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Thursday, June 08, 2006

Dear Martin

My friend Sandi didn't want to rain on our parade, but she needed to, we needed to know that things were not okay with Martin and his motorcycle. She advised that I call Martin's ex-girlfriend now friend Debbie, which I did at just past midnight Toronto time. What she told me was a shocker: Martin somehow fell or got knocked off his motorcycle while driving on the Gartner on an overpass over the 427. He fell 50 feet, landed on his back on the median, bounced into the ditch, and, miraculously, survived. Apparently when the cops arrived they couldn't find him so they started shouting for him; he sat up and waved! [He doesn't remember any of this.]

We're relieved that he is alive; he's too good to lose. I've known him for about 4 years, since he first volunteered for me when I worked at Greenest City. He is a passionate environmentalist who "walks the walk." He is also kind and committed to his friends, loves animals and the band Tool, and has an artistic soul. I've always had a tonne of respect for the man and recently Miia and I have become closer with him as friends. Like us, he had a ticket out of Canada for June 12 and planned to wander the globe for a while, recharge after years of hard work on environmental projects that are too numerous to list here. He had just quit his job in preparation for that trip. Maybe because he felt an affinity to our own trip, or maybe because it's just the kind of sweetheart he is, Martin was at all our goodbye celebrations, even karaoke, and helped us move, and came out to the airport to see us off.

Debbie was kind enough to give us all the details that she has about the accident itself and Martin's current state. He is in intensive care with many broken bones and other internal damage, but amazingly no spinal damage. He is in good spirits and able to joke and laugh. He is expected to fully recover, but it will take a long time, and he is in a lot of pain. Debbie is visiting him every day.

It's hard for us to hear this news here in NS and be unable to visit or do anything really to help out. We're sending a care package for whatever it's worth. I guess what he needs most now is time to heal, and good friends to let him know they are with him. Even we are with him, if only in spirit.

I can't help but feel a little guilt about this trip. Tonight, after a great dinner with some friends at Halifax's Wooden Monkey restaurant (local organic food), then a visit to Miia's old friend, when we arrived at the house I got out of the car and raised my arms into the NS rain and felt free and rejuvenated. That's what Martin was supposed to get too. And I feel guilt about the other people I've left behind, both friends and colleagues who I know saw me as an inside ally in the environmental field - one of the few open doors available to them.

But I know that, theoretically at least, I should be able to do what is best for me, make the most of the opportunities I have as long as I'm not hurting anyone else, which I do my damndest to avoid.

Anyway, I have digressed. The point is that we are thinking about Martin, wishing him the speediest possible recovery, and hoping that great adventures still await him. In the meantime we will take him with us in our thoughts as we embark upon our own trip.

--MC Slim Slo Risto Matka Benjibopper Chris Suokojamin

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