Through the Train Window

Grasses by the Tracks

Grasses by the GO Railway Tracks, east of Toronto, December 2012

I took the GO Train out of Toronto this past weekend, heading a little east.  As always, I enjoy the wild, overgrown places you can often see by railroad tracks.  I focus on them in the sterile-looking parts of the journey.  In the same way, I look for trees and bushes interspersed among uniform suburban developments, bleak factories and storage bunkers.

Gulls in a parking lot

Gulls in a parking lot at a GO station east of Toronto, December 2012

Through the train’s window, I saw these plus ring billed gulls resting in a station’s empty parking lot and views of Lake Ontario with waves rolling in on the wind.

Near Lake Ontario

Through the GO train window near the Rouge Hill Station, Dec. 2012

I’ve taken to photographing trees and shrubs at times while the train is moving.  I enjoy the resulting blurred images that are often surprising.

As the train starts up

As the train pulls out of the Rouge Hill Station, a photograph of trees near Lake Ontario, Dec. 2012

The photos here show the cloudy day it was, filled with the muted colours often associated with melancholy, while softly holding the season.

Tree near Lake Ontario

Trees and bushes near Lake Ontario, Dec. 2012


On a Warm November Day

Railroad Tracks Near Brick Works

On the Way to the Brick Works, November 11, 2012, Toronto

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.

Tires Dumped Near Railroad Tracks

On the way to the Brick Works, we passed tires dumped near the railroad tracks, Nov. 11, 2012, Toronto

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.

Tall Grass at Brick Works

Tall Grass at the Brick Works, Nov. 11, 2012, Toronto

Tall Grass at the Brick Works

Tall Grass at the Brick Works, Nov. 11, 2012, Toronto

Brick Works, Nov. 2012

A warm November 11th at the Evergreen Brick Works, Toronto, 2012

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.

North slope, Brick Works

The North Slope at the Brick Works, Toronto, Nov. 11, 2012

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.

Brick Works, North Slope

At the Brick Works, the North Slope by the geology sign, Nov. 11, 2012, Toronto