Yesterday morning when I got home from driving my sister to work, I found Joseph and Charo waiting outside for me. I asked them if they would like to go for a walk and they both said yes. So we strolled over to Branch 139 of The Royal Canadian Legion, and stopped at one of our favorite spots; which is an open piece of ground surrounded by trees, that overlooks the ravine and the River. Its really quite pretty.
Then we made our way down to the Old Power Dam, and stood watching the geese and the water, and the morning sun shining on it. I could just barely pull myself away from there. But Joseph and Charo tend to get restless if I loiter for too long in one place.
In Springtime its easier to explore places along the river, that in summer become overgrown with prickly vines and plants with burrs, and tall grass. In fact, it’s already become difficult. So I made my way slowly, and eventually came to a place where a long time ago, people used to toss their garbage and junk over the hill. It was essentially a dump. It has since been covered over with dirt, and trees grow there, including crab apples. When I was young my friends and I used to dig into the side of that hill and we would find old blue bottles, which we would collect. Even today, I still find ancient stuff.
The cats and I finally climbed back up the hill, and came out at Ellen Street. Then we made our way along what was once called the Back Road, but which is now just a concrete pathway, lined with townhouses.Still, its a nice place to walk, and the Locust Trees have somehow survived.
Lately, I have made the old cemetery behind the Trinity Anglican Church part of our regular itinerary. Normally, I will spend sone time reading over the names and dates on the gravestones, while the cats poke about, or chase after birds. (Which I try and discourage them from doing.) On this particular day I also took a photo of a tiny red brick building which is near by, and is a part of Streetsvilles historia electrica. It was being used until not too long ago, but is now just an architectural artifact that they (thankfully) left standing.
I decided it was time for us all to go home. I needed to rest before going to work, and the cats needed to be brought indoors. (I hate having to worry about them.)
I’m a little ashamed that I have not written in my blog for several weeks. The truth is, I have lost some of my steam, as far as exploring Streetsville and recording my adventures. I also have grown lazy and housebound. Partly, because of the unusual cold we have experienced this Spring, and partly because of the social distancing that the virus has forced upon all of us. Though I cannot pretend that those are the only reasons. Really, it’s about me just being my usual un-disciplined self. (Which I tend to default to). Hopefully though that will end soon, and I will return to my old self again.
Not to say that I have not been out for walks, or not taken pictures and videos. I have, and my precious cats have even followed me on a occasion. But as I said, I have lacked the motivation to record and post my feelings and observations. (Though I continue to have plenty of both!) In any case, I am writing all this to prime the pump again, and for an excuse to log some of these photos I’ve taken. I will try and provide some chronology for them, and maybe a bit of narrative.
So here we go!
A few weeks back, before I grew overly moribund, I had taken some nice photos of the Old Power Dam, which really should have been showcased pronto. Since then I have enjoyed a few quiet moments there, usually with Charo the Cat in tow. Its uncertain how much longer the ruins of the Old Power Dam will remain standing. I suspect that the walls will eventually tumble, and disappear beneath grass and trees. Until then I will continue to visit it, and enjoy its peacefulness.
Sometimes, I like to take the cats with me down the path behind my apartment building and take walks through the ravine, and along the river. When it rains though it becomes too muddy and so I avoid it. I am also a little more concerned about coyotes down there, which are often about, and that I have even encountered. Lately mind you, its been a particularly aggressive deer that has been worrisome. Once it chased Charo up a tree, and another time it tried to get around me at the cats. Not sure why, or what he/she would do if it caught one of them. But I don’t wish to make a trial of it either. Anyways, below is a photo I took while on one of these walks into the ravine. In places the River breaks up into smaller streams, where they wind gently along, until they rejoin the trunk. They are easy to cross, and can be lovely spots to sit and listen to the sounds of nature.
