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 weekend I went to Kortright Centre for Conservation for a walk in the woods. The day was cool and sunny—perfect weather for hiking in comfort. The woods were a vibrant green, a little deeper in hue than the first yellow green of spring.
I photographed the woods and stream in colour and when I wanted to emphasize patterns, I moved to black and white.
As always, when I am at Kortright, I felt a great sense of peacefulness to be in those welcoming woods, so close to Toronto and yet in a world so different.
In Toronto, Canada, there’s a green space we love to visit on the site of an old brick works quarry and factory. This place has developed, through a national charity called Evergreen and the work of people in the community, into a life giving area that attracts many visitors. There’s a farmer’s market every Saturday, a restaurant, gift shops, a garden centre, places for workshops and, most importantly, trees, shrubs, grasses, flowers, ponds and wildlife.
Yesterday, we went for an afternoon ramble on a holiday Monday in Ontario. We walked down the hill and onto a path by a seldom used railroad track alongside Queen Anne’s Lace, hearty yellow wildflowers whose name I forget and the husks of thistles. At the Brick Works, we walked around the ponds, seeing a small turtle, reeds and many water lily pads with white flowers, then up onto a shady path along the edge of a wooded ravine. Here we looked down on the ponds we’d just passed and stopped to see a goldfinch and hummingbird on nearby trees and a chipmunk on fallen logs. Other walkers passed us. We came to a willow tree overhanging the path and stood under its tresses in a protected cave-like enclosure. This was a restorative humanature afternoon.
The photos I’ve posted here are from a previous year in the early autumn. Often I take my camera and binoculars along, but I wanted to be free to be in the setting without these filters. I do love photographing nature, but have to be careful that the process doesn’t take me away from the actual experience of being there. I’ve taken to stopping and being still after I take a photograph and this helps me be present.