somewhere in Carleton County, October 3, 2007


Maybe halfway between Florenceville and Woodstock, where we ultimately stopped at a Pizza Delight for dinner that Wednesday. Having just spent the night at the Falls Brook Centre meeting the CIDA interns before they shipped off to Nicaragua or Bolivia or wherever it was they were going, learning about straw bale construction, eating kale salad around a farmhouse table, sharing stories and singing around a bonfire, muscles finally loosened from taking enough tentative steps blindfolded at the end of the Appalachians, learning what the Acadian forest smells like in the dark.

An introduction to attention, city kid standing wool-capped in the rain with the wrong shoes, learning about permaculture and food sovereignty, dozing off at times, losing balance. The country kids knew better than to close their eyes: had years of dirt under their nails from potato break — those weeks the McCains took them out of school, betting (correctly) that to 15-year-olds, the FLQ crisis was worth no more than $10/hour. This is how we were taught economics: before you were allowed to try the math, you needed to feel your shirt stick to the back of your neck, to give thanks for your cartilage after hours squatting near the earth.

The year after you died/were killed, the parties responsible got around to laying out what remained of your book-plated library for people to pick through. The campus branch of Amnesty International had organized a Day of Silence in solidarity with prisoners of conscience, and so I wept with my mouth closed as I picked through your collection, ostensibly proving through stoicism my dedication to your memory. Years later, on Halloween, I know better than to posture. Rest eternal, light perpetual, and whatever other murmured incantations I can muster, today and all days. The memorial you deserve is the simple gift you gave so freely, continuously — intellectual precision married to generosity of spirit, a home and a nudge out into the world.


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