My pre-wakening thoughts this Labour Day morning consisted of deciding whether I wanted Pancakes or French Toast. Since I don’t really like pancakes, this was an odd internal debate. The debate abruptly disintegrated when my mom told me the news. Fire had destroyed the main building of the St. Jacob’s farmers market.
It took me a few minutes to understand and accept what she was saying. It wasn’t possible. She was wrong. I grew up going to that market and I still go frequently. Especially this time of year as the Ontario apples and apple cider that I love and anticipate begin to make an appearance. It’s a historic building. It supports the livelihood of so many families. It can’t possibly have burned down.
But it had. News stories, Facebook, twitter, phone calls. All of them confirmed the news. Fire doesn’t care about the significance of its prey. The building is gone.
Thankfully no one was injured. And fire fighters were able to contain the fire and stop it from spreading to surrounding buildings. Some people commenting on news posts have speculated that box stores will go in place of the market. But that thinking underestimates the importance of the market to this community. Woolwich Township mayor and the people who own the market have said they will rebuild and will do everything they can to get the market going as soon as possible. The process won’t be easy, especially for those who have suffered the most direct losses.
When I fell asleep last night I never imagined the shock that morning would bring. The market will never be the same. We will mourn the loss of the market that is being referred to on Twitter as ‘beloved.’ We will ache with those whose livelihood has been threatened. But we are an industrious community. Previous generations highlighted, and memorialized this quality. The other parts of the market remain and will re-open. Slowly the community will put the pieces back together and the market will be rebuilt.
It is true that today there are people suffering all over the world. Many face disaster and devastation greater than that faced in my community today. World wide events do not negate the immediate and local events. We live in a day with unprecedented access to a global community. But our world is made up of small communities. It is through our smaller communities that we gain direct experience of the world. We are divided by many things. Sometimes we are reminded that we are not merely individuals but a community. Sometimes we are reminded that we are united by many things.
“We live in a world in which we need to share responsibility. It’s easy to say “It’s not my child, not my community, not my world, not my problem.” Then there are those who see the need and respond. I consider those people my heroes.” — Fred Rogers