What the Leopard Spotted

6 February 2017 – Leopard. Spotted. Get it, get it? (Painful nudge in the ribs.) Painful play on words, too, but as seasoned readers know, I am linguistically shameless.

And he is one terrific leopard.

detail of mural, n. side Gerrard just e. of Broadview

I’m walking east on Gerrard, just east of Broadview, mildly surprised to find myself here since I’d meant to get off the streetcar at Danforth but … um … for some dozy reason bailed several stops too soon.

And I am rewarded with this leopard! Detail of a larger mural, the rest of it depicting Chichén Itza, but all I want is the leopard.

So now let’s pretend that he is our guide, our spotter, for the rest of the walk.

A whole flurry of words comes next, as many words as a leopard has spots, you might say.

n. side of Gerrard, e. of Broadview

I confess I still haven’t read every last syllable. So you don’t have to, either. We can still enjoy the conviction, the exuberance, not to mention the steady hand, that transferred all that verbiage from someone’s whirlygig brain to a convenient wall.

And now the leopard & I pad our way softly north to Danforth, and eastward again.

Where we meet more words — but only a chosen few. By a master of words. And curated by an institution devoted to words.

in front of Re:Reading, 548 Danforth

We pause at Greenwood now, leopard & I, just north of Danforth, edge of an alley, and spot another mural. Lots of activity in this one, all of it advertising Lucsculpture School and Studios (“relief through creativity” says the home page).

I like this detail best. Luc himself, I assume.

on alley wall side of Lucsculpture, Greenwood just n. of Danforth

Into the alley.

For a hit of pure alleyscape. A not-very-accomplished red face (or something) on a scruffy doorway, framed by other graffiti scrawls & a chipped black grill locked around a rear staircase. Plus a demure, nicely polished, good-taste, late-model automobile.

alley e. fro Greenwood n. of Danforth

I can’t justify it. I just like it. Sometimes — for me anyway — it’s the juxtaposition of independent elements that creates the art.

Farther down the alley, for a couple of moments of cliché that transcend cliché.

The first cliché is the image, a scrawled face that I have seen on oh-so-many alley walls by now. It’s the gate that rescues it. I dance back & forth, hurriedly adjusting — oops — for the ice beneath my feet, and find the spot that amuses me.

same alley, farther east

Peek-a-boo!

The second cliché is the phrase uttered by a man passing by, who, having called out “Hullo!” then urges me to “Have a nice day.” And he is so cheerful, so meaning the words, that he rescues the phrase. I find myself saying it right back to him.

Then we both smile, and walk on.

 

Mood Misty, Mood Indigo

10 January 2016 – A Saturday walk to and from Yorkville, with gallery-hopping in between. The gallery-hopping is great fun, a group activity with volunteer colleagues from the AGO (Art Gallery of Ontario).

The to-and-from is also fun, albeit a solo engagement with real-life tonalities and a much more limited colour palette.

Going up: the muted shades, not just of winter, but also of mist. No “bright blue sky” today! Instead …

lane nr Sherbourne & Dundas

This alley is near home, & one of my favourites. I love the rippling warmth of the old brick on that corner building; I love the care & pride of the residents. Never a scrap of litter; minimal but thoughtful landscaping (the conifer, the rocks, the red barrel that, in summer, bursts with geraniums). Always, too, the signs of active lives — a shining motorcycle just out of frame, and someone’s canoe, tidily racked half-way up a building while it awaits summer.

Later I cut through Wellesley-Magill Park. More near-monochrome, but look at all the texture.

Wellesley-Magill Park, looking west

Veined shrub leaves, in their winter-ochre; crunchy gravel up & down the scale of grey; dark shiny rocks; Ed Pien’s Forest Walk fence with its ribbons of colour toward the rear; pale, strong-lined condos beyond that.

And on, and on some more to Yorkville, to my friends and our visits and chatter — both in the galleries and over tea, coffee & treats later on.

It’s not late when I start back home, about 5 p.m., but we are still caught in short winter days, and the light is already yielding to dusk.

By the time I reach Bloor & Yonge, dusk owns the sky.

One Bloor East condo tower, from the west

I put away my camera, and hike on home.

  • WALKING… & SEEING

    "Traveller, there is no path. Paths are made by walking" -- Antonio Machado (1875-1939)

    "The voyage of discovery is not in seeking new landscapes, but in having new eyes" -- Marcel Proust (1871-1922)

    "A city is a language, a repository of possibilities, and walking is the act of speaking that language, of selecting from those possibilities" -- Rebecca Solnit, "Wanderlust: A History of Walking"

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