I planned on writing a blog post today. I was going to describe the clearing out process I’m in the midst of, which seems to take hold of me every autumn. However, today is a sad day in Ottawa, and beyond. My mind is so weighed down by recent events that it seems petty to write the usual post.
Yesterday I listened to the sirens and helicopters heading to Elgin Street and Parliament Hill, just 9 km from my office. I spoke with my staff who were trapped downtown, unable to travel along to the home of our clients. One of my team was just down the street from the War Memorial and heard the gunfire. He was pretty shaken.
The calls and texts from my staff flowed into my office about the same time that social media was heating up with the news. Then came the messages from far flung family. I heard from people in the United States, England, and Brazil asking if I was ok. It was astonishing to witness how quickly an event in Ottawa hit the media across the globe. By the end of the day, Anderson Cooper himself was reporting live from pavement I had trod on only a few days before.
Details are now emerging from the frenzy of information, the shock is wearing off, and people are buzzing with their stories of how the events impacted their usual daily routine. Secure modes at schools, government employees on lock downs, road closures, traffic backups. I have not been consuming it all. It is too much to take in, and it doesn’t help me process my own feelings. Nor do I want to contribute to the noise by sharing here the minutiae of my experience.
However, I do find comfort in hearing other people speak of it as a sad day. It assures me that I am not alone in sensing that something shifted in Ottawa yesterday. Perhaps it is as simple as the realization that a random act of violence against the public can happen here, in Canada’s biggest small town.