© 2019 Shawn Becker 

Shawn fit in once. In Langley B.C., everyone he knew tossed hay bails on a flatbed or worked a tractor surrounded by mushroom, raspberry, blueberry, strawberry, chicken or mink farms.  The first in his family to be university "Educated," he graduated from Vancouver Island University with a Bachelor of Arts and Education. Shawn had a polite, proper, sure thing going, until a bunch of rabble-rousers moved in and got Shawn kicked out of the neighbourhood. Cultural theorists like Jacques Lacan chopped up word-salads and insisted that only what came before it was real. Marshall McLuhan held up a spoon and said it didn't matter what you ate; the spoon was the message. Then came the artists. Marcel Duchamp signed Shawn's urinal. Andy Goldsworthy arranged leaves into a dodecahedron. Brian Jungen turned Shawn's sneakers into Haida masks. Each time Shawn moved, the new neighbours worried he would drive down their property value. They liked it when he went for long walks to the remote west coast like Nootka or Hesquiat. They encouraged more face to face with wolf packs, cougars and blackbears. In the axe-splitting moment of wild animal presence, Shawn thought he heard David Suzuki's narration crack under this question: What exists beyond our identities, beyond ourselves as language and cultural-bound beings?