Editor’s Note: A Month of Memories
November 1, 2014
A welcome to November. It's a moody month. Even its one holiday is solemn-especially this year, with drums beating again for war. I'm more partial to Thanksgiving, say, or Christmas. I like sharing tasty feasts and swapping nicely wrapped presents. November puts me in mind of T.S. Eliot, whose Murder in the Cathedral contains this cheery thought: "Golden October declined into sombre November, and the apples were gathered and stored, and the land became brown sharp points of death in a waste of water and mud."
But Eliot also said, "Let's not be narrow, nasty, and negative." And this month certainly has its happy rituals, like shopping for the coming holidays-a task we've taken seriously this year with a cover feature dedicated to the beautiful, the unusual, and the useful. That collection of desirables, each one expert-recommended and Vanmag-approved, begins on page 63.
Another treat awaits this month, though you may not be counting down the days the way I am: civic election season. Others get their adrenaline from the Grey Cup-long runs from scrimmage, mighty interceptions, anxious Hail Marys. I find it as mayors and councillors, school board trustees, and park commissioners win seats or shuffle off to Buffalo. Nerdy? You bet.
This year's elections carry an extra frisson for me because as I write, two other sets of votes have just been counted. In Scotland, the decision to secede from the union came down to a 45/55 split, far closer than many anticipated. To buy federation, Prime Minister David Cameron has promised all measure of devolutionary rewards, even as he contemplates a referendum next year to leave the EU entirely. Here in B.C., the teachers and the education ministry have reopened schools, though in that agreement as well an uneasy peace remains, with the truce sketched to last six years. And then? What price peace?
For now, we can focus on change at the civic level (and the federal contest is coming-oh boy). In some municipalities, dramatic upsets will occur; in others, the status quo will stand. I can't wait to watch it all shake out.