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summit aftermath

Everyone was talking about the events of the weekend in Toronto today. I heard them on the streetcar, at the Y, on the streets, and was astounded that most people seem to think what I do: that the police allowed the violence on Saturday, to justify the billion dollars spent on security. In Doubletake, my second-hand store, Rusty who works there said, “They’re saying that the cops left those cars on purpose so they’d be set on fire and make the protesters look bad.” Now, if Rusty knows that, the sentiments must be pretty widespread.

The “New York Times” had an article Sunday about how horrified Canadians are about the security cost, which is vastly higher than any other summit. And there’s a great picture of the peaceful march, the only one I’ve seen, with nary a word about the vile black bloc.
I’m in a bit of a stupor after all this, my activist weekend. I’m proud of the “Star” letter and so is my mother. But life goes on. Another U of T class finished this afternoon, and I was overjoyed when one class member, a professor, told me it was “transformative.” She took the class just to learn how to teach writing, she said, thinking she had no stories to tell. It didn’t take long before she was telling powerful and beautiful stories that moved us all.
Another nice tale – well, if I can’t share these with you, with whom can I share them, except my mother? The woman who organized my speaking visit to Philadelphia told me as we chatted that she had always wanted to paint, but that need had got lost somewhere. I urged her to go home and get out her paints. “Don’t waste time. Do what you love.”
She wrote today to tell me she’d gone on vacation just after; while she was packing, she said, she went to an old cupboard, and there were her painting supplies, waiting. She took them with her and did some sketches and a canvas or two. “I’m rusty,” she said, “but what’s important is, I did it.” Yes! Fist in air. Peaceful fist in air. Sometimes, I’ve found, people don’t mind a little push, a giving of permission to become who they are.
The weather has been extreme this last while, as if sensing the turmoil below. Today was very hot and muggy, then a brief hailstorm, then mild with a breeze. I went for an evening walk in the neighbourhood, to visit my dead friends in the Necropolis, a beautiful, peaceful place to stroll. But suddenly, the light, the smell, the swish of the trees was so lovely, I wanted to be in my own garden. As I left, I felt a twist in my heart. One day, I’m going to have to say good-bye to this glorious, troubled world.
There will, I hope, be many perfect summer evenings ahead on this earth. It hurt that a time will come when I won’t be there to enjoy them.

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About Beth

I began keeping a journal at the age of nine. Nearly fifty years later, I started this online journal, sharing reflections, reviews, updates, and the occasional secret.

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