A Quiet February

There’s something about standing outside at night after a fresh snowfall. Even now that I moved closer to the city, when my crunching steps come to a stand still, it’s extra quiet outside. I heard there is a scientific reason for this, that the snow on the ground absorbs a portion of the sound. On nights like these, I feel a mix of both calm and melancholy, the stillness is somber. I find that by this time of the year the weight of winter gets really heavy, and I yearn for the spring to break the stagnant quiet of each day. I know many can relate. 

I think a lot about how a bear hibernates in the winter and I’m jealous. That’s probably why I have been taking a nap almost everyday since the new year. 

There’s a quiet corner on Queen Street, where a friend of ours used to sit. We said a sad goodbye to him on Jan 26, unprepared and shocked by the news. His name was Ronnie, and he was a good friend to so many. He made us smile and laugh everytime we chatted with him. 

I remember first meeting Ronnie; it was back before Covid. One Monday he rolled into the church on his scooter and looked at me confused, until Erinn introduced us to each other. I was still new and was never sure if people would like me or not be happy I was there. But Ronnie’s unsure face turned into a smile quickly, and he began to chat up a storm, with lots of stories. He became someone in the room that I knew and felt comfortable to go talk to as a new person. Since Covid we would run into Ronnie weekly on our outreach walks or pretty much anytime I was wandering around Parkdale. 

Today on our outreach walk it didn’t feel the same without seeing Ronnie on his block or with his friends. In fact, we didn’t see too many people out and that just seems to be the reality of winter. Feels like everyone is dealing with hard things and there’s been a lot of loss. It’s difficult to not get caught up in the weight of it. Especially when the contrast from the summer is astounding, a time when so many people are out and there’s this energy in the air. I look forward to being with people outside without shivering, community events happening, people sitting in the park, and sunny evenings without the rush to go home. 

I thank God that I got to meet Ronnie. He had a lot of love for others and made sure they knew it. Today felt extra quiet. I missed his usual big presence in the neighborhood.

For now, I can only do what I’ve been taught by our friends at The Dale, and that is to carry on. I’ve heard so many stories from our friends at The Dale, things I can’t even imagine how they got through. But they’re still here and the way they carry on and bring joy to others, is inspiring to me. 

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