Violence, threats, lying, sabotage and damage to personal property. Sometimes it is all around and overwhelming, hard to escape and hard to see through the dark clouds everywhere. I was ill-equipped to understand the hard-ball game that was being waged at Canada Post in those days, between the union and the management. To some I was too fast and to others I was too slow. Every day seemed like a lose-lose proposition. The constant hostility and blatant antagonism made me relish getting out on the road and dealing with real people who were not embroiled in. Violence, threats, lies. Everyone took sides and at the same time tried to stay out of it. Daily, both sides fought with invisible weapons whose long-term damage corroded our souls for which there were no spare parts.

Each of us had a role inside, a persona. I imagine that prison is like that. There was Angry Guy, the Island Dudes, the Greek and the Italian in a never ending duel of whose culture was supreme, and me, Definitive Answer Girl. I don’t know how it came about but after the Italian and the Greek had exhausted a topic and run out of arguments they would agree to settle it by asking me; yes the fork was invented in Italy; yes whats-his-name was Greek. Right or wrong, it was my shtick. The Tall Guys had sorting cases that faced each other, not that they could see over them, and they used to lob lyrics back and forth over the case, singing along to each other’s songs. Whether they had the lyrics right or not, it was their shtick.

One day I discovered harmony, an unexpected beauty on the front lines. I was in a trench of despair, not sure how to see my way through, how to function with people who treated each other in manners unimaginable, when Tall Red began.

When I find myself in times of trouble, mother Mary comes to me, speaking words of wisdom, let it be. And in my hour of darkness she is standing right in front of me, speaking words of wisdom, let it be.

And then the Tall Blonde joined in

Let it be, let it be, let it be, let it be. Whisper words of wisdom, let it be.

And when the broken hearted people living in the world agree, there will be an answer, let it be.
For though they may be parted there is still a chance that they will see, here will be an answer, let it be.

And then Jamaica and Trinidad joined in and so did Greece and Italy and all the rest. I couldn’t believe they all knew the words, could sing together. Even Angry Guy.

Let it be, let it be, let it be, let it be. Whisper words of wisdom, let it be.

And I stood there, stupefied, watching, listening, in wonder.

And when the night is cloudy, there is still a light, that shines on me, shine until tomorrow, let it be.
I wake up to the sound of music, mother Mary comes to me, speaking words of wisdom, let it be.

And I didn’t understand how people could find such depths and heights within themselves, within a moment.

Let it be, let it be, let it be, let it be. Whisper words of wisdom, let it be.

And I still don’t.

It seems as if music has always had a special place in society, whether a collective-participatory experience or more of a giver-receiver situation like nowadays. Music night is my favourite here at the cafe. You can almost imagine the little notes on waves of music floating up and out, encircling and embracing everyone. It moves through us at once dissipating the harshness and elevating the loveliness of the reality that we live and breathe. Maybe it connects that all-important breathing of the singer with our own, reminds us that we are all fundamentally sharing the same space, the same air.

Maybe it’s medicine, maybe it’s magic. Maybe we all need a little more harmony in our lives in order to let it be.


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