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Last Sunday in Parkdale…

June 20, 2017

Ran into an old friend while I was in Parkdale last weekend. I was at a local cafe, getting an early morning coffee while everyone was still asleep back at my sister-in-laws.

An old friend over a great distance of time. Works with the homeless. Mohawk. Still speaks the mother-tongue. Rolls her English in that Indian way.

“What’re doin douwn heire?” she says with a big smile and hug.

“Oh, ya know, visiting the rez.”

“Don’t ja know it. The largest rez in Canada.”

She gives me the five minute update on life and love and work. I tell her we are moving to Chicago, getting married next month, of our sabbatical living back on the family farm, running a small cafe in my old hometown.

We hadn’t seen each other in maybe 15 years, we don’t know what to say next, the conversation sputters, she has to go meet a friend for breakfast.

“Miss seeing ya again.”

“You too.”

I watch her walk until she turns the corner at King.

Man she brings back memories. How feverish we were back then. We had assumed we were joining a cause, fixing a problem, moving forward. Homelessness. Indigenous rights. Youth in crisis. Women’s rights.

Sure, we thought, the older generation may be intransigent, or ignorant of the colonial/capitalist structural problems involved – an awareness of how the economic/social structure itself was causing the cancer – and that once we showed them – people in power would make it right.

We soon discovered that most people in power didn’t want to change a damn thing. That their bookshelves were already stacked to the ceiling with the advice of those who had come before us. The university reports. Non-profit summaries. The United Nations. Sustainability experts. Despite best practice results in European countries that put our statistics to shame – the people in power here were indifferent to it all.

There’s still too much relying on the lies. Too many people are still allowed to get rich off the current system. I’ve watched politicians throw reports straight into the trash on their way out of a homeless committee meeting. And the politicians who do care, are quickly marginalized within the system, dismissed for being unrealistic, a pain-in-the-ass, a liberal.


 But this early Parkdale morning is pure sunshine, with mid-summer temperatures, and running into an old friend at the cafe. The air today is coming in off the lake as soft as a baby’s bum. This week was warmer than last. Kids are waking up knowing there is only 2 weeks of school left. It’s about early morning dog walkers, babes in strollers, yesterday’s addicts already out and on the prowl. It’s about two old lovers running into each other and sweet fitful nights sweating and grasping in the dark.

The lakefront trees are as alive with the sound of birds as they are back on the farm.

When you focus, you can hear them.

They are too easily lost – in the white noise energy of the megalopolis.


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