Last week I decidedthat I needed to visit the cemetery and check on the Lilac Bush I had planted at my mum and dads gravesite last year. I had already done so once earlier, but it had not sprouted leaves yet. But now their were many leaves, and it had a nice pruned shape to it; which made me feel sort of proud, as I had done the pruning myself!I also checked on the two Rose of Sharon’s. I was worried I may have been too aggressive last November, regarding the number of branches I lopped off of them. But they too are doing well, and I discovered lots of new buds forming. I plan to here on out make sure they never get too wild again. Soon I will planting flowers around the gravestone, and returning the ceramic angels to their spots. I also have a few new additions to help make things look homey.
Near where my parents grave is, is another grave which is the burial place of two newborns. One appears to have only lived one day, and the other only a few days. Someone (I assume the parents) has created a menagerie of plastic flowers, and statues and gnomes and pinwheels. At first I barely noticed, but as they continued to add to it, I began to take an interest. Now I find it positively fascinating!
The Menageries Pinwheels.
Nearby where I live, I came upon the first tulip of the year. It was a solitary yellow flower growing out from a mound of debris and dirt. I assumed it being there was accidental. (Much like how I feel about myself sometimes.) Not far off, behind Branch 139 of the Royal Canadian Legion, sit two big ‘ol recycling dumpsters, that for some reason (unbeknownst even to myself) I like taking pictures of. So, that’s where we will end for today.
(Tuesday, April 6) With the nicer weather returning, Joseph and Charo and myself have begun to take walks down to the Old Power Dam again. I almost always try to take photos or a video, because who knows, someday the power Dam may disappear into the earth and water.
Today, I brought along 2 small, plastic bags to collect garbage with. But I found a large black one, and so used that instead.
If I pick up a piece of plastic, or a can, and their is a snail, or caterpillar beneath it, I will replace their covering with leaves, as I do not believe in stealing the roof off of anyone. Though come to think of it maybe leaves aren’t such a good roof.
When we reached the Power Dam I hung the black garbage bag on a metal post, for everyone to use. I will check on it every day. Or most days.
Joseph and Charo Climbing along the side of The Old Power Dam
(Thursday, April 9) Today I checked to see if the black garbage bag I hung up, down by the Old Power Dam was till there. It was. I picked up some more garbage, and then begun to tackle the larger pieces of junk that need to be carried back up to the dumpster behind Branch 139 of the Royal Canadian Legion. I started with a lawn chair that has been an offense to me for months. Tomorrow, it will be the ugly, busted up table.
Yesterday morning I took Charo the Cat with me down into the ravine where we encountered 5 deer. Including the curious one. But she chased Charo up a tree, and so I took him back to the apartment building.Afterwards, I walked along the trails by the river, and came out at Wyndham Street. I crossed over Main, and then turned left on Mill Street, then walked beneath the bridge and took photos of all the new graffiti.
Then I walked up the Path to the cemetery, where I checked on my mother and fathers gravesite. I was glad to see the Lilac buds had formed, and that the Ivy had survived the winter. As I walked around I found many plastic flowers laying about, which I gathered and placed on the graves, or in the trees. Someday when I retire from work, I will come here every day and tidy things up. Then I can take my place amoung the towns eccentrics.
When I reached the creek I saw two tiny crocuses growing up from the bark mulch which are the first flowers I have seen this Spring. I then walked along the Creek all the way to the river, then back again.
From there I walked to the park, crossing over the stream on a fallen tree. I checked on the Old Willows and realized that one of them is not long for this world.
I crossed the bridge and climbed the hill, coming out behind the Mexican Restaurant. Then crossed Queen Street and walked around the United Church and turned right onto Victoria. Behind the Plaza I stopped to watch the feathered reeds blowing back and forth in the wind.
The Feathered Reeds.
I purchased beans and bagels and catfood at the Drugstore, and a bottle of wine at the liquor store. Then went home and made rice.
