It is the most heavenly day – crisp and hot, with showers of red, orange and gold leaves; the Japanese maple up the street is incandescent scarlet. There’s nowhere in the world I’d rather be than Toronto on a magical fall day like this. I walked through the Farm and then to the Necropolis cemetery where I visited my parents, whose ashes are scattered there. I told them the world is in grave upheaval but their children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren are safe and well. That their granddaughter and her boys arrived back in Toronto late last night from visiting her best friend in Saskatchewan, and a family friend met them at the airport holding a bag of fresh hot hamburgers from Harry’s, Sam’s restaurant. Welcome home.
Right next to the spot where my parents are scattered is a headstone from the 1870’s for a woman whose infant daughter died at 19 days old, and who died herself only six months later. There are so many stories in those headstones.
I’ve been reading a lot of analysis – Naomi Klein et al – about the election, about how wrong, blind and intolerant we all were. Valuable lessons. My cousin in Washington is in such despair, she doesn’t want to leave the house or do anything. So I wrote to her.
It’s such a beautiful day here, I just went out for a walk to celebrate being alive on the planet. We have had terrible news this week but there’s much to be learned from it. I am taking heart from the fine writers of the New York Times who, even as they express fear and anguish, are analyzing this crisis with thoughtfulness and wisdom.
The fact is that the political process has always been a pendulum – the United States elected Franklin Delano Roosevelt, and it elected Richard Nixon. So – Obama and Trump. My consolation is that there was so much poison in the air, Hillary wouldn’t have been able to govern. So let them have their guy, see where it gets them. Let’s just hope the world survives until the pendulum swings the other way. The Democrats have certainly learned a hard lesson and will be different by 2020.
Received this lovely note from a student, heartening after a hard week – not just the election and the death of Leonard Cohen, but also after hearing much editorial criticism of the new memoir:
P.S. Just got out my Leonard Cohen poetry books. Inside “Flowers for Hitler” is written “For Beth, Christmas 1967, Mum and Dad, xx.”
You’re still here, Mum and Dad. Still with me. Thank you.