I came of age on the edge of suburbia, where cookie-cutter housing projects end and the surrounding countryside begins. Decades later, again I find myself perched on the edge, further west than when I was young but still at the very end of one little patch of suburban sprawl.
I wonder how many cats are lost every day? Certainly this number cannot be insignificant, for it is something almost every cat owner must address at one point or another. I have personally been involved in the search for lost cats on at least five occasions—and have probably made posters of my own at least three times. This particular poster up on the mountain in Hamilton caught my eye for whatever reason—the unusually bold design, the melancholic appearance of raindrops on the plastic cover, or perhaps the forlorn look of the potentially doomed feline, its indeterminate fate depending on chance and circumstance. And are we not all lost as well? Put up a poster for yourself.
Yesterday I seized an opportunity to combine two of my passions, the exploration of abandoned places and appreciation of underground electronic music, at a one-off techno party titled The Whiteloft 白厝. From the event description:
The Whiteloft was originally an abandoned villa where only wild dogs go to sleep. Buried deep in silver grass, just alongside the Golden Waterfront of Hongshulin, Taipei, the building hovers the Interzone between metropolis and mangrove jungle. Humdrum pedestrians seem oblivious of this colossal fortress: its skeleton rusted and exposed, leftover building materials strewn astray. Despite its shroud of mangrove leaves, the building appears raw and naked. We tried to find historical records about this building, but found nothing but total blankness, hence the name The Whiteloft.
Yesterday I went out riding near where I grew up, something I haven’t really done before. I moved away from home as soon as I could and never really turned my attention outward to the countryside. Whenever I did go riding as a teenager I went inward to the big city. Nothing about long rides on rural roads appealed to me then. After a year of exploring Taiwan 台灣, typically on two wheels, I was curious to find out what might happen if I took the same unscripted approach. In Taiwan it was my habit to set out on rides with only a vague idea of where I was going. I opened myself to the possibilities and discovered many things of great interest to me that I might not otherwise have seen.
I often wonder what my life might have been like had my parents remained in Montreal, the city of my birth, rather than hightailing it to Toronto in the late 1980s. There is no way to go back, not now, though it doesn’t stop me from wondering. Another branch of the family remained behind—and several of my male cousins on that side have now done time in prison. Would I have been among them? Or would I have escaped that particular turn of the wheel of fate?
When my maternal grandfather passed away in 2011 my immediate family and I pilgrimaged to our hometown for the funeral. Along the way it seemed fitting to exit the highway in the West Island and make a brief pitstop at my childhood home, picture here. It looks much smaller than I remember it being, not that that should come as any great surprise. All our memories are filtered through a smoky glass, childhood memories especially. But there it is: a modest bungalow in the Anglophone suburbs, an artifact of a lost personal history, the location of a branch point leading off to some unknowable future in these many worlds of ours.