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Pig Roast: A community event

Photo credit: © Vivian Chan

Two dear friends of ours are getting married this summer, and as a tribute to them, their community got together to hold a pig roast in their honor. An old family friend hosted the event at his farm. Friends, family, and neighbors from all around came together to both help with the event, and to celebrate the marriage to come. Saying a few words to kick off the feast, the host’s wife congratulated the happy couple, adding that this was the way their small Ontario town wanted to congratulate them. I loved that. To me, it was the perfect personification of the heart and spirit of community.

Through the set-up of the pig on the spit, the roast itself, and preparation of the pig and feast, it was a communal event with people all pitching in to help. Wire cutters, scissors, pliers, and knives came out as everyone helped methodically disengage the wire and foil, and then carve the pig. There was a feeling of comradery, excitement, and love. And all under an expansive blue sky, miles of field and trees, with the silhouette of the barn against the sun. It really doesn’t get better than that.

Living in the hustle and bustle of downtown Toronto, I sometimes miss that. Not to say there is no community in Toronto – there certainly are many. However, perhaps that’s just it: there are many. In large numbers, there is both a certain amount of anonymity, as well as the natural tendency to choose what you want to be a part of. Usually, it’s based on something you have in common: shared interests, ethnicity, religion, belief systems, or philosophy. But being at the event, it was great to both observe and be a part of something with a group of people coming together based on the commonality of sheer proximity. Simple. Living close to one another, establishing the long-time relationships that they now have. Nothing more, nothing less. Proximity. And come time for something to be celebrated, like a wedding, or something to be mourned like a death in a family – the community comes together to share and support each other through that experience.

In Toronto, sometimes, it can feel like you’re the only person in a sea of people. Everyone clamoring towards their personal priorities. Rushing. Pushing. Passing. Cell phones in hand ready to receive the next call… or to make one. Heads down and eyes staring blankly ahead, blind to the people next to us. We are selective with our community. In the big city, our spirit of community is generally only shared with those we have chosen to be in a community with. Out in the country, the commonality of proximity is all that’s needed.

Or maybe it’s just that we need a giant pig and smoldering fire… I’ll bring the charcoal.

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