It’s 2023

Can you believe it’s 2023 already?!? I’ve been waiting for, I don’t know, 365 days? Well … maybe not.

So it’s the new year. Have you made any resolutions? My first was to stop being goofy – as you can see from that first paragraph – that resolution didn’t get very far. The second resolution was to get my blogs in on time – and resolution number two is no longer a concern. My third resolution is to stop making resolutions – it looks like I’m three for three. I don’t know why I even think about resolutions. Do I really need the pressure? No. I heard a podcast recently that said this should be a time of new beginnings, not in a crazy way, but more of a gradual opening up to match the seasons. I like that.

I didn’t walk with TPW on Saturday morning. I did a longer walk on Friday and I started for a walk on Saturday morning. I didn’t get far before I tripped and went down. It wasn’t too hard but enough to tell me I should just go for a coffee. I did. But that evening I met up with four other hearty TPW walkers for a New Year’s Eve race in the Beaches. And I understand more of our group was out for a race on New Year’s Day. For some they were planned races and for others it was a last minute entry. I think that’s great. There’s nothing like the camaraderie of friends to make a walk enjoyable.

Happy New Year all! 

How do you take your coffee??

Crisp! As in the weather. Some might say “brisk” or even “cold”, but nowhere near “<expletive>-ing cold”.
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It’s funny the way the mind wanders (at least it’s funny to me). Someone on our walk mentioned that it was brisk, and that made me think of crisp – a crisp fall day – and that made me think of the old commercial for Coffee Crisp (hence the heading of this post). Yes, my mind meanders almost as much as the roads we travel at the cemetery.
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Ah yes, we’re back in the cemetery. On my way there I rode under grey skies and then through fog. Leaves were coming down and there were lots of yellows and reds, but muted by the grey overhead. Along the way I saw the sun as a ghostly white circle through the misty skies. And by the time I got to the cemetery the sun was starting to stream through the mist from that morning’s frost.
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Some of the trees had lost all their leaves, but not too many. However, there wasn’t much green except for the pines and the grass. The grass itself had patches of frost making for a wonderful green and silver mottled effect. As for those red and yellow leaves that seemed dull under grey skies, they were absolutely sparkling in the sunshine against the sky blue1This display rivals the beauty of the stunning plethora of greens that covers the trees in the spring.
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And the cold? What of it? We walkers know that once we get moving we’ll heat up from our own exertion. That and the knowledge of the delightful post-walk coffee and chat! This week’s was no exception with plenty of stories, smiles and laughter. And look, we’re back to coffee. Just like our winding path through the cemetery we end up right where we started. But for all the effort, beauty and camaraderie, we know the journey was worth it!
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How do you take your coffee?? With TPW!

A meditation on blue

A meditation on blue

I will admit that I felt quite blue this winter – the cold and the grey skies and the continuing pandemic. But this is not a meditation on the blues.
Rather, it’s a meditation on the blue that can drive away the blues (not the oxymoron you would think).
What started me thinking about blue? As I walk home from Bloor St., when Coe Hill (my street) cuts off from Windermere, I can see the lake above the trees (I’m standing at the top of a hill). Lake Ontario can be lots of different shades. It’s often greenish-blue, and when there has been a storm it can get quite brown with the runoff from the Humber river. This week I was stopped in my tracks as I admired the luscious blue sky and the bold, almost navy blue of the lake. There are no words to describe the feeling it gave me.
Even though April has been rainy and cloudy and cool, we have had our share of warmth (mmmm, I can still feel it, or is that the bath I just got out of). We’ve also had some wonderfully clear, blue skies. If I say that sky blue is my favourite colour, do you see the same blue I do? There are so many shades of sky blue – at the horizon it takes on a pale shade, at dusk it can be a deep blue tainted with the wonderful hues of the sunset. But my favourite is when the sun is well up in the sky and there’s not a cloud to be seen. Although the occasional white, fluffy cloud can set the blue off quite nicely, especially when that little puff-ball manages to block the sun. And I’ve mentioned before that a tree in full leaf always makes the blue pop. It makes me happy.
Hey there Mr. Blue
We’re so pleased to be with you
Look around see what you do
Everybody smiles at you
 
My choir sang Mr. Blue Sky and it is such a joyful song, capturing the delight of a sunny day.
 