This morning I left my car with Richard the Mechanic, so that he could remove the winter tires for me, and put the summer tires on. When I left the garage, I walked towards the Old Highschool, then turned right on Tannery Street. At the bridge, I stopped and watched the water from the storm sewer empty into Mullets Creek for a little while.
I then walked over to where a small apartment building used to be which was knocked down rather unceremoniously last summer. I checked over the now empty lot, and made sure the large Willow Tree was safe.
From there I crossed over the Railway Tracks and then turned right on Broadway. Eventually I found myself at the back door of the Bicycle Shop. I asked a young man standing there if I could bring my bicycle to be serviced. He said yes, but that I had to bring it befire 2pm. I said ok that I would. Then I left.
I strolled along behind the downtown stores taking pictures of the backdoors. (Which is sort of a hobby of mine.) At Thomas Street I turned left, then right onto Queen Street. I then crossed over and walked to the Salvation Army Thrift Store. It was closed of course, due to the virus outbreak. In fact nearly everything is closed.
Across from the Thrift Store I noticed that 264 Queen Street was being renovated. So I crossed back over and took pictures. Then crossed back again and took pictures of the Mexican restaurant, and its empty patio. Then lastly, I took pictures of St.Andrews Presbyterian Church.
From there I walked over to my old Elementary School. Curious, and in the mood to explore, I looked in behind the field which overlooks the ravine and the river. I discovered an old fence, which I didn’t realize was still there. It was rusted and broken down. My friends and I used to crawl underneath it whenever we wanted to escape to the park or the store.
I discovered an old fence, which I didn’t realize was still there.
When I had retraced my steps back to the road, I walked home. I had soup leftover in the fridge which my sister had made, so I warmed it up and ate it. Then I carried my bicycle down the stairs, and walked it to the bicycle shop.
On my way there, Richatd the Mechanic called me on the cellphone to let me know my car was ready to be picked up.
This morning I asked Joseph and Charo to go for a walk with me down to the river. Joseph seemed eager enough, but Charo didn”t move from his basket. So we left him behind.
When we reached the path that leads into the ravine, I could see a large deer watching us. This spooked Joseph, and so he turned back. I then walked on alone.
When I reached the river, I saw another deer. Small, and young looking. I took my phone out and started filming a video, in the hope I could get close. But the deer ran off. When I tried to follow him, I discovered a third deer. Also small and young looking.
This deer was curious, and tried to get close to me. And I tried to get close to her. But she wouldn’t let me. Neither did she run away. So we just sort of circled around each other for a few minutes. Then, it ran off as well.
Afterwards I saw two butterflies, which was very nice.
This morning the weather was fine. The sun was shining, and their was very little cold in the air. Maybe just a little. Knowing how much the cats enjoy going for walks with me, I took them down to the Old Power Dam. There we saw geese, and the the water sparkled like diamonds.
This morning I walked down to the river, with Charo the Cat. Joseph the Cat had dissapeared, or I would have taken him along as well.
In the ravine two deer came out of the bush and ran across the pathway where I was walking. I was able to capture them on the video I was filming. Though not up close.
Charo trotted along beside me, until we reached a fallen tree, and some old cars. Its s favorite spot of ours. Here, we usually stop to rest or climb. Not that I climb, but the cats like too. I mostly rest.
From there we made our way over to the Old power Dam, where I startled a young man, who was hidden behind a boarded up building, which had once been home to the Sea Cadets.
He was spray painting grafitti and smoking pot. I had to assure him that I was not the police. I should have maybe asked him to learn some art skills though.
Charo seemed tentative of this person, and so we headed towards home.
The morning was fine, and it was time to let the cats outside again. I had hoped to walk down to the Old Power Dam with them, but they all refused to follow. So instead I walked alone to the brow of the hill behind the Royal Canadian Legion, and filmed a short video. It’s a favored spot of mine, and is especially secluded in summer when the leaves are on the trees. I once encountered an old man sitting there, who angrily asked why I was intruding. He has since passed away.
