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As the Raven Flew

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It’s taken me longer to finish this project than I thought it would, mostly because I’ve had to focus on working and my mental health and I wasn’t really able to effectively return to long-overdue ATRF-related things. Draining would be a good word. Unfortunately. But weariness and I became well-acquainted on Canada’s highways last year, and if there’s one thing I learned on the 25 km uphill climb to the summit of Le Massif, it’s not to give up just because something is hard.

So I didn’t give up. I poured everything I had into this.

The booklet is around 30 pages. Writing and photography interweaving specific stories and individuals into a Canada-wide reflection on what this country has been and could become. Self-published thanks to the EDGE Network and Staples. I’ve packaged them up and they’re ready to send to finish off Kickstarter rewards, but I have a handful left over. Hoping to sell them for $15 to make up for how far in the red this project as put me. Contact me if you’re interested.

Here’s part of the conclusion of the booklet, one of my favourite parts:

Canada is as broken as it ever was. The violence and discrimination that underlies our complex, bitter history is as present now as it was in the legislative buildings of Charlottetown in 1867 or on the streets of Winnipeg in 1919. You could call our last 150 years the latest chapter in a centuries-long story of resource-based colonial oppression and you wouldn’t be wrong.

But you would be telling just half a story. The other half is the northern lights above the melting permafrost of Inuvik, glimmering above tragedy with the quiet hope of an Arctic sky. It’s the little boys at the Sagamok pow wow and the sunrise at Cape Spear, young and fleeting and as inevitable as the dawn of a new day.

We need more than inspirational quotes to face the next 50 years, and we need more than half a story. We need every piece of what we have been, because every piece that carries shame, or loss, every voice that speaks of resilience, or vision—every single one of them is a human story. Each story is a starting point for empathy.

I’m writing this now from a sunbeam in southwestern British Columbia. Things are quieter now and I’m starting to feel a little bit like I used to. I even miss biking sometimes. All in time.

But now, as my sister has taken to saying, sayonara. So long. From my heart to yours, I hope 2017 meant something.

“Wherever you go becomes a part of you somehow.” Anita Desai

Jonathon is a semi-professional adventurer with roots in education and activism.

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