All about communities

August 18, 2022   ·   0 Comments

By Constance Scrafield

In all the confusion of two years in abeyance, as it were; with the verge of civil war at which the United States seems to sit; with the colossal flow of aid to ravaged countries scourged by fires, ruined by invasion, the subject of community seems to skim over everything as if trying to be the defining and would-be calming force – for good, one might almost say.

There has been a lot of interest in community and how to keep it in the face of not being able to be face to face, grannies left alone for weeks at a stretch, from fear of making them deathly ill with a hug at a time when hugs were life-saving. Technology won Brownie points galore for bringing faces into each other’s homes in an effort to create a new normal. Those Grannies subsequently tensely trying to tap the right spot on that screen to see their darling grandchildren growing bigger with each virtual visit. 

Better than nothing, for sure.

Artists and especially musicians manipulated their technology to band together, to create nation – wide – maybe global-wide collections of kindred souls to keep up the moral of fractured communities, people longing to be together at home, by a stage – anywhere, anyhow.

Theatres, well our Theatre Orangeville decided to innovate like crazy and get not only musical shows but those stories told in plays and skits, film them, make those films available – for a small fee? Worth every penny.

Well, in theory, it is as over as far it is going to be: the viruses of this world are uniting and will be an ever-present thing among us now, so medics and scientists are warning us. There may always be an actual reason to wear a mask in the shops, in the theatre, whether we are obliged to or not.

Yet, here we are, so darn glad to be out on the streets, at the festivals – and concerts that we are pretty careless and the hospitals will let us know how that went soon enough but it was all about wanting our communities back again.

One thing we have learned over those two passionate years of separation, we like being together with our loved ones and even amongst strangers. The ancient instinct for the herd has proven itself more powerfully than we might have imagined and the efforts of technology to assuage the enforced distancing proved those efforts much less effective than we seemed to think at the time.

If only we could bottle it. Along with the renewed love and an acknowledgement of this feeling of relief, really, a hint of clinging to each other, there is so much villainy that would tear us asunder if we do not curb it; the United States is being torn apart as it has not seen since 1861 (I just looked for that date on Google but what I got first was US civil war, 2022).

The poison can spread too easily, oozing north, across the border with no official to stop it. From simple internet pressure to people actually coming here to spread disruption, we Canadians should remember we did not go to Iraq. We do things differently here in Canada and now is the time to hold fast to what is strong and good about being Canadian, that we are the peace makers, that we have laws protecting women in very clear ways; that we still have a national health system. 

As a nation, Canada has a rough history and we are working to make amends for the “sins of our fathers” but at least it can be said that we are aware of historical failings and of the need to mend them.

We can stand fast by our love of communities and refuse to be pressured by the slippery slope to the south; to stand back from it and hope, somehow, that a hero will rise from those 34 million people to bring them back from the brink. If a criminal like Trump can run rampant over his nation, surely there is an answer to his insanity, a clean clear mind with the charisma to drown his savagery.

No promises, of course.

This has led me away from talking about subdivisions- honestly. Since the end of WWII, I guess, the early ’50’s, we have been building these crummy subdivisions. Crummy because they keep forgetting about community. So, in the early days of building them, people figured it out themselves. Neighbourhoods made their own arrangements with BBQ’s and Christmas parties and just having a few beers together. Kids made their own fun, up and down the streets, taking off in the summer mornings, coming back like country cattle when their mothers called them for dinner.

Yet, I miss the concept, let alone the sight of a local pub or coffee bar, like Gabe’s in Caledon East, where people gathered at 7:30 am for coffee; or the French Press, Moccaberry – but in the sprawling, endless run of look-alike housing, no such thing exists. 

Municipalities should insist on them. Every chance for communities matters.

Readers Comments (0)

Please note: Comment moderation is enabled and may delay your comment. There is no need to resubmit your comment.