A short walk to the brow of the hill behind the Royal Canadian Legion. In the background you can hear Maribel the Cat meowing.
Yesterday afternoon I needed to go to my company and use the computer. Instead of driving though, I left the car for my sister, and walked there. I took the Backroad, as I was curious to see if they had done anything more to the house I grew up in. It appears not.
To avoid the main traffic areas, I then walked along Earl Street, crossed over Brittania, and then weaved through Riverview Heights. I came out at the Beer Store, where I crossed over the Northtown Tracks. I then briefly stopped to look over the Old Lumberyard. Is there another building in all of Streetsville with a longevity as baffling?
After I had finished what I had to do at work, I walked towards home. Only I chose to walk along the Railway Tracks instead. When I reached the bridge, I stopped and reminisced about a girl that I was in love with in Highschool. I would stand on that very bridge each morning and watch her walk by with her friends. Some, I suppose, would call that romantic; while others would probably call it creepy. At the time it just felt like desperate shyness.
I cut through where the school buses are parked, and came out on James Street. I took pictures of 54 William, which is the house our Councilman now lives in. When I was young though, a very old woman lived there, whose name I now forget. When she died they auctioned off all her belongings. Anyone could walk around the house, upstairs and down, and bid on whatever they wanted. I looked around also, and remember the repulsion I felt when I went into her bedroom. A vine had slipped through a crack in the window and was creeping along the walls. It was very Gothic looking. From there I walked around behind central Plaza and stopped to take a photo of Central Billiards. Then went into the Drugstore to buy toothpaste and beans.
Two mornings ago I decided that since my knee was giving me less problems, that I would take a walk to the cemetery. But first I would go and check to see if the deer had found the apples I left out for them. I was glad to find them all gone, and the snow and soft mud imprinted with hooves. From there, instead of climbing back up the hill towards Church Street, I made my way along the Riverbank, and came out at Wyndham Street, where I lived for five years.
At the corner I stopped to take a few photos of the house that I rented in. I lived above the garage in a very comfy, inexpensive apartment, which was owned by a very nice landlord, whose wife once slapped me. Every fall I would clean up after the Walnut tree that stood at the end of the driveway. (What a mess it made.)
I then crossed Main Street and made my way over to Mill Street, where I once again took photos of the Timothy Street House. I believe it is the oldest Brick dwelling in the whole region.
I finally reached the cemetery, and quickly checked on my mother and fathers gravesite. I was glad to find a pretty Poinsettia that I assume my older sister had put there. I also looked over my pruning job on the Dwarf Lilac and The Rose of Sharons. I am pleased with it for now. I am a little concerned though how well they will blossom in spring. But Spring will let us know.
I walked along the brow of the hill, and then made my way down the hidden pathway. On the left I could see the River, and across the way I could hear the children playing outside at recess. My hands were cold, but I was happy with the day. I then walked to the park, and up the hill towards St.Andrews Presbyterian Church.
The Hidden Pathway.
When I reached the Salvation Army Thrift Store I went inside and looked about. I was tempted to buy a very strange looking statue of Jesus, with the heads of angels around his waist. But held off. Instead I bought two record albums and a ceramic cat. The cat I placed with all the others on my kitchen window sill.
My sister will not be moving to B,C after all, so now I’m not sad anymore. Yesterday, we drove to the grocery store together, just like old times. While there I found several bags of apples on the half price cart, and bought them so that I could feed to the deer. (The apples that I had picked in the fall time were eaten by the squirrels.) I told my sister that I planned to walk down into the ravine and leave them for the deer on the next day. Which is today. She asked to come along, and so this morning we ventured out. I was uncertain at first where to leave the apples, but then finally decided near the main trail.
