COLUMN: A little culture refreshes the soul

Never one to spend much time regarding the finer things in life such as art and music, I did manage to break out of the plaid shirt mould.

Never one to spend much time regarding the finer things in life such as art and music, I did manage to break out of the plaid shirt mould a couple of times in the past week.

Perhaps being immersed in paint fumes for hours at a time during a basement renovation inspired me.

The fast beat of Irish step-dancing drew us to the AESC for Lord of the Dance.

Michael Flatley wasn’t there, but he wasn’t missed because the ensemble who presented the show in Abbotsford was exceptional. And it was a packed house, considering such events require half the centre’s 7,000 seats for staging and costume changes.

Then, a few days later, we went from mega sound amplification and dazzling outfits to what I first assumed would be a sombre rendition of choir singing, courtesy of the Valley Concert Society.

Again a packed house, this time at Matsqui Centennial Theatre (aka city hall).

And there what we heard was the truly remarkable ability of the human voice to fill a room as the Elmer Iseler Singers captivated in so many ways. Virtually every ‘song’ was presented a cappella and the voice range of the 20 singers was exceptional.

A far better way to spend a few hours than at a paint store anguishing over paint chips and trying to match myriad colours, only to settle on white and grey, with a little splash of vibrancy on a feature wall.

Painting, like mowing the lawn, is a mindless task that allows thoughts to wander and ponder things such as the melting of the Greenland ice sheet.

Apparently that misnamed isle is covered in ice up to three kilometers deep. But if it ever sheds its mantle, the melt waters will raise sea levels by more than seven metres.

From what I gather though, homes in Delta and Richmond aren’t threatened, unless of course those residents are immortal. Because, with a 2 C degree rise in global warming, it will take some 50,000 years to melt the ice cap. Increase the temperature another degree or two and by golly, you could begin to get wet feet within just 500 years, and in a couple of millennia the ice would be all gone and parts of Abbotsford will be waterfront.

Not to say the world doesn’t need to cut back on carbon emissions, and curtail ‘greenhouse’ gasses, but even according to science we have some time left to change our ways.

Awareness of our wrong-doings is good, and for the 200 years since the industrial revolution began we have taken a rather cavalier approach towards Earth’s stewardship.

If we think of the innovations in the past century, and assume we will continue to be as intelligent in the next, solutions to the climate change dilemma will come. We just need a little nudging from the doomsday prognosticators to come up with alternative sources of energy not provided by fossil fuels.

The real motivator of change, however, will not be the threat of rising sea levels and impending water inundation thousands of years from now. It will be profit, because as our current energy sources are tapped out and begin to disappear, science and corporate boardrooms will invest in and create sources that are environmentally benign yet provide significant economic return.

Then we can all begin to worry about an impending ice age!

So, if you are living in low-lying areas, and feel you can ignore your basement renovation project because it will soon be flooded anyway, forget it. Mix up the tile mortar, haul home cans of paint, and get to it.

And I suggest that every now and then, try to take in a little culture. It puts the mind at ease and elicits an appreciation of what talented people contribute to our lives.