I awoke this morning with a feeling of distant sadness.
In my sleep, I'd dreamed of an abandoned baby. I was walking along a sidewalk in downtown Toronto - it was winter, cold, I pulled in my shoulders to brace against the chill wind.
As I walked I heard a baby crying; the cry grew louder as I walked and came upon a cardboard box on the sidewalk. Inside the box was a baby, almost newborn, wrapped in a light cotton blanket and shivering from the cold that penetrated the box, blanket and fragile baby skin.
My first thought was why was this baby abandoned? Images of young parents, or maybe one overwhelmed mother came to mind. I reached in to the box, intending to pick up the baby, take it and the blanket up, open my jacket and share my body heat until I could get it inside and call 911.
Then I noticed that next to the cheap cardboard box was a full stock of baby supplies - Pampers brand diapers, more blankets, clothes, bottles, a box of powered formula. It occurred to me that the parent or parents who'd left this baby behind, in their mind, hadn't abandoned their child but given it all the resources it needed to survive.
But what good is a stack of diapers or a box of formula to an infant in the absence of a care giver?
As the meaning of my dream hit home like the sudden loss I looked around and saw other people intentionally not looking at what was transpiring, or looking to me with an expectant eye as they opted not to deviate from their own trajectory.
That was when I woke. On the radio, an add for Turbo Tax was telling me to get the most out of my charitable donations. This was followed by a newscaster informing us that winter was back with a chill, blowing wind.
Awake, the sadness is no longer distant.