Listening to Owls with Shawn - Monday, Apr. 24, 2023
Friday, Feb. 24, 2023 @ 11:02 am
Someone asks a question from the back of the room, and I turn around to look. As I scan the room, my eyes pick up a familiar face. Mike. His hair more grey than I recall, the skin on his face softly folding around his eyes, a comfortable shift into middle age.
We are in a meeting room at City Hall. The walls paneled with walnut. I registered as a volunteer to survey the homeless, to collect statistics, to listen to and record their stories. This night is a training session for us, the researchers, to help us understand our roles and responsibilities. To learn how to manage interactions with the media, and to learn when to end an interview and walk away.
I didn’t know that Mike would be here. I hadn’t seen him since Chris’ wedding.
When the training is finished, I walk towards him. He methodically gears up for cycling. Mid-layer, reflective raincoat, toque, helmet. He picks up his pannier and looks up. I watch his face, and I see the exact moment that his brain recognizes me. I love this moment. I want to experience it over and over again.
His face lights up. He opens his arms for a hug.
We talk for a while, walking slowly towards the bike rack. We unlock our bikes and stand in the parking lot talking. The night is cold, the temperature below zero. Traffic has quieted, and the sky is clear. A crescent moon hangs low in the west. We cycle together for a few blocks, saying goodbye when I turn left and he turns right.
I realize that Morgan reminds me of Mike. That they have a similar temperament. A calm presence and a desire to contribute to community. I’m lucky to know them both.
I cycle across the city towards home, thankful for so many things. My heart full.
This year, over and over, I am reminded that I am home.