After my last walk, my knee once again began causing me problems. This has meant staying home more, which has not been good for me. I have already begun putting weight on (which I do quite easily) and have become lazy and unmotivated. In fact I feel as if I am veering on becoming depressed. Anyways, after laying about this morning I forced myself to take a walk to the Salvation Army Thrift Store, just to feel alive again. But when I got there I looked about briefly, then left.
Afterwards, I began wandering aimlessly. I couldn’t say where I was going or how far I would go. Though too far seemed like a bad idea. Along the way, of course, I took pictures. I stopped at the corner to take a photo of the Streetsville United Church, which normally has defied my attempts at capturing it nicely. But finally, I seemed to succeed. Sort of. From the side anyways.
I turned right on to Victoria, and took photos of 263, which I have done before, and posted on this blog. But this time I took it looking at it from an angle, which seemed to highlight its ghetto quality. I like that the trees were bare as well. Then from there I zigzagged and ended up on Broadway, where I took photos of both the little green house (again on an angle, which I guess I was just into today) and the side entrance of the Old Firehall. Somewhere I have a photo of my sister and I standing on the steps of that entrance, just leaving after having met Santa Claus, who we both still believed in.
I then took a short walk just to check on whether they had cut down that tree that shivered and spoke to me last summer. It was indeed cut down. I backtracked, and walked over to the Pharmacy, where I bought bagels and peanut butter, (which is a red flag that depression is settling in.) I also stopped to say hi to Jessie and Ana at the Barber Shop, and to get my head buzzed, but Jessie was not there. So I will try again tomorrow. I finally ended up back at home, and found my sister chatting with the neighbor. Soon she will be moving, and I will be left alone here in Streetsville.
Today the sun rose in a beautiful, old fashion way. So I put boots on, and my thick sweater and went outdoors for a walk. I carried with me a bag of lettuce and spinach to feed the ducks in the park. But they showed little interest in my offering.
The town was quiet and at peace. Like the Sunday mornings of my childhood. I walked up the hill towards the Presbyterian Church and stopped to look at the graves in the cemetery. I knew I shouldn’t go too far, because my knee was still sore. But I also needed to stretch and explore. It had already been over a week since my last walk.
I crossed the street and went inside the coffee shop. The girl behind the counter was bright and cheerful. I told her that I would be paying with a gift card. She told me that gift cards provided freedom. I told her that I was all about freedom. But she had turned and didn’t hear me.
Afterwards, I walked slowly along Thomas Street. I wanted to take a photo of what I thought was an unused, and unwanted empty lot. (I had written about it just last summer.) Now, it was all dug up and being prepared for some great and needed development.
I then made my way along a side street, and then took a pathway that brought me out behind my old high school. I crossed the football field and then took another pathway that brought me into the surrounding neighborhood. My knee was already beginning to protest, but I assured it that I had a plan, and that we would be home before too long. Still, I headed north a little on Joymar, before cutting over towards Mullet Creek, and Dolphin Public School.
A few days ago my sister informed me that she would be moving out to B.C, to be near her son. The news caused me a bit of sadness at first. But as I stood there watching the Creek I was able to accept that she was leaving, and let go of all those feelings. I felt truly resigned.
I walked across the field behind Dolphin, and stopped to take photos of the bleachers. I remember a beautiful young girl with red hair named Kathy, that I pined over when I was young. I watched her there play baseball once, and the bleachers always remind me of her. From there I walked along until I reached Britannia Road, then followed a shortcut I had used for many years.
I followed a shortcut I had used for many years.
I stopped to take photos of the empty lot where up until just a few months ago 34 Queen Street had stood. It was mournful to look at. I then turned left onto Ellen, which is the street I grew up on. I wanted to see what progress the renovators had made on my childhood home. The siding and the metal shingles had all been stripped off, and it appeared that they were preparing to stucco everything. The carport and the second floor addition were nearly completed as well. The Maple Tree that my father had planted in the backyard, was still there. Which I was thankful for. I looked around the foundation blocks one more time, for any of my toy cars or plastic men, but found nothