“Happy Tuesday”

9 November 2016 – The sign has no political import, you understand. It’s just doing its sidewalk job, drumming up business for the café inside — and very time-efficiently at that. Why write a whole new sign, when you can just edit one word?

repurposed café sidewalk sign

But the Tuesday Walking Society is out there on November 8. This is Election-Tuesday in the USA, a day that will make a lot of Americans very happy indeed.

Others, not so much.

In fact, enough others are unhappy enough to cause the Canadian Citizenship and Immigration website to crash the following day. More immigration inquiries than it could handle.

But on Tuesday itself, nobody knows any of this. It’s a warm, sunny morning in Toronto, and Phyllis & I are working our way west on Bloor Street to Christie Pits Park, located at — you guessed it — Christie Street.

A few blocks short of the park, we dive into an alley just north of Bloor. Look! Raccoons!

alley to the east of Christie St., n. of Bloor

Two surprises. First, they are painted on a garage door, not live on the ground. And, second, I find them delightful. (Not necessarily my attitude to their marauding live cousins.)

We have no particular reason to visit the park, except we haven’t done so in a while, and it’s as good a starting point as any for further exploration.

Fall colours have been muted this year, we agree, but the golds are still blazing throughout the park.

still brilliat trees, Christie Pits Park

We kick through the leaves underfoot, wrinkle happy noses at the distinctive aroma, cock our ears to the distinctive sound.

We see a big, blue canoe. Phyllis stops, so do I, but I also murmur, “It’s awfully scruffy…”

Community Canoe, in Christie Pits Park

“It’s meant to be,” she replies. (The world’s gentlest reprimand.)

“That’s what native species do, this time of year…” And she then explains Community Canoe, the network of pollinator-friendly canoe gardens, part of the Homegrown National Park Project.

Leaving the park, I turn back for a moment to watch four ladies practise their morning tai chi. Sure, peaceful movements, in a warm, peaceful dip in the ground.

tai chi i Christie Pits Park

Distinct change of mood as we begin exploring neighbouring streets & alleys!

More urban wildlife in an alley off Ossington, once again painted not live.

alley nr Ossington n. of Bloor

Pigeons.

As with the raccoons, I find the painted variety delightful, the live variety somewhat less so. (In fact, when it comes to pigeons, I tend to agree with Tom Lehrer.)

More alleys in the general area, some with very fine murals, others that owe their impact more to Mother Nature than to any local artist.

another Ossington area alley

A bit farther north in the alley, though, some happy murals.

A giddy flower …

Ossington-area alley

and smiling faces in an Elicser mural. (The very first smiles I have seen on any work by this artist.)

same alley, farther north

We walk a lot more — up to Dupont, as far west as Lansdowne, south to Dundas and then head east again.

The loop eventually brings us to Trinity Bellwoods Park. I drag Phyllis to a vaguely remembered stretch of pavement, a place where various pathways intersect near the north-east corner of the park.

I want to know if “Sun slant low…” is still visible on the pavement, or if time has scuffed it away.

It is faint, but still there. I am so pleased.

in the N/E corner of Trinity Bellwoods Park

I had to come home & look up old records to see when I first noticed, first photographed, this extraordinary love poem to the sun’s yearly trajectory.

There! 20 December, 2014. (Click: you’ll be rewarded with the full text.)

And when better to honour the poem, than as we approach the winter solstice?

 

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3 Comments

  1. DJ

     /  9 November 2016

    I join the many who have found this day dark and sad, considering the US presidential election results. But the Community Canoe project is so cheering — I’ve already joined the wave of home gardeners who do not rake leaves or cut down stalks in the autumn, knowing now that many desirable critters (not racoons, not pigeons) overwinter there. There’s a win-win: winter critter homes, less raking and bagging for me. Win some, lose some.

    Reply
  2. From where I sit, I don’t know that there was all that much to choose between Clinton and Trump, but then I listen to John Pilger and I don’t really know enough to critique. My daughter planned to migrate to New Zealand a few years ago if our vicious conservative government was returned. The penalties of democracy – you actually get who most people vote for … unless… Stop now!!

    Back to your post. I loved your phrase “wrinkle happy noses” and the way you characterised that splendid poem “a love poem to the sun’s winter trajectory.”. Thanks for the link to the full text: I’ve saved it. Does it have a poet attached?

    I enjoyed the idea of the community canoe project. I sent the link to a Canadian-Australian friend whose enviable vegetable garden was a canoe. The circles life goes in! And your photo of the artistic output of Mother Nature in golden leaves and weathered timber was a beauty.

    Altogether, a very satisfying post. Thank you yet again.

    Reply
    • No poet’s name attached to “Sun Slant Low,” & I am so sorry, I would have liked to give credit and to look for other work by this person. I’m glad you like the community canoe project; these simple ideas can be very powerful & deserve to be shared. Thanks for your interest.

      Reply

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