Blue skies smilin’ at me
Nothin’ but blue skies do I see
Blue days all of them gone
Nothin’ but blue skies from now on
 
Another, calmer ode to blue skies, although caused by a new person in the singer’s life (not applicable to me). The version I know best is by Willy Nelson. Such a gentle voice makes me feel like I’m floating. And while blue days may not all be gone, I know the splendour of a crystal blue sky will always be my tonic. It’s right up there with the way I look forward to walking with TPW each Saturday.

Perspectives

Perspectives can be a funny thing. We might all see the same thing and yet understand it differently. A few of us stayed after walking on Saturday and we spoke of our relationships with family and how they change over time – we shared interesting and perhaps some unconventional perspectives.

What got me on this line of thought? Well, I signed up for an in-person half-marathon in May this year. Wow! A live race! It’s been over two years since I’ve been in one of those. But I digress. I’ve started training again – harder than I thought it would be after two years. So I’ve been getting to the cemetery early to get in more distance. Worried that I’ll miss everyone, I’ve been going backwards around the cemetery. It’s been a while since I’ve done that but I’ve found it really interesting. Paths that I thought I new well were surprisingly different. Well, not different in reality, just in perspective. One path I thought was straight as an arrow had many unexpected turns. Who knew?

But it made me think more about trying to look at things in different perspectives. Trying to think about the way I look at things. I think I’m going to like these perspectives. It’s a really fresh feeling. Or was that the freezing temperatures?

Oz

With the recent, grand re-opening of almost everything recently, people started showing up in droves around the city. It brought to mind the song, “Come out, come out, wherever you are …” from Wizard of Oz. I’m sure you can all see in your mind’s eye the Munchkins slowly peeking their heads out before emerging and going into the joyful, “Ding! Dong! the COVID’s dead!” … er, witch! But that’s what it feels like. I know it’s far too early to be singing about COVID being over,  but there seems to be something in the air that the worst is over now. It was lovely to see people getting closer together and (dare I say it) almost hugging on our walk on Saturday morning.

And the four friends linking arms and heading for the wizard makes me think of all of us as we support each other through these trying times (I’ve always had an affinity for the Scarecrow, myself). Helping each other to ward off the perils, “Anti-vaxxers, and tigers and bears, OH MY!” Trying to stay out of the clutches of that evil, green faced virus! If the witch’s guard is the original virus moving across the land, then the flying monkeys must be the delta variant. If we stick together, we can get through this.

And so my TPW friends … wait for it … I know that all of you know what’s coming next ….

Follow the Yellow Brick Road!

Thanks mom!!

What to write? What to write? My turn comes up and I’m always unprepared … it does seem to be a life habit for me.

I knew I didn’t want to talk about that 5-letter word that has been uttered with such vehemence for far too long. No, not the T-word from south of the border, although if I never heard that word again it would be too soon. I mean the C-word that seems to creep into every conversation no matter how that discussion starts. If there is one thing worse than suffering through the malaise of this lockdown it’s the constant re-hashing of the whole affair (you see, it’s even crept into this blog – pooh!)

And then I thought about the real excitement this May has brought to us. Our spring weather seems to have changed almost as often as the premiere’s pronouncements. Remember that heat wave in April? And that led into a rather cool early May. Nature didn’t seem to mind as everything seemed to start budding and blooming early, and exploded into a myriad of colours. Purples popped, yellows yowled, reds raged, the blue sky blazed and greens gratified!! And the temperature seesawed through the month, from blazing heat to a late month burst of cold (I heard a rumour that there was snow). Yes there were some cloudy days, but not too many to spoil the month … and yes, we did need every drop. If you’ve been down to the lakeshore lately  you’ll see the lake is sorely missing any significant snowfall from this past winter.

So I say thank you Mother Nature for doing your darnedest to get us through to better times!

A somewhat sober thought

What a glorious day it was for walking on Saturday. Not as cold as was expected and a sky that was bluer than blue! I walked along the lakeshore and the lake was oh, so calm. Wonderful!

