I’m north of Toronto, on a long bus ride. My head against the window, I’m watching strip malls and electrical towers and icy train tracks zoom by.
And then I see a flag. One lone flag in a sea of small fences. Red, with a white crescent moon and one star. Crisply flapping.
And I imagine this old man, signing the papers for his small plot of garden in the cold northern wastelands. Nodding to his neighbours as they grow peas and kale and spinach, but his garden?
Grapes. Grapes and sugar beets. Carob seeds. In the summer, he sits on a faded canvas chair, and closes his eyes and imagines.
Mount Erciyes, rising high in the distance. The fig trees spreading their branches like a woman’s skirt.
And the Blue Mosque at sunset. The four towers reaching to the sky.
His tiny patch of home.
Photo Chris Hawes