Black on Slack

24 March 2023 – The temperature is back in single digits, but never mind, it is almost spring.

I know this, as I approach Dude Chilling Park, because:

One, hardy crocuses are in full bloom…

Two, a hardy book-lover is sprawled on the grass with her must-read…

and, Three, the slackwire enthusiasts are back.

Once again, they’ve strung two lines here at the park’s north-west corner, and they are honing their skills.

The nearest bench is occupied by a couple of skate-boarders taking a break, so I lean against a tree. As always, I am dumbfounded by the coordination and focus this art requires.

Black Shirt is midway on one of the two lines, a little tentative in her moves.

She bails.

But moments later, on the companion line, her focus is absolute, and her moves are slow, controlled, and rock-steady.

End to end, Black Shirt executes a perfect walk.

I circle the park and, passing the adjacent tennis courts, notice that the Phantom Yarn Artist’s contributions to the fence are still intact.

Nearly intact.

This bit is the remnant of Dr. Bonnie Henry’s famous mantra from the early days of COVID: “Be kind, be calm, be safe.”

It’s the important bit, isn’t it? And always in season.

Labour Day with The Dude

5 September 2022 – I’m cutting through Dude Chilling Park and see the celebrations: one, two, three.

All around the Dude: baby-shower preparations.

Over closer to Guelph Street, two young women wearing ankle bells, one of them holding a drum and explaining a few last details before starting their dance.

Down by Guelph and East 7th, two slack wires slung among the trees, and two intent young practitioners.

I back up to the park boundary and install myself for a moment on Bei’s Mama’s Bench…

for the long view.

Female slack wire artist, left foreground; baby shower, left distance; female dancers right distance (one each side of a foreground tree); and the male slack wire artist over there on the right.

Here we all are! Chilling with our Dude, this bright Labour Day morning.


    "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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