I was walking to work this morning and thinking about how lucky I am to live within walking distance of work. And not only that, but I can walk the first two miles pretending I’m in the country: I walk through the Experimental Farm, cut through a piece of the Arboretum, then through a park, then I cross Carling and head up the wooded path beside the O-Train tracks. It’s not till I get to Preston and the Queensway that I’m surrounded by city, and that’s about the same time of day the streetlights go off and morning starts in earnest.
I see so many interesting things along my pre-dawn pseudo-country route. There are hundreds – maybe even thousands – of crows who congregate at the Experimental Farm. Did you know that the term for a lot of crows is a murder? I see a murder of crows on my way to work. And geese. And a rabbit and a fox. (The fox, sadly, was roadkill. I don’t know if that counts.) It’s too early in the morning for photographs, but I did get this one of the sunrise a couple of weeks ago.
The mornings are getting a little crispier lately – I wear gloves now, but my fingers creep out of their slots to snuggle up together against my palm. Winter’s coming, and I’m hoping I can keep walking to work in spite of it. I’m going to need really warm mitts though. I looked at the Mountain Equipment Coop site, and did you know you could spend $115 on mitts? The thing about $115 mitts is they make the $80 mitts look reasonable, which they’re really not.
But I’m lucky, because $80 mitts are not outside the realm of possibilities for me. I could do it. It would certainly seem excessive and I would feel guilty and I would think about the Snowsuit Fund and Underwear for Homeless People, but $80 mitts are an option. My hands get really cold, and I need very warm mitts. Do you think $80 mitts would be eight times warmer than $10 mitts? Because my hands freeze in $10 mitts.
If I was homeless in Ottawa in the wintertime I think I would perish. I have no idea how most of them manage to survive. When I ask them, they just shrug and say they wear layers. I wear layers INSIDE and I’m still too cold.
This is – according to Megan – The Only True Bluesman. He’s the one-armed guitar-playing panhandler. Check out the sign on the green thing behind him:
We shouldn’t need signs reminding us that people have a right to ask us for help. We shouldn’t have to feel guilty when we buy ourselves mitts because homeless people are literally freezing to death in this country. I think it was around 1993 that the federal government killed our national social housing program. Does anyone remember seeing people sleeping on the streets before that? I don’t.
We should bring that program back before we all get indifferent to the human suffering that goes along with homelessness. Wouldn’t we feel awful if our children were indifferent to it?
(This was just supposed to be a nice post about how lucky I am to see the crows at sunrise. Geez.)