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.
We went to the McMichael Gallery this weekend to see an exhibit of Mary Pratt’s work . The gallery, which is surrounded by trees, is 45 minutes to an hour north and west of Toronto, near the town of Kleinburg. We walked around a bit at the end of the day and saw that many branches were down. I wondered if this was part of the aftermath of December’s ice storm and the harsh winter we had. Despite that, the melt is on and spring is gradually arriving.
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.
Here’s a photograph I took in 2009 of birds, trees and the houses across a laneway. I think I’ve mentioned before that in winter when colours are more muted I look to the shapes of bare branches for beauty in the city.
Back to winter in Toronto. Here’s 2 more photos I took of Grange Park on January 5th while I was in the Art Gallery of Ontario.
We had a freezing rain storm in Toronto that began gradually on Friday the 20th and continued until Sunday the 22nd. The storm spread east and included much of southern Ontario, Quebec and the Maritime Provinces. In Toronto, the largest amount of freezing rain fell over the early hours of Sunday, which is when around 300,000 people lost electricity. We were two of those people. The light and heat went out well before dawn on Sunday and our power wasn’t restored until Tuesday early afternoon. This morning I heard that another 50,000 people in Toronto were still in the dark and cold. There’s also tens of thousands in the same boat elsewhere in Ontario and the East Coast.
Last week, black locust trees were in bloom in Toronto. Their sweet perfume filled the air at Todmorden Mills where I’d walked. I love their profuse, cascading blossoms.
I went to Todmorden Mills in Toronto in the early evening yesterday. It was cool and sunny and my preoccupations of the day left me as I got closer to the trees, freshly mown grass, birds and flowers in this bit of preserved nature. The irony of its being so close to the Don Valley Expressway is never far from consciousness.
There’s a wildflower preserve at the site—a short trail through forest by ponds. There I saw yellow and violet irises growing by the water, plus many wild phlox. I came upon a man and his beloved dog having a walk as well as a jogger. Many robins, sparrows, red winged blackbirds and cardinals were with me.
In that short hour my mood went from preoccupied and low to extremely peaceful.