Here’s a post after a long hiatus. I went to the Brickworks on this sunny day in Toronto. There, the light on the snow, the dried grasses, the trees were a boost to my spirit.
Last weekend I went to the exhibition of students’ art work at OCAD, The Ontario College of Art and Design, in Toronto. I was impressed by the number of students whose work addressed their concerns about the health of the natural world.
One fibre artist, Cassidy Tam, exhibited a large work she’d created along with her idea for a children’s camp called Camp Be a Bee. I didn’t get a chance to meet Cassidy, but loved her art work and camp idea.
On her flyer, she writes:
Have you ever get scared by a furry Bumblebee? Do you know why they like to hang around in the backyard? Get ready for a two-week adventure to explore and learn about pollination and local plants that live in Toronto. From art exploration to scientific experiment, you will interact with other camp members to build a beautiful meadow just like a hard working little bee!
I was drawn to her ideas because of my concern for the health of bees. I’m also heartened when I see people working to bridge the gap of disconnection between humans and the natural world. Helping city children appreciate nature is an important part of changing our attitudes toward the larger world that sustains our lives.
Good luck, Cassidy, with your camp and your art work. Here’s Cassidy’s website. Her card, below, shows her email.
On Sunday, I went again to Todmorden Mills in Toronto. It was sunny and relatively mild–around 8 or 9 Celsius. I walked on the little wildflower path through trees and by a pond and streams. On the way, I’d seen a cardinal atop a naked tree–pointed out to me by a young couple passing by. In the woods, I heard chickadees and a red winged blackbird. And a woman walking her dogs pointed out a woodpecker–I think it was a downy–on a nearby tree that she was photographing. I searched the ground for tiny green shoots, leaves and moss, looked in the trees and shrubs for buds and came upon a squirrel looking down at me while munching a nut.
I was thinking about the latest climate change report that came out several days earlier warning again about the changes to the climate that are already here and that will be coming. I thought about what we gain and lose when nature is protected or harmed. When I am in a natural setting, urban or more wild, I feel a link to something larger than myself. I am a living being among others in nature. I know my experience is not unique and that the companionship of humans and non is vitally important for my, and others, well-being.
Last week we had some warmer days and on a sunny afternoon, Wednesday the 19th, I walked to Todmorden Mills Heritage Site just off the Don Valley Parkway in Toronto. I knew it was my chance to see the wooded wildflower preserve while the snow was still on the ground, ahead of predicted above-freezing temperatures and rain. As always, my mood improved greatly walking in this beautiful setting. I heard chickadees and, I believe, a cardinal above the traffic. And I loved seeing the late sunlight on the snow, trees and rail fences. Here’s some photos from that day.
I’m taking a break from the cold and going to Larkwhistle Garden in my mind. Larkwhistle is a terrific garden on the Bruce Peninsula in Ontario that has been created and gardened by Patrick Lima and John Scanlan. For decades, they have opened the garden to visitors in the summer. But last year, they decided to end those public visiting days.
We have gone to this place of beauty for years since travelling to the peninsula and it remains with me in memories of flowers, birds and grace. And with thanks to Patrick and John for what they have created and generously shared.
In my last post I mentioned that there are inspiring signs at the Donkey Sanctuary of Canada in Guelph, Ontario. I’ve photographed some of these over time. Here’s several images I took between 2008 and 2013. The charter feels like one we humans could benefit from ourselves!
I thought I’d take a break from the cold and show you photos from the Donkey Sanctuary of Canada in Guelph, Ontario. I first learned about the Donkey Sanctuary from a friend a few years ago and have been visiting the Sanctuary ever since. There, donkeys, mules and hinnies that are neglected, abused or unable to be looked after are cared for. Meeting the animals on this beautiful farmland has been a wonderful experience. It has taken me away from my own initial ignorance that donkeys might need a sanctuary.
At the Sanctuary are a number of signs with inspiring quotes about humans’ relationships with other animals. I’ve included a photo of one here, in addition to a pair of donkeys, plus the young Ruby who was just a few months old when we saw her in September.