What a difference a few years make. The last time I was home in Hamilton for more than a couple of days, it was summertime, and I was working on the Bookmobile (best job anywhere, ever, hands down). At least twice a week on our route, we'd drive past the Red Hill Creek and the site of the proposed expressway. The Creek was this awesome refuge in the middle of the city, the kind of hidden secret that makes Hamilton such a great town to live in, a spot that at least three generations of people remembered playing at as kids. They'd been loudly threatening and then promising to destroy the place to expand the highway, but the voices of the people involved in the protests against the destruction were even louder (at least among the people I was talking to). It was a cause people believed in, a crusade to save the land, to protect the fragile ecosystems of this little golden horseshoe of ours. It was a fight that seemed close to being won.
Eight years later, I'm here again, and last week I had to drive on the Red Hill Valley Parkway to get to a meeting. I can't believe they have the gall to name it after the natural landmark they decimated to create it. It didn't help me shave any time off my commute, but it sure did make me feel a little weepy. I threw on Escarpment Blues by Sarah Harmer and had a bit of a moment. Sometimes you can't even win the good fights, even when it seems like everyone's on your side. At least there's some hope in the fact that people still keep fighting.