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  • Writer's pictureMonique Sliedrecht


In helping friends bring a new chair into their house, they were left with a giant empty box which was given to me for artistic purposes.

‘We’ll leave it outside by the recycling for you to take to the studio.’

‘If someone doesn’t take it first! It’s a good shelter for someone on the street!’

That latter comment really struck me. What a sobering thought. A cardboard box as someone’s home.

The weather has been bitterly cold this week, reaching -35 degrees celsius with the wind chill. I don’t imagine anyone would survive in a cardboard box for very long. All the available accommodation for the homeless here in Toronto will be bursting at the seams.

I was in Niagara this last weekend, celebrating my parent’s birthdays. Mom’s is today. I watched Mom sitting in her chair - a chair she got at auction after my parents emigrated to Canada, 4 years after they got married. Sitting across from her I saw how comfortable and at home she was in that chair, and this, despite not always having felt at home in a country so far away from her Dutch birthplace. Her appearing ‘at home’ in that chair made me feel ‘at home’.

We’re pretty resilient people. I’ve admired my Mom’s tenacity, even more in the wake of a heart operation and ongoing complications.

I admire the resiliency of people who come over to a strange and cold land - a new land that can feel alone - and the journeying towards making that place home. And in a city like Toronto I think about those trying to survive in all weathers, unsure of what the next minute will bring.

I’m grateful for the luxury of warmth and home, established and set up in so many various forms and places. I’m grateful for that roof over my head, but most importantly, I’m grateful to people who have shown such love and hospitality, old friends and new - friends who randomly provide me with cardboard boxes and a whole lot more! What a gift.

Home, certainly in it’s fullest sense, is a place to be with people we love and care about. In its very best form, it's a place of safety, a place to find courage and inspiration in our spiritual and artistic quests. ….

And on that note, I'm heading off back to my studio!

Night night x

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