My flash fiction story “When the Snowshoe Hare Turns White” is now up and free to read at Nightmare Magazine. I’m thrilled to have a story in such an exciting venue that has published so many stories I love.
When I was asked to write a little background to this story, I wrote about my personal connection to the story’s contents, about childhood fears of the ice, having grown up with the incredible privilege to have a lake in my backyard, but also with the responsibility to be a witness as that ecosystem changed over the decades I called that place my home. I wrote:
I grew up at the southern edge of Ontario’s “near north,” and as winters got warmer and shorter, we’d hear stories of people going through the ice. As a kid, I worried about losing family members that way. This story is a response to the loss of northern ecosystems to climate change and how that loss is reshaping families who live in and love the cold.
My experience with northern ecosystem loss is really quite limited — I know only one specific near-north lake ecosystem intimately. I moved away from the edge of the north to go to university and never returned. But northern Ontario remains a fascination and a place that still sits deep in my heart. When some North Americans talk about how “we’ll be okay,” how we’ll be shielded from the worst effects of climate change because our cold climate can heat up without causing too much discomfort, I want to scream. This statement demonstrates such incredible ignorance and short-sightedness. This perspective discounts how we are all connected, how others will suffer and die and our lives will be irrevocably changed by the suffering of others around us. It also discounts the importance of snow and ice to northern cultures who have every right to preserve and practice those cultures. I encourage everyone to read Sheila Watt-Cloutier’s The Right to be Cold to learn more about life in the north and the changes already experienced there due to climate change.