SA4QE 2022 - Heather Uhl - Calgary, Canada

There are really only two ways out of our neighbourhood, unless you want to swim. Most often we choose the one that carries us through a path of middle-class homes with middle-class families working middle-class jobs, until they can afford to retire or sell and move to a somewhat higher-middle-class area.

It's a busy route, with cars and buses and almost always someone - or several someones - walking dogs and pushing strollers, no matter the weather or time of day. Polite nods between neighbours as they pass on the narrow sidewalks, hurrying on the way to where the other has just been.

One day we drove the familiar route only to notice that a free community library was where there hadn't been any the day before. It just... appeared.

I love this. An unexpected interruption in the business of life, that generously offers a safe place (and excuse) to pause, connect, and grow and share through the written word.

It feels like an appropriate place to flicker to, and leave a yellow A4 paper commemorating a brilliant mind who did the same for readers, and who still continues to do that through his work.

“Being is not a steady state but an occulting one: we are all of us a succession of stillnesses blurring into motion on the wheel of action, and it is in those spaces of black between the pictures that we find the heart of mystery in which we are never allowed to rest.”

“More and more I find that life is a series of disappearances followed usually but not always by reappearances; you disappear from your morning self and reappear as your afternoon self; you disappear from feeling good and reappear feeling bad. And people, even face to face and clasped in each other's arms, disappear from each other.”

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