Think Anew, Act Anew

observations and opinion

The Luckiest: Sunday in the City

The truth is, if every soul on earth could be in a place like this today, what a wonderful world it would be.

* * *

Walking the Main Street of our town on a hot Sunday morning, earbuds plugged into my head, I see the city as if in cinema. The opening credits of my day:

  • two young guys hunched over a chessboard, slapping the timer and racing through their match. They shake hands after each good move;
  • a girl in electric blue yoga pants, almost the same color as the mat rolled under her arm, chasing indoors for a latte;
  • another woman in torn jeans, jacket, tattoos, nose ring and straight dirty blond mop blunt cut around her head – the love child of Johnny Rotten and Sia – tosses her cigarette onto the sidewalk as she enters a shop;
  • inside the coffee shop, happy chatters intermingled with silent screen starers. The work never ends for people in their 20s;
  • two burly bears lurching bleary-eyed towards brunch at Wilf & Ada’s.  They’d be smart to order the baked beans;
  • my daughter flip flopping home after cheering Race Weekend runners, her sign rolled up under her arm: “Run like Ryan Gosling is at the Finish Line.”  She accepts my offer of spare headphones so she’s spared the misery of a 15 minute walk without tunes;
  • the runners themselves, finished their races, rail-thin but plodding like slow moving gazelles; lean assemblies of virtue each and every one;
  • an unshaven young guy, schlepping his backpack. Exams are over, pal. Where you going with all the dead weight on your back?
  • sundressed mamas, pushing prams in the general direction of somewhere with their husbands;
  • two stubby, grey-haired and aged First Nations women bedecked in matching denim Capri pants and Chairman Mao hats.  Tourists, I imagine;
  • a lithe, model-beautiful cocoa skinned girl dressed all in black, hair piled up atop her head, spiky black boots clicking on the concrete. Either she’s ending, or beginning, a very interesting day;
  • the man in khakis, white tee shirt and umbrella, gently tugging the leash of a hobbling old Irish setter. They’ve done this walk a few times, you can tell.

This is the particular magic of urban living: the shifting sands of other people’s lives, strolling across the big screen in wordless, fascinating ways. They are the other protons of the atoms we form – nameless and unknown but recognizable and necessary to the structure of the universe. Everything solid is just energy dancing, after all.

Here in Ottawa the air is alive with a sense of relief – finally we have heat, after the siege of a brutal winter and long, sour, cold spring. It is impossible not to be pleased and only the most churlish would complain of the temperature (people stuck indoors without a/c get a pass on that of course).

Good weather is not a cure for our ills. Troubles still crowd around us, visible and invisible, like mute ghosts blinking in daylight. The world is just as fragile and problematic as it was a week ago, but it’s also nicer to be in. If not cured, we are for an hour or two, in remission.

The truth is, if every soul on earth could be in a place like this today, what a wonderful world it would be.

It’s a summer Sunday. Are you uncertain, or just scared to drop your guard?



One comment on “The Luckiest: Sunday in the City

  1. Susanne
    May 29, 2016

    Aha! A fellow Ottawan! Love your writing and love our city.


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This entry was posted on May 29, 2016 by in Canada, City Life.
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