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Sunday in the sun

One of the best days of the year in Cabbagetown, this Sunday when the Ride for Heart fundraising event closes down the nearby Don Valley Parkway. First thing, as I woke up, I could sense the stillness, the absence of gasoline-powered behemoths. I could hear the birds more clearly, smell the sweeter air.

So the important thing to do this Sunday, every year, is to get down to the Don Valley Trail, beside the Parkway which is usually flooded with speeding cars and becomes instead a pathway for bicycles. I walked beside the muddy river, where in past years I’ve seen deer and beaver – today, only mud. But so many birds chattering, so much green, wildflowers, such quiet in the heart of the metropolis – pure joy.
Many others were also walking (or biking or running) on the trail, including a couple with their baby in a pram – he in cap and long embroidered shirt, and she in a hijab, covered head to toe in black except for a small slit for her eyes, which were beautiful. As I passed, the couple was talking, in English, about hummingbirds.
A Muslim friend of mine was offended not long ago when I wrote here about my objection to the hijab – but I have to tell you, today again, out in the brilliant sunshine and glorious air of June, to see a woman shrouded in black cloth, a woman with no face – again, I found it extremely offensive. I’m sorry if my finding it offensive is offensive. I have absolutely no problem with nuns in habits or women and girls who cover their hair or their bodies. But covering the face goes against everything our society is about, the freedom to communicate and to be who you are. It says, I am the property of this man. He owns me, and he wants to hide me.
I think it’s horrible. But then, I think kosher food, too, is ridiculous, and all restrictive archaic rules. Particularly ones which I see as woman-hating.
Okay. Let’s let this one go.
I returned home from the walk to find that my son had brought home my favourite meal from his restaurant, a gift from Karen, the chef: meat loaf, mashed potatoes, veg and mushroom gravy. Divine! And then, more food. I took the long streetcar ride out to the Beaches for an Indian lunch with dear old friends Terry and Anne-Marie and a walk on the beach. A heavenly, perfect day, sunny with a breeze, and every single person in Toronto out playing a sport, walking, biking, running, shopping, drinking beer, celebrating Vancouver’s win yesterday, mourning Federer’s loss this morning – well no, perhaps that was only my mother, such a Fed fan. Anyway, you get the idea – we were all out there, in the sun.
Later, at home, I received a phone call from the woman at the Y who rejected my writing workshop flyer. She’s of course very nice – she works at the Y, after all – and explained that there’s a new policy preventing solicitation for any “for profit” enterprises. Ads are allowed on the bulletin board only for “community-based and charitable events.”
It’s not often that I feel like a base capitalist peddling my suspect wares, but I did then.
I suggested a “Wild West” bulletin board, in which those of us struggling to make a minuscule (shudder) profit could at least display our goods. The chances of that, however, are slim.
It’s dusk, the birds chatter, my laundry is drying outside, the garden is as lush as can be. Though the Parkway is open again and the vroom of cars competes with the birds, still, I celebrate the community’s, and my, morning of blessed peace. I celebrate the woman with the beautiful eyes and hope that one day, she will be allowed, she will claim the right, to walk out into the world with a face.

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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.

Some Blogs I Follow

Chris Walks
This blog evolves. It once was about travels. Now it’s a reason to be at the keyboard that I value.

Theresa Kishkan
Theresa Kishkan is a writer living on the Sechelt Peninsula on the west coast of Canada.

I walk on. With my feet, and in my mind as well.

Carrie Snyder
Wherever you’ve come from, wherever you’re going, consider this space a place for reflection and pause.

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