Hi people. I’m still alive after my recent break from posting. The old computer suddenly ceased functioning with an electrical short and a puff of the scary scent of electrical burning filling the rooms. Since then I’ve been learning a new system. These dwarf irises are from a Toronto garden in May. Since then great blossoming has taken place. We’ve had daffodils, tulips, hyacinths, redbud trees, magnolias, crabapples and cherry blossoms. These have all gone and now we’re awash with the fading, but still romantic scent of lilacs, lilies of the valley and peonies.
The temperature goes up and down as we make our way to warmer weather. I found the following photograph of crocuses that I took in mid April last year. Crocuses have even entered my dreams–I came upon a scene the other night very much like what’s pictured in the photo.
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.
I am fortunate to live in a neighbourhood with abundant trees, gardens, two large parks and small green areas within easy walking distance. Others are less fortunate. I notice that, in Toronto, areas where people live in poverty are often (though not always) devoid of green spaces. In addition to the built environment often being sterile looking and rundown, there is often a lack of trees and parks. This was also the case in Philadelphia where I grew up in the 1950s and ‘60s.
I realize that the nearness of trees and parks or whatever natural elements are part of your locale is not going to solve all human problems. However, the lack of natural settings certainly creates a bleaker living experience.
I’ve begun thinking that depriving people of natural spaces near their homes or apartments is a human rights violation. This does cut across income or class lines. I’ve seen many flashy condo buildings in parts of Toronto that are not near any green space. Street level consists of concrete, stores and many cars. However, the added problem for the poor or anyone struggling economically is that they do not have the cash to travel, say, to the countryside or to a national or provincial park to be near nature.
The right to live near natural areas in cities should not just be a perk for those who can afford it. We need to start acknowledging the great benefits of living near nature and incorporate these into our neighbourhoods.
We know humanity is in crisis in large part because of our destruction of nature. Our cities, where most of us now live, can become places where we foster people’s awareness of their place in nature. One way this can start is by not stripping away every last tree or plant while building new living or work places. It is also of utmost importance to restore natural areas to those neighbourhoods now devoid of them. This will benefit all our health and that of nature from which we arise and to whom we owe our existence.