I’m grateful it’s so cold outside. Not just bitterly cold, but skin-numbing cold. Frostbite cold. Not to mention windy, making the weather even more unpleasant, maybe dangerous. (Much warmer though, than what the exiles face in the novel Quantum Cannibals)
I’m Grateful for Wood
Maybe I should go chop some firewood. On a cold day like this you can go through a stack of wood pretty damned quick. It’s supposed to cool down later this week, so even a full cord might not be enough. Need to split a lot of pine to keep warm in this weather.
I’m getting old for that, though. The usual ailments of age prevent me from swinging an axe like I used to, carrying armfuls of logs over to the fire. Besides which, it’s cold out there. Chopping wood warms you up, but it’s still damned cold. Not only that, my city has banned fireplaces and wood stoves, unless they are some damned high-tech device that burn clean, that don’t emit carbon. Hell, wood is carbon. I’m carbon, everything alive is carbon.
I’m Grateful For Oil
Yes, keeping the wood fire burning is going to be a problem. Maybe instead I’ll just phone the oil company to come fill up my tank. But it’s not really necessary. They have a formula that tells them when I need oil, and then they come on their own. It’s real convenient, and I’m grateful for it. I don’t have to pay the driver; the company just puts it on my credit card, and emails me about it.
Sure is a lot easier than sharpening my axe, standing outside and splitting pine, then carrying the whole damned thing inside. My neighbors would be pissed at me anyways if I cut down the trees around my backyard. Would also be in violation of municipal bylaws. Be a hell of a chore to have a sweet-smelling
fire, to keep warm naturally. I sure am grateful to the oil company that makes the delivery. I’m grateful for the rail companies, the shipping lines that bring the oil from the refineries. Would be grateful to the pipeline companies that transported the oil, but the damned environmentalists blocked them. So the heating oil in my tank comes from places like Saudi Arabia and Venezuela. Those self-righteous “progressives” are forcing me to send money to some of the meanest places on earth.
I’m grateful, but those railways aren’t safe. Ask the people of Lac Megantic, where an oil train that was parked for the night killed forty-seven people. My town
is surrounded by railroad tracks, and I got to tell you, I don’t feel that comfortable when those oil cars go rumbling by.
I’m grateful for my electricity. If it wasn’t so cold, my heat pump would be warming my house, wringing heat out of the cold outside air and stashing it inside. I’m grateful for the dependable power that runs it, and for the ingenious people who thought of using winter cold to heat a home.
I’m Grateful I’m Not Progressive
Got to tell you, when I was younger I was one of those self-righteous “progressives” trying to get in the way of energy. The government wanted to build a bunch of dams up north; the Indians and Eskimos didn’t want them to. I was part of the team collecting proof that the natives could use in court. To make a long story short, the dams got built, but the Cree Indians and the Inuit got really good deals that made their lives a lot better. Hey, a community of four hundred people has its own five-million dollar airstrip, long enough to handle jets.
When I was living in a tipi with a Cree family, I didn’t get too bothered when the temperature hit forty below at night. The head of the family, not me, was the one who got up before sunrise to bring in wood and get the fire started, as I stayed snug in my sleeping bag. I was grateful not to get up till the place warmed up.
I’m the head of the family now (okay, my wife is). It’s my job to warm up the house in the morning. So I trudge down to the thermostat, press a button a couple of times, and let the furnace do its job. I could program the thermostat, but I like doing things manually. It’s how I ‘rough it’ these days.
I don’t want to be an ingrate, so I ‘like’ and ‘share’ Facebook posts promoting rational oil development. Yeah, I’m a real activist. I write letters to my Member of Parliament, to my newspaper (digital edition). I talk to people about oil, about electricity. I listen too, when my Indian friends tell me of the risks of a pipeline, the treaties that were ignored, the people who were harmed.
Everything has its dangers, everything has its risks. I’d be grateful if everybody bitching about oil thought about how much better it’s made our lives, about the dangers of having to live without it. I don’t want to go outside now to split wood. I’m too old, it’s too damned cold, and anyways I got rid of my axe a long time ago.