Another Day in Paradise?

by Christopher Lovejoy on June 8, 2019

Recently, in the suburb of a major Canadian city, on a cool sunny breezy morning, under a clear blue sky dotted with fluffy white clouds, I made the acquaintance of a lovely middle-aged lady from South Asia (Sri Lanka?). The meeting was brief but gratifying in that the energy exchanged was uncommonly nourishing to the heart of soul. She greeted me warmly and casually as if she already knew me, broadcasting with ease the essence of a charitable love with a beautiful smile that radiated a rare joie de vivre. This despite her having recently built a home made of skids, cartons, and tarps ~ roughly five meters square and one meter high ~ at the end of a nature trail lined with trees running alongside a long string of commercial industrial concerns. On one side of the structure, I discerned three cubby-hole entrances. Perhaps more were evident on the other sides, suggesting a mini motel of sorts.

I followed the impulse to ask her if she had been living here for the past month, the month of May, which is Spring-like in this part of the world. Appearing a bit surprised, she agreed. I then asked her where she had procured the materials to build her home. Now it was my turn to be surprised when she told me that many of these items had been taken from downtown, miles from where we stood. She then insisted in a firm yet kind and motherly way that she had to get on with her day, as she had much to do. I graciously took the cue and we wished each other a good day. As I left, I wondered how she had arrived to be where she is today, given that she seemed so fresh and alive in soul and spirit.

After I took my leave, I pondered how she had managed to stay the course. Had she committed an act of rebellion against her family? Was she getting any support through established channels? Or had she and her companions chosen to strike out on their own? And how was it that she could greet me so warmly and then say good-bye in a manner that suggested this was the most natural, normal thing in the world to be doing? In retrospect, it seemed that some of her companions operated under cover of darkness to transport “building materials” while some of them were in charge of gathering (and preparing?) food. Was this a harbinger of things to come for this sedate suburban slice of the city?

Through a veil of tears, I could nevertheless see that she was happy, almost content. She had a modicum of privacy. On this beautiful day, she seemed spiritually liberated to the point of transcendence, one that embodied and expressed the very essence of life itself.

Perhaps more would join her and establish yet another makeshift community?

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