Along the way I got to thinking about COVID (what else!?!) and all the restrictions we’re dealing with. This is really tough. And we should be proud of the extent we’re going to abiding with the efforts to curtail the spread. When (not if) we finally get to the end of this it will be a changed world and we can look back with pride at how we handled ourselves.

On another note, I’m currently reading the last in the Southern Reach trilogy by Jeff VanderMeer. It’s a “weird fiction” set of novels about nature rebelling against the environmental devastation humans are inflicting on it – I’m not finished, but that’s where things seem to be heading.

I guess that, and a sky that seems all the more blue for the reduction in smog, got me thinking that after we’ve survived COVID, maybe we can use the same resolve to become more green. I put if forward that it is much slower than COVID but climate change is just as much of a pandemic as COVID. This is just a practice to show us what we can achieve as a society; an exercise that shows we can tackle huge societal problems.

I’m not going to suggest what to do. Except to do what we always do – read up, share ideas, make recommendations – as we walk our regular walks. Ours is a green activity and we have extraordinary, bright minds in TPW. Here’s to walking on glorious days well into the future.  Let’s just do it.

Brrrrr!!

Yes, it was quite cold Saturday morning as we huddled (in an appropriately socially distanced fashion) together before the walk. The sky was crystal blue, though, making for a lovely day for a walk. Of course, as we walked along, warmth (and feeling) crept back into our extremities. I didn’t see any non-squirrel wildlife this week – last week I saw two coyotes. The real surprise for me was how the trees had shed so many of their leaves in such a short time. As I shoof-shoofed through the leaves it reminded me of childhood and the joy of fallen leaves. It was also a great reminder that later on we would have to “fall back” and change our clocks for standard time. If there are any of you out there that keep showing up an hour early to appointments, it’s time to change your time pieces.

I’m late getting this blog posted – no, I did not forget to change my clock. I toyed with writing about Halloween, or the lockdown, or the mess down south, but in the end I decided not. I’ve written about the little joys I experience every Saturday when I get out to walk. I think I’ll hang onto that ray of sunshine until we meet again next Saturday. I wonder what rays of sunshine will happen then?

Lush

Lush. No not the person who starts drinking early in the morning. The vegetation this summer. I heard someone say this weekend that everything was so lush this summer. And she was right. The blooms this year have been wonderful. The trees seem to be wearing their green leaves with more panache than previous years. Is it my imagination? Or has our new, physically distanced, locked down world made us more observant of the small beauties that surround our everyday lives? Or has it been a most lovely summer? I think it’s all of the above.

This time of year has always felt like the start of a new year to me. Far more than January 1st. In normal times we would be heading into the last week of the Ex. School will start soon, and even if you don’t have school-aged children, this year we are all looking towards that start. How will this year play out under these circumstances? The first trees have started to shed their leaves. Fresh corn is everywhere. All of this reminding us that Thanksgiving is not far off. Even in these peculiar times the lush plant life is a joy to behold. Another joy is to join my friends on a Saturday morning for a good walk, filled with friendship and laughter. How to describe this friendship and laughter? Lush.

A “spring” in my step

Happy (insert whatever day you think this is) day, walkers!

What a lovely day for a walk today. This week and last, four of us have walked together – responsibly distant – along the lakeshore. Last week we went east from High Park area, enjoying the shut down lanes of Lakeshore Blvd. This week we headed west.

“Heavy with scent” is a phrase on my mind of late. At the beginning of May there was vibrant, vibrant green everywhere. Was it extra lush this year with fewer cars to blur the air? In the last week or so I’ve really noticed the visual has been accompanied by the fragrant. That burst of hot weather made heady everyone and everything. Heavy with scent was led by my favourite, the Lilacs – we passed many on our walk.

Along with the trees and flowers and blue sky – okay, there was plenty of cloud this morning as well – was mother nature putting the stress on “mother”. We came upon two swans and their swaddlings (?) with two of the little ones heads up the mother’s wing.

And then we saw Canadian penguins! When geese tip over to graze below the water, all you can see is their white backside, trimmed in black – looking suspiciously like odd penguins. Canadian, eh? As we were finishing up our walk we encountered these youngsters being shepherded (gooseherded?) by their parents.

So pandemic lockdown or not, the circle of life continues, with or without we humans. Lets keep walking out there and make sure life continues with us.