West Van Fire Fighters Plant a Forest of Miracles: 100 Trees in 29 Minutes
In so many corners of the world, and our country, we witness a state of affairs that can be completely demoralizing. From a new generation of super storms laying waste coastal settlements as diverse as Manhattan and Tacloban, to abuses of power that show no regard for the rule of law or moral seemliness, it may seem that the prospects of living secure in a deeper, richer humanity are receding. The best way to answer any temptation to despondency is to look closely at the details of what's actually working, to find the heroism and valour that endure and shine out in the darkness. We don't have to look very far.
West Vancouver's firefighters descended on Dundarave Beach this morning like an angelic platoon. In 29 minutes they transformed the beach, planting 100 grand firs -- the most spectacular trees the Festival's ever seen -- in 29 minutes. They took us from bare ground to a forest of miracles at a rate of 3.4 minutes per tree.
Great Canadian Landscaping helped in a big way, prepping the site the morning before. Before they could dig the holes for the trees, the Great Canadian crew had to use blow torches to thaw the sod.
Here's why the planting of the trees was heroic. The morning the ground was thawed out and the holes dug, we saw a man who had been sleeping the night at Dundarave Beach. He had no socks and not much of anything else, but he managed to survive a minus 4 degree night.
In a powerful way, the first responders to the fact of his homelessness, and the fact of the growing numbers of our friends, neighbours and family on the North Shore who are or are at risk of homelessness, come from the ranks of West Vancouver's firefighters.
They have yet again, and again with a spirit of camaraderie shot through with a pragmatic joy, helped us put into the ground a forest of Christmas trees that has to date raised over $105,000 for the Lookout Emergency Aid Society's North Shore Shelter. In less than half an hour they have shown the true spirit of our community, and the bright spirit of the coming Christmas season, by making sure all of us have the means to make sure no one is left out in the cold.
We owe them more than our thanks.
It is in our hands now to be heroic in our own right. Join the Festival's tree sponsors for the Dundarave Christmas Fair -- the most epic Christmas tree decorating party in Canada -- Noon to Dusk, Saturday November 30th. Give generously to the Lookout Emergency Aid Society North Shore Shelter by making donations to celebrate your favourite tree. Click here to make it happen. You don't have to be Superman to end homelessness. You just have to have the heart of a hero, like the West Van firefighters who this morning brought a forest of miracles to Dundarave Beach.
Our community would not be possible without our veterans.
This much was clear as we watched West Vancouver's veterans march past the Cenotaph this morning: We hold our democracy as a direct result of the generations of Canadians from every walk of life who gave their lives to make us free.
In remembering all veterans, and everyone who has sacrificed to build our country, we must make ourselves mindful of our duty never to break faith with them. Honouring their lives in this way - faithfully - will transform our lives and allow our generations to be counted with theirs, joining us together in the work of building a Canada that is free, democratic and just.
On the largest scale, this means making sure we cultivate a political culture that calls out the best in us, and in those whom we elect to represent us. The blood shed by our veterans to defend our vocation as a nation to democracy must be answered by our constant vigilance and our good faith. Citizen to citizen, our work must be to discover and secure the common good, and this task becomes more indispensable as the challenges facing our community increase.
On the human scale, we can get a sense of the moral urgency of the challenges we're facing by looking at the ways veterans have been cared for of the Lookout Emergency Aid Society. Veterans were among the first to make use of the beds afforded by Lookout when it opened its doors in 1971 in Gastown. Veterans, and indeed increasing numbers of seniors in their 70s, 80s and 90s, are continuing to be served by Lookout's North Shore Shelter. The risk they face is considerable, as the North Shore continues to struggle with a housing crisis.
But this is not a risk they need bare in isolation. What we find consistently in the Dundarave Festival is that the same largeness of spirit that allowed veterans to fight for us remains very much alive in all of us. From West Vancouver's Mayor and Council to families, community groups and businesses of every stripe, we are answering their sacrifice with a powerful labour of love to make sure that no veteran, no senior, or anyone else is left out in the cold.
If you're in the first flight of people who have claimed a tree for this season's Dundarave Festival, stand tall today. Thank you for sharing in the beautiful work of keeping our community true and strong, free and loving. If you've not yet claimed your tree, now's the time to do it. There's glory enough for all, but we are now down to our final dozen trees. Click here to claim yours today:
The Dundarave Festival Society
We are a circle of friends working in the Dundarave Festival of Lights Society to bring to life the promise of Christmas in our community, a season of life, passion and purpose that leaves no one in the cold. This is community-driven social change, in the true spirit of Christmas and the best spirit of our community.