We don’t walk though this life alone. Even in the deepest solitude we are are surrounded by the breath of life, the breath which forms the winds shaping the world. Sometimes we are noticed and sometimes we are as invisible as the tattoos of memory scattered on our skin. There are so many hearts in here and so much life that stories are inevitable here. Stories which will be drawn from the people who use this place to find each other and themselves.They are also stories taken from moments in PARC history. Like that history, they describe what happens, when boundaries are crossed and chances are taken, in the struggle to find balance.
Thanks to the Metcalf Foundation for providing support and the time for these reflections to be recovered.
And read these stories to remember and to be kind, be just, get even and get out.
I was standing in the middle of the drop-in and talking about the 25th Anniversary celebration. For as long as I have worked here, and that is long time, there has always been a big community party to celebrate the first day PARC opened its doors. It is lucky for everyone this is March 17th because this also happens to be St. Patrick’s Day. That means two parties mixed into one. I wonder whether our PARC founders knew how an Irish birth would affect its evolution and history. Did they anticipate the influence of the Irish spirit on the songs and stories that would be found in this place? I looked out across the room and called out. “Should we have a cake?” Read the entire story here.
The grainy photograph on the newspaper front page showed the dark figure of a man lying on the floor of an empty city bus. He had been shot and killed by the police. He was a 35 years old and his name was Edmond Yu. If you have ever come close to the brink of disaster and been lucky enough to step back from it you will know what the edge of waiting, lasting darkness feels like. It gets into your blood and changes things forever. Some say there is very little separating that darkness from walking into the light; only a fine, fine line, waiting to be crossed. We can’t predict what will happen if this line appears. All we can do is use what it leaves us. Read the entire story here.
Some people use up all the space around them. They fill the sidewalk when they walk down the street and pass through the world in ways you will never forget. They leave an invisible tattoo on your skin. You may not see it but it is there. That is how I think of John Blank, and why I smile when I remember the way he introduced himself to me. “Hi, my name is John Blank and I am an original.” Read the entire story here.
Bobby loved the woods but was at his limit on this trip. He sucked in and blew out his breath. He needed a smoke but his tobacco was finished. He had been rolling butts made from butts for more than a week and now he had only one tattered cigarette left, ready to light but stored in his kit. He was saving it for a place called Have a Smoke Portage. He felt his stomach turn as he threw out his fishing line again. His food supply was reduced to scraps and what he wanted most was a decent meal. Anything would be better than the Minute Rice mixed with bits of instant soup and any fish he might catch. At night he dreamed of ice cream. Read the entire story here.
The story of how I came to know an old prospector named Walter began far away from Ragged Falls on a hot August day with clear blue skies. Walter was 78 years old and living in a tiny room inside a large, decrepit rooming house. His building was on the verge of collapse; held together with patch work repairs and heart break. He had been living in that dump for 6 years. Read the entire story here.