time as a circle, a loop, a ball of yarn

on time, signs and wonders, and being alive

I want to believe I have connected a circle to it’s closing point. I don’t know that time is a flat circle, but it is round. I walked to Trinity Bellwoods the other day. I will draw a comic about Crawford Street to be published in a popular anthology before I ever set foot in this park. I think it is 2014, maybe 2015. It used to be a bridge but they filled it all up. I wanted to be a comic artist then, now I don’t think I have the energy.  I don’t have the energy for much.

Before this visit, the last time I was in the park I was mourning the loss of my graduation show, studio access, failure, many things. They were heavy uncertain times, they still are. I don’t think it has gotten lighter, I think I have just gotten used to the weight. 

If I had a long break at school I liked to take the streetcar to the Paper Place or TYPE, both if I was dissociating. I’d get Sam James as a treat, it’s good coffee but I think Hot Black is better. At least it is sweeter. I wasn’t a diabetic then, I am now though. I don’t know what it will take to get me to not want the sweeter things. 

The Sam James is closing soon and I am thinking of Queen Street.

We would visit sometimes, not often, when I lived in Scarborough. It felt like a ritual. Park at Warden Station, and go to get my hair done. I was always relaxing it, desperate for length and straightness that never suited me. I’m supposed to want this, to change my hair and be more like Them. When we were done we would take the Queen streetcar, get off at the Eaton Centre and walk down Queen. We would go to the Crepe Cafe which I discovered is closed now.

I’ve sat with so many friends in that little cafe. Suffering over the decision of  wanting real food or a crepe. It’s a very smart way to make you pay for dessert and lunch. Lately I have been craving crepes. I don’t think I could ever make one successfully and I’m scared to try, I don’t want to waste the eggs.

 I didn’t go there enough during school and I regret it. Everything is a weed shop now, but you can buy your weed online. When will black people be the sole owners of cannabis distribution as reparations or does that scare the white people too much. White people who make smoking weed their personality, imagine having that privilege. 

Anyways what I am trying to tell you is that in March when I had no clue what my life was amounting to and I was sure I would simply die, I walked through Trinity Bellwoods Park. I was relying on a ritual for comfort. I was also disassociating, but when am I not? Teach me a reason to stay in this body and maybe I will learn it.

I went to TYPE. I bought Dionne Brand, I do not think I have read it yet. It was a lecture series. I think I also bought In The Dream House by Carmen Maria Machado. Or maybe that was a visit before. I don’t think I went to the Paper Place because at this point in time I don’t think I will ever make art again. I regret not keeping the linocut knives I would never have to return, but they are a Christmas gift this year instead. I have so much paper I can use for art held captive at school and I never know if or when I will get it back. I never bother to check my school email now.

I did get Sam James though, which I’m sure at the time was a crime of double caffeination. I try to visit a friend at work at Artscape but they are in a meeting. I don’t know what it would have changed. I guess I just wanted to see a friend. I now know the value of seeing a friend, who knew that I took it for granted.

I’ll finish this trip by walking through the park, taking the Dundas streetcar to Lansdowne and visiting Xpace.  I guess I wanted to see the point of art at the time, because it had left me. 

It crawls it’s way back to me slowly over the months following march. Lockdown, the proper one, starts three days later. Probably. I can’t remember, my best friend can but I have never been able to hold time and memory at the same time. I think I am better at holding memory than time.

I’ve stopped reading tarot but I’m sure I drew a wheel of fortune somewhere. A wheel, a circle, a ball, something that can return back to itself in a loop. I get accepted at Xpace’s residency in August the same time I get hired at TYPE books.  Signs and wonders everywhere.

This time when I revisit Trinity Bellwoods it is a Friday. I think it was a Friday the last time too. I walk past Xpace, I love the new window display. Back then the park felt brimming with solitude, now it is full of community and an encampment of people just trying to live in a city that wants them dead. I watch people bring them supplies while I wait for my best friend. They are my favourite person, they introduced me to Sam James and TYPE.  When I would travel along Queen with my mom we never really went further than Spadina.  When I would travel by myself for my internship I never went further than Christie street. That shop is closed now too, but it’s been closed for a long time. 

They give me so many presents for a holiday I hate, but it’s just an excuse for us to spoil each other. We are Libras after all. We sit, talk about nothing, and drink our last hurrah coffees. It is cold and we feel it in our toes. I walk with them along Queen, we’ve done this before, walking long distances is very easy when you are with someone you love. I feel like I am retracing steps in reverse, I have not been by school for months and now I am back where I started or ended. Somehow I have survived the year even if it has whittled me down. It is only because of family and love that this was possible, our resilience that is only possible together, in community with each other. I have closed the circle, tied a knot or something. I guess time being a circle is just what healing is. A cycle always in repetition. I’m sure someone smarter has written about this, cyclical healing. We start, we stop, we go forward, we go back, but we are always growing past things that happened to us before. There are signs, and there are wonders. Sometimes something sticks, sometimes we ignore it and it comes back louder the next time. 

And then we simply begin again. 

thank you for reading friend, i hope there was something of worth for you and i appreciate your time. i hope you can find the signs and wonders that are there for you too.