Preparing for Winter
A time capsule is being prepared for future settlers of Cape Breton Island.
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To the Daughters and Sons of the Future:
You have opened the Kalapa Cairn on White Hill, the highest point on the island of Cape Breton. We are happy you have found us!
We are writing from the year 2035, as a tribe of people that remained after many others moved away. Ten years ago we destroyed the Causeway that connected us to the rest of Nova Scotia and chose to live the rest of our days on this island while preparing for the global winter ahead. We anticipate that the world is entering a fallow time, which will last until ecosystems regenerate and new societies begin to form. We don’t know how long that time will be, or how far into the future we are speaking. We assume you have found us because you are here to settle, and so we see you as the future daughters and sons of this land, as we are now.
In this Cairn you will find maps that lead you to storehouses of seeds, tools, and instructions on how to cultivate the soil, extend the growing season, produce your own energy, and build sturdy shelters. You will also find libraries of the world’s stories and art, and samples of its wisdom traditions, assuming you are able to use our technology and understand our languages.
We don’t know how long we will be here. It is likely that refugees or raiders will land on our shores sometime soon, bringing plague or weapons or both. We only know that the world is in turmoil, weakened by decades of terrible sickness and made worse by drought, flood, fear, and aggression.
We want you know that our own spirits are still strong, even through grief and hardship. In hindsight it is easy to see humanity’s folly, imagining that we could ignore or override the limits of the earth, just as our virtual worlds seemed to override the limits of the biosphere and own bodies. Some continue to seek escape from those limits and are buying their way to space stations or living in bubbles of virtual reality. Others, like us, have chosen to come back to earth, literally and simply. In many places now, people are living as we are, surviving year to year while gathering and storing seeds. Because the dominant forces of humanity became greedy and neglected to honor the cycles and seasons of regeneration, now we fear that the coming winter will be long and deep.
We send our love to you, sons and daughters of the future. May your spirits and your families grow and prosper. May you learn from our stories and bring new light into the world. May the sun of humanity’s goodness rise in the sky once again.
Susan Szpakowski is co-initiator of Likely Stories.