Saturday morning walks
There has been much discussion about where we walk. For background, in previous years we have moved this walk to High Park, for the warmer months. With the pandemic and now, there are no cars allowed in the park, on weekends. Some of our group did go to HP recently, but parking outside the park, then walking in – combined with limited restaurant offerings created some challenges. At this point, here’s where our thoughts are:
- We will continue to meet at the cemetery at 8:30. This will be our default position, with the understanding that some West-enders may elect to stick to High Park. However, we are also looking at adding to the distances (especially for those of us training for Banff) and could extend our walks to outside the cemetery – i.e. into a ravine or down to the Brickworks.
- We will also continue to try to meet at High Park at least once a month – but this needs to be confirmed, and logistics organized.
- Bottom line is that we will use the blog to relay any other options that we are pursuing. Please read each week’s submission or check your email for these updates.
Speaking of the cemetery, our delayed start Saturday morning revolved around parking. We have been advised that anyone driving into the cemetery needs to park in areas “C” or “U”, away from the main routes with the solid yellow and white lines.
We meet in the cemetery at 3 p.m.
We alternate between the cemetery and High Park (where during the week, you can drive into the park). Meeting time is 9:30 a.m. for both locations.
Ending on a very positive note, our group enjoyed the amazing scones/tea biscuits with fresh strawberries provided by the ever talented LR. A perfect June treat outdoors in the church park (south of the cemetery, east side).
Saturday was a perfect day for doing whatever you wanted or needed to do. I had errands and had to miss walking (and sadly the breakfast barbeque) but still savoured the incredible multi-shades of green that now make up the world. Such a transformation from the bleak monotone of winter. The days will continue to grow longer until June 21, the first official day of summer, and the weather will get hotter so let’s enjoy this in-between time while it lasts.
A reminder to all that next Saturday we are going to meet up a half hour earlier at 8:30am. Many of us are going to go to High Park and try parking on the side streets (there is no parking inside the park on the weekends). We will still meet at the restaurant so plan your timing accordingly. Remember to use sunscreen and to bring water as the sun gets hotter!
I couldn’t think of a thing to write about this afternoon. Yet, the blog needs a post! I turned back to the posts of previous Mays, looking for inspiration.
In 2017, we walked along the lake at this time of year and someone broke her elbow in a fall and DROVE HER CAR home afterward. Intrepid!
In 2018, on May 24th weekend, there were just a few of us walking the lakeshore in a monsoon. We thought 8 kilometres in a storm was taking it easy.
In 2019, I celebrated Omar Khayam’s birthday, rather than Queen Victoria’s, by quoting some of his pithier verses.
In May 2020, covid was settling in. We had no idea it would be for so long. I walked the lake alone and was delighted to meet 2 TPW folk walking in the other direction.
In 2021, we had learned a lot more about covid and I wrote a very grumpy post about it.
So I guess I need to say that in 2022, we are learning to actually live fully with covid. We had a great walk in the cemetery this morning (IN SHORTS!) and enjoyed meeting for coffee in the “church park” afterward. It all feels pretty normal now. Amazing!
Last week was the Toronto Marathon (congrats to M on his speedy time), this week is Sporting Life, June 18 is the Waterfront Race, there are a bunch more during the summer and fall, and Banff on Sept. 24 (if you are interested in this last and haven’t been in touch with our fabulous organizer, B, please do so soon).
For those participating tomorrow, we will meet up in the last corral between 8:20 and 8:40. Remember that the TTC opens at 8 and that various bus routes will be affected so govern yourself accordingly! Also remember to fill in your COVID questionnaire first thing.
The forecast is for sunshine and 7 degrees at 8am going up to about 13 (perfect racing weather but a bit chilly to start). We will collect the gang at the finish line as each one comes through and, once we are together, we are planning to head to the Aroma Express Bar in Liberty Village for a well-deserved cuppa and a bite to eat. Please let someone know at the start of the race if you won’t be joining the group.
Can’t tell you how excited I am to be doing an in-person race again. I have always considered Sporting Life the real start of spring and am looking forward to being part of that big happy crowd heading down Yonge Street. Hip, hip, hooray!
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.
And to celebrate the arrival of spring (finally!) is the following poem called “Bloom” by Emily Dickinson
Bloom—is Result—to meet a Flower
And casually glance
Would scarcely cause one to suspect
The minor Circumstance
Assisting in the Bright Affair
So intricately done
Then offered as a Butterfly
To the Meridian—
To pack the Bud—oppose the Worm—
Obtain its right of Dew—
Adjust the Heat—elude the Wind—
Escape the prowling Bee
Great Nature not to disappoint
Awaiting Her that Day—
To be a Flower, is profound
And in other news, in these unpredictable times when mandates, rules and regulations are constantly being revised, I have found the following website to be filled with good information as to how to conduct oneself during these (hopefully) waning days of Covid-19. Recommended by a friend’s doctor: https://dfcm.utoronto.ca/confused-about-covid
It was a busy week for TPW starting with last Saturday’s first in-person business/social meeting in 2 years (thanks P) and wrapping up with a walk under crisp sunny skies this Sat followed by another of our delightful out-door picnics (thanks B).
We are back in race season with 3 TPWs in London and others signed up for various local races (Toronto Marathon/May 1; Sporting Life 10K/May 8: and the Toronto Waterfront 10K/June 18 as well as an ‘away’ race in Banff in Sept.
Conversations during Saturday’s walk (and my own aches and pains) prompt me to remind everyone of the importance of STRETCHING! Several of the gang have experienced injuries (who knew Pickle Ball could be dangerous?) or have chronic issues. We tend to overuse our walking muscles and under use others. There is lots of stuff online (see example below) and, of course, the group is the source of knowledge on all things so let’s share what works.
The 3 Best Stretches for Walking
How about we restart doing stretches before we walk and add in some after – everyone invited to contribute! We did agree at our meeting that we would explore some expert training using our TPW reserves. We will start by asking about our regular coach’s availability but are open to other kinds of training suggestions too so bring it on!
What a fun day we had this Saturday! Gathered together for our annual business meeting, we shared food, drink, each other’s company and lots of information about upcoming races, training and trips planned. I am so grateful to be part of this remarkable group of walkers. I believe we bring out the best in each other.
My thanks to each and every one of you who came to my house, who contributed delicious food, including someone who delivered a salad but couldn’t attend, our fearless leader who steered the meeting, those who helped clean up, and unbeknownst to me, even left gifts. Thoughtful photos were taken and circulated among us and lots of laughter was heard.
We’ve been through a lot this past year, a seemingly never ending pandemic, loss of loved ones, physical ailments, emotional pain and lately, a tragic downturn of global affairs, and yet we continue walking together, upright and strong, ever onwards in the midst of uncertainty.
It makes me think of something Madeleine Albright once said: “The act of striving is in itself the only way to keep faith with life.” And so with hope in my heart and faith in life, I continue to walk on, with all of you.
Just walking in the rain
Getting soaking wet
All because the walkers in the cemetery met.
Just walking in the rain
Turning slightly blue
All because my clothes are completely soaking through.
People through their car windows
They always stare at me
Shaking their heads in sorrow
Saying: “who can that fool be?”
Just walking in the rain
Thinking how we met
And knowing things could change
I never want to forget, walking in the rain.
With apologies to Dave Burgess.
TPW had an amazing turnout in the pouring rain this Saturday, As the saying goes, there is no bad weather, just bad gear.
In a world beset with a pandemic and an escalating war, I increasing find that walking with the group is my sanctuary – a time for reflection with other thoughtful people and a time to share moments of hope and joy – and even welcomed silliness.
A while back we started a new tradition with the inaugural crowning of a member on their birthday with the TPW Official Birthday Hat. This Saturday saw the second bestowing of said hat – a very tasteful chapeau as you can see in the accompanying picture . I know you are all envious but never fear – your time will come (hard to tell if that is a promise or a threat, eh?). I await my turn with great anticipation!
There was a robust turnout and it was great to welcome back some walkers we hadn’t seen for awhile. We collectively agreed to donate some of our TPW funds to the Red Cross for the Ukraine and to think about collecting needed items for those we hope will land safely on our shores in the not so distant future.
Please put March 26 in your calendar for our long delayed winter social/business meeting – one of our members has volunteered her place (huge thanks). Details will be shared by email.