Looking forward …

So much has been said about ‘the year that was’ that the only fitting thing I can think of to add is “Goodbye and good riddance!”

I know we still have a ways to go but here are three of the things I intend to do in 2021, as soon as it is safe to do so.

  • Hug people (great big bear hugs, up close and personal)
  • Eat at restaurants (really want to resume our Saturday breakfasts sitting shoulder to shoulder discussing everything under the sun)
  • Travel for fun (please let the vaccine be widely distributed by the fall in time to do the Banff race!)

As bad as 2020 has been, I do give thanks for TPW which has helped keep me sane and moderately healthy.  I am so amazed  at and grateful for the group’s tenacity and adaptability. Who would have thought a year ago that we would be having outdoor picnics in the snow.  So Canadian, eh?

A holiday season like no other…

There has never been a Christmas that I haven’t spent with family, but this year it will just be my husband and me (and, of course, our evil cat Leo, wearing a special bow). It does make me sad but I do know how privileged I am.  Many people will be truly alone and some will be in need  – they are the ones for whom we need to be showing compassion.  I also know that this is the right thing to do to help beat this disease for all of us.

I confess I was dithering but then my husband said to me “Wouldn’t I feel a fool, it I caught this thing and died, months before a vaccine was available.” That bit of truth, coupled with my rising anger at some of the foolishness that is going on out there, made me bite the bullet. And, although we will be deprived of physical togetherness, we will raise a glass and open presents together over Zoom.

I look forward to celebrating with other groups of friends in a similar fashion, including my beloved TPW gang for our Black and Medals on Wednesday evening.

Stay safe – flaunt our beautiful hand made masks (thank you P) and keep that social distance! We are going to get through this. Wishing everyone good spirits, love and kindness to others.

Gratitude for gifts received…

 

Tuesday Night Keeners

The beautiful weather this week has been an unexpected gift  from Mother Nature, making Saturday’s walk a special treat. It was even warm enough to enjoy our coffee and tea, accompanied by delicious cookies (thank you N!) at our very own outdoor gathering spot (thank you B).

And then, on my return home, I was welcomed with another extraordinary gift – the Biden/Harris ticket prevailed (hooray)!  I could hardly believe how relieved I felt. I know our giant neighbour and traditional friend has a long way to go (I do not envy the job that has to be done) but at least there is now some cautious hope back.

It does make me realize how fragile democracies are and reminds me how vigilant we all need to be to make sure ours remains strong and vibrant. And, oddly enough, that brings me full circle back to our group. I think it all starts with being good to each other, making room for everyone’s voice, practicing respectful listening – basically, doing onto others as you would have them do onto you (and, of course, voting).

Let’s all raise a toast to new beginnings globally and continue fostering our own small democratic group locally!

Fall musings…

I love the fall – despite the fact that it is the harbinger of winter.  The cemetery on Saturday was ablaze with eye-warming reds and yellows. Made me think of poetry and so I went looking and found this lovely little poem by Emily Dickinson.

The morns are meeker than they were,

The nuts are getting brown;

The berry’s cheek is plumper,

The rose is out of town.

The maple wears a gayer scarf,

The field a scarlet gown.

Lest I should be old-fashioned,

I’ll put a trinket on.

This Tuesday is the last one for hill-training (10 times up and down that ever steeper hill) and, the week after, many of us are doing the Scotia virtual relay – after which we will have some lovely new ‘trinkets’ to wear around our necks.

Stay safe and sane, wear your masks, wash those hands and maintain  distance as you walk your distance!

Glad to be back…

I have finally, after being sidelined with a sprained foot for over six weeks, been able to rejoin the group  over the past couple of weeks and am almost back to normal. I’m still getting my speed and  distance up but thrilled to be able to keep up with the group all the way round the cemetery. Thank heavens for the resilience of the human body – even at my mature age!

Being away, has made me even more appreciative of the whole TPW experience – the beauty of the places we walk, the joy of being outside, the comfort  of being with friends – even if we have to keep our distances.

Some bits of news – we are going to move back to an 8:30 start on Saturdays at the cemetery (hooray) and we are going to start 4 weeks of hill training as of Tuesday, Sept. 15 at our usual spot at Sherwood Park. Hopefully the weather will remain mild and we can enjoy  after-walk pizza on the patio at our favourite place.

Phyllis will be updating us all on the plans for the Scotiabank Waterfront Marathon relay but take note that there are couple of spots left – stay tuned.

Wishing everyone a relaxing Labour Day.

Rain, sprain, go away….

As I write this, it is pouring and I am feeling sorry for myself.

I have been sidelined with a sprained foot for 3 weeks – and am looking at another week, at least, before I think I can join the gang again. Okay, it is a minor injury and it is healing, but, really, on top of COVID and just when I was getting back in the walking groove with my TPW buddies – very cranky making!

I really miss the walking and, maybe even more, I miss the company as I have throughout the lock down.

So, a reminder to us all, enjoy every step, every walk, every conversation.  Savour the sensory delights of foot in front of foot; arms swinging; the smell of grass; the beauty of the cemetery’s greenery or the waterfront’s every changing view; and  the voices of our friends chatting, punctuated often by laughter.

There, the rain has stopped and I have talked myself into feeling better.  How lucky we are –  I can hardly wait to rejoin you all.

I am looking forward to joining some of the group for a planned picnic lunch on the Toronto Island on Aug. 15. If you are interested, put it in your calendar and stay tuned.

3 Summer Haikus (with apologies to the masters)

Apart together

Under the shady grave trees

We share our stories.

 

Molten summer sun

Shade patches like mountain pools

Offering respite.

 

Slick with salty sweat

Head down to regain myself

I’ve done my distance.

 

For those of you interested in joining the Saturday group at the cemetery, we are now starting at 8am to beat the heat (and there are some keeners who start earlier). Remember to keep an appropriate distance, hydrate and use sun screen – it is hot out there!

Experimenting with normal(ish)…

In an attempt to keep myself motivated to ‘walk the distance’, I have been identifying friends who live within certain distances and walking to see them.  This Saturday, I asked a group of east-ender TPWs  to send me their addresses if they were interested in participating in the experiment. I plotted out a route that brought us together at a half-way point in ones, twos and threes. The complete circuit varied depending on where people were coming from, with the longest being 10-12K.

Our half-way host went above and beyond, offering yummy  baked goods as we kept respectful distances and chatted in her back yard (huge thanks). The day was glorious and it was wonderful to actually see people in person – even if we couldn’t hug. Over the last while, Mother Nature seems to be offering us some apology for COVID by providing one of the most glorious springs that I can remember.

And, as a bonus, on the homeward journey, we came across a woman who was doing a spring purge and getting rid of some unopened art supplies amongst other things. I availed myself of a couple of canvases which I hope will motivate me to do some work with acrylics. Hmmm, maybe a pear…..

For those of you who don’t know, our beloved cemetery is now open from 5:30pm on (and noon on Sundays). Some of the Tuesday night keeners have tested it out on the last two Tuesdays. I found the first time a bit stressful because there were a lot of bike riders but the second time was great. So, if you are interested, grab your hand-sanitizer, don your mask and join us (walking in twos at an appropriate distance) next Tuesday at 5:30. It is almost like normal.

Mayday! Mayday! Mayday!

I am trapped in my condo with my only escape being food, wine and Netflix!  Quickly, send memes, schedule Zoom chats and figure out how to get me  some of those baked goods I keep seeing on What’s App.

Okay, okay, not really that big a deal in the scheme of things. I do have lots of time to think about all sorts of trivial things and so, what with it being May and being in the middle of a pandemic, I got to wondering why/how/when ‘mayday’ became a distress signal?

Here is what Uncle G. tells us:

Mayday got its start as an international distress call in 1923. It was made official in 1948. It was the idea of Frederick Mockford, who was a senior radio officer at Croydon Airport in London. He came up with the idea for “mayday” because it sounded like the French word m’aider, which means “help me.”

Very appropriate for a duel language country, n’est-ce pas?

I did get out this morning to get some costly cat food at the vet (we spare no expense for evil Leo) and, on route, found myself unexpectedly moved to see the flowers planted in the street planters. How lovely that even now, in a crisis, our city takes the time and resources for such grace notes.

Hang in there everyone – I am looking forward to seeing you, in person, on the other side of this.

Walking in the new reality…

It is hard to believe that just a month ago, close to 30 of us were socializing at my house, pressed close to each other with lots of hugs and enthusiastic close up conversations.  It seems like another world.

This morning, with our beloved cemetery closed, I went out walking on my own. In prep, I washed my hands, slathered on the hand goo, made sure I had wipes and a handmade mask in my pocket, put on gloves and off I went.  I used the stairs, not the elevator, dutifully observing the blocked off space around the doorperson’s desk, opened the door with my shoulder and hit the street.

I carefully eyeballed any approaching pedestrian to figure out how to maintain at least 6 ft between me and them.  It created some interesting dance like moves as we weaved and dodged around each other.  Most people were very polite and more friendly than in the olden days pre-pandemic – lots of smiles, hellos and good mornings. Several people paused as I hurriedly, took a snap of the first spring daffodil I have seen. Of course there were exceptions – the runner who thought she deserved the middle of the path while I clung to the marshy edges and the group of people who hadn’t heard of single file.

We needed some groceries so I ended my walk at our local No Frills but there was a long lineup so I took a chance and added two blocks to my walk and went to the Longos. No lineup, in and out in a jiff.

At home, I repeated my washing routine and then wiped down the groceries. Felt like I had been on a major expedition fraught with danger and I was glad to be back home, even if I am getting a little stir-crazy.

What a strange new world this is. Keep the faith my wonderful Walkers.