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.

 

Belonging…

On leaving the cocoon of my home on Sat. morning, I was conscious of putting on what I think of as my ‘urban armour’. I sat as far as possible from others on the subway and avoided eye contact. As I approached the gate of the cemetery, I could feel my protective shell dropping away and, by the time I saw my friends, felt myself opening up to the smiles, the pats, the cheery greetings. I was very aware of the joy of belonging to a group of warm, welcoming people. Hooray Toronto Power Walkers – you are the best cure for the February blues!

A reminder to all to put Saturday, March 7th in your calendars for our winter business brunch meeting. We will talk about races, sign up for the new year, donate gear, eat, drink and be merry. If anyone has a book they want to exchange please bring one (with the provisio that, if no one takes it, you take it back).

Getting past first impressions…

The day looked a bit grim when I first ventured out but first impressions can be deceiving. It was oddly mild for January and the grey skies sprinkled light, fluffy snow that settled on the cemetery’s trees like bridal lace. We walked through beauty.

By the time we finished, the snow was slipping off the trees. Such wonder is often fleeting, meant to be enjoyed in the moment. I was glad to have shared it with friends.

 

Heads up that our 2020 winter business meeting (and social) will be on Saturday, March 7 after walking. Please put it in your calendar.

It is time to celebrate…

This past year, we have shared substantial loss and sorrow and, as the holidays approach, I think it is time to revisit joy and celebration.

Here are a few things that come to mind.

I love looking at the pictures of my fellow walker’s family babies and hearing the delight in their voices as they talk about them.

Our cemetery is a place of great beauty in the winter (okay, okay, I don’t like the slippery footing but the lacy trees are gorgeous and I marvel at our sightings of coyote, deer and hawks).

The season’s bright decorations and lights always give me cheer.

And this year especially, I cherish the warmth and friendship of the gang – both individually and as a group. My heart always rises as I turn into the cemetery and see the array of bright jackets and friendly faces.

So let’s all think about and celebrate the wonders in our lives – including each other!