It’s good for me to be a tourist for awhile before the summer crowds arrive, in order to recharge my ability to feel empathy toward the confused. So we headed for Canada. The trip was doubly productive in that we were also foreigners. Contrary to common assumptions, not all of the signs are bilingual. Thankfully everyone that we interacted with spoke both French and English. Not to generalize too much, but everyone was also very polite and helpful. I got a good dose of “how to be nice to tourists”. I think perhaps we were recognizable as refugees from a land where politics had gone completely haywire.

It was also very informative to see Canadian drivers on their home turf. My own personal experience here on the Island with cars sporting Ontario or Quebec license plates is that their drivers are often quite creative in their interpretation of our road signs, and sometimes seem oblivious to the dangers of stopping in the middle of our quaint main roads to take photographs.

We took the scenic route to Canada, which included crossing Lake Champlain on a 21-car ferry. Get this: it runs every fifteen minutes around the clock! Fabulous scenery and your vehicle gets splashed with fresh water. The folks at the border seemed overly curious about why we were fleeing the United States but eventually let us in. The rivers and lakes were all overflowing from the constant rain that has fallen during the past several months.

We stayed with friends out on the big flat farmlands west of Montreal. Despite spending one whole day out in a hay field cutting up dead trees that had fallen into the field, we found not a single tick! Had that hayfield been on the Island we would still be picking the ticks off. The few mosquitos and black flies that found us seemed still to be dazed from a winter of subzero temperatures.

We visited a wild animal park where we observed bison, moose, bear, coyotes and muskox and looked a pack of wolves in the eye. Being so far from home in a place that was entirely new to me with signs I could only guess at, I regained that sense of bewilderment that I’m sure that many of our first-time visitors experience. We recrossed the border on our return at a very quiet check point, where the agent seemed pretty starved for conversation.

I’m certain that from the moment that we humans first perceived the concept of time we have been curious about time travel. A great many novels are based on the notion that traveling through time is possible. It requires gadgets with blinking lights that make weird whirring noises. The smartest scientists and philosophers have speculated on many aspects of time travel: the positive aspects are usually seen as highly beneficial, while the negative aspects are usually seen as grave dangers.

But as going back in time has always seemed impossible, we haven’t really needed to worry about the pros and cons.

However during the past few years, and especially the past few weeks, it has become increasing apparent that a certain political persuasion has discovered how to turn back the hands of time. Unfortunately, it’s not just one individual going back. We’re all dragged along, and the amount of regressed time varies according to whatever human endeavor or accomplishment is targeted.

In some instances we have gone back just a few decades, such as to the good old days of coal mining, as if life was so much easier when pollution was not a consideration.

My favorite is when we returned to the age when scientists were considered evil. It’s true that scientists have historically been party poopers, with their insistence on truth and facts.

The most regrettable one is that return to a past where people were divided into separate groups according to easily-identifiable differences. As convenient as that may have been for a few, the level of unfairness to everyone else was astonishing. The favorite of the current administration seems to be the days prior to the invention of that pesky form of government, democracy, when all it took was instilling a bit of unfounded fear in the minds of the populace for the ruling party to have free rein with that most base of all human instincts, greed.

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