I have two blogs–this one that I now rarely post on and an art blog that I post on more frequently. Being in nature in and out of the city is a large part of what sustains me in life and allows me to create. So I’ve decided to merge both blogs by creating a nature photography section in my art blog. I’m not removing Of Humans and Nature, just not adding to it.
If you’d like to see additional nature photos of mine, do go to Arts of May. And many thanks to those of you who’ve dropped by Of Humans and Nature and who have followed me. All the best to you.
We went to the Brick Works on Sunday after a wet snow on Saturday. We started out under a cloudy sky that gave way to blue patches, then to bright sun. We were among other walkers, a cross country skier and many frolicking dogs.
After the big freeze and the rain and melt, this was all the snow left in Toronto the other day, although last night we had a dusting of snow. Here, I’m looking out at the expressway, the ravines and the Brick Works in the distance. I love this dramatic, though often windy, view showing urban life and nature together.
Several days ago and today, Victoria Day in Canada, I went to one of my favourite haunts–the Evergreen Brick Works. Sometimes the textures and shapes of the landscape call out to me to be photographed in black and white. These were from wooded paths around the perimeter of the Brick Works, some of which lead to ravines that wind through the city.
We’ve had a week of sunshine and warm weather in Toronto–like a dream of love. This has given way to rain and cooler temperatures which will make the plants quite happy.
The gardens have been bursting with flowers. Magnolias, redbud trees, flowering plums, tulips, daffodils, grape hyacinths, forget me nots, periwinkles and violets have greeted me throughout the neighbourhood. Two days ago, the yellow green maple flowers began dusting the sidewalks and lawns. And at the Brick Works and Todmorden Mills, the sun and leaves of budding trees have formed canopies of light.
These have been joyful days to be alive amidst birdsong and the return of vibrant colour.
A week ago Saturday, on a beautiful sunny day in Toronto, we decided to walk to a favourite haunt—Evergreen Brick Works. There, I saw the first colt’s foot flowers I’ve ever seen. Either I’ve been unobservant or they haven’t been that plentiful in the past. Another possibility is that I haven’t been in the right location at the right time. I also saw two large pussy willow trees which I have loved since childhood.
The call of the red winged blackbirds was a welcome sound as was the sight of two Canada geese. Though they are a plentiful bird whom many regard as nuisances, there they were by a pond, looking quite fine to me.
Since then, crocuses have been adorning early gardens and I’ve been hearing the lovely song of the robin.
Yesterday and the night before we got 25 – 30 cm of snow in Toronto. This was the most significant snowfall we’ve had this year, and the most we’ve had in the past five. Last year we shockingly had only a dusting here and there.
I went out walking in the storm yesterday. I loved seeing the fresh snow and felt a sudden sense of loss because snows like this used to be regular occurrences and not the big deal this one seemed. I was then glad I could feel love for snow, something that I didn’t realize I strongly felt. And glad I could feel this before snow becomes even more rare than it is now, as it seems it will.
Today my husband and I went to the Evergreen Brick Works to take advantage of the beautiful sights I felt awaited us at this former industrial site turned into a sanctuary of sorts. We weren’t disappointed. Here are some of the photos I took.
This past Sunday, Remembrance Day, was an unseasonably warm day of 18 degrees Celsius in Toronto–a record breaker. To take advantage of the warmth, in the afternoon we went to The Evergreen Brick Works. We walked along the railroad tracks, past milkweed and thistles and a disheartening array of tires dumped there.
At the Brick Works, we found that many people had the same idea as us and were strolling around the grounds and enjoying the day. The colours are now soft—mostly muted browns, beiges, yellows and greens.
At the North Slope of this once quarry was a Toronto Parks and Recreation sign noting the geology of the slope that reveals evidence of several ages of ice alternating with warm periods. The sign reads as follows:
-The North Slope is a geological feature of international significance.
-Professor A. P. Coleman, a world-renowned Toronto geologist, first identified the significance of this slope in 1894.
-This site was one of the first in the world to reveal a rare sequence of climate change. The deposits here indicate a glacial episode, followed by a period of climate slightly warmer than today’s, followed by another glacial episode, and lastly the climate of today.
There’s also a drawing on the sign indicating the age of the deposits that make up the North Slope. These range from the bedrock which is 448 million years old, to deposits over 135,000 years old and lastly to the most recent ones in the top layer which accumulated 13,000 – 50,000 years ago. I like to contemplate life from this other perspective—it certainly helps with a feeling a humility.
When I am in natural settings, even in the city, I often feel a sense of companionship with the trees and other plants and animals. This was the case on a recent afternoon at the Brick Works. I was sitting by one of the ponds in a shaded area when I noticed a green frog nearby in the water at the base of some reeds. Later, I saw a female cardinal and heard and saw several goldfinches. These, plus the flowers, trees, water and sky were with me in healing companionship. This may sound romantic to some, but, in fact, it was the reality and one that remains with me.
I went for more walks on the weekend and mid week to the Brick Works in Toronto, Canada to be in a natural setting. Each time, I took the usual route down a hill, then beside railway tracks. This part of town is very close to the Don Valley Parkway, a busy expressway. Yet there are natural settings all around: trees, parkland and shrubs.
I love seeing the flowers and grasses that grow wild along the edges of railway tracks–those discarded places reclaimed by nature. The wildflowers here were profuse, with the yellows and whites now joined by purples. I could hear birds singing above the din of cars and the buzzing of cicadas. I was struck by what seemed to be the parallel worlds I was walking through: the thundering traffic where we are insulated in cars and trucks and the natural setting of plants, birds and insects. This is not a new observation; many people must feel this. However, it struck me more dramatically than it had before. I felt I was walking in a corridor between two worlds.