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The days are grey, slate grey and cool, my huge maple tree at the front showering yellow leaves, the front path thick with them. It’s still warm enough to ride the bike, but I miss the sun.

To warm my day and my heart, I just received this from a student at Ryerson who cannot make the last class of term next week:

I just wanted to thank you for the truly wonderful experience of your writing class. I signed up last minute and on a lark, not really sure what I was doing or why. It was the very best thing I did this fall.
I loved every minute of it. I felt connected to my classmates. I loved hearing their stories and listening to their styles. I learned so much from you and from them. I learned a lot about myself, too. Thank you again for a wonderful class and experience.
As I just wrote to her, during the last class, she read such a well-written and moving piece of work, the air in the room changed. We always know when someone is sharing a vital truth. 
Speaking of vital truths, there was a moment in the English conversation group yesterday morning, when one of the women, who’s usually quiet and shy, began to speak. She told us in her hesitant English that she had gone to the Gerrard mall with two of her sons to buy them winter clothes – and then at their insistence had taken them to the McDonalds in the mall “for fries.” We all laughed. Kids, even Bengali kids who at home are fed pakoras, samosas, biryani, and coconut rice – the cooking of which we discussed at such length yesterday that I was hungry – love fries. I was proud of my new friend who wanted to share that moment of normalcy and had the courage to utter a bunch of English sentences in a row, out loud. 
I was thinking of the group when I watched a documentary on TVO last night, “SponsorLand”; one of the producers is Noah Bingham, the son of my neighbours and good friends Jack and Gretchen. It’s about a group of people in the small town of Picton in Prince Edward County who sponsor a Syrian family with 11 children – what happens when they arrive, how they integrate, or not, into small town Canadian life. Beautifully shot, intimate, thoughtful – and I have to say, how open, decent and kind they all are, both the sponsors and the immigrants. If only bigots could be forced to see it. It’s available online; please take a look. 
And now – into this grey day. Incidentally, the back pain went away and came back, again so fierce that I took two Advils in the night. I guess it’s the flaw in my carpet, that and the lack of sun, and the political situation, the vicious morons loose in the world. It’s good to be reminded of human kindness.



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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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