paranoia and anxiety. Yes, the world is a dangerous place with much that can hurt you. But it is also one of great beauty and wonder. Spend your life hiding in an emotional or physical fallout shelter, and you'll miss so much.
Back to the weather. As I type I'm seeing the sun for the first time in eons. For today, the weatherman forecast more rain and wind. Indeed, since even before last week's storms we've been under one of those wintery palls that makes you feel like dawn hasn't properly dawned all day. Your watch says high noon, but the sediment of grey clouds suspended in the sky tell your heart and spirit that its twilight. And though I find Vancouver gorgeous in any conditions, it has been hard going to remain sunny of disposition. I've also been experiencing a spot of emotional turbidity as well, almost as if nature's huffing and puffing has stirred up more than just mud. Lately I have found myself musing on relationships, in the broadest sense of the word. With people, living and dead, near and far, intimate and distant. With events, long gone, recently past, and in the present. With myself. But the dust motes that float in the dull rays filtering through the window are a salutory reminder that everything, including turbidity, is transitory.
Post scriptum: For most of the coming week I will be in the throbbing metropolis of Toronto on business. I will therefore probably not have much, if any, opportunity to blog (though I may have a cunning plan). So if indeed I am scarce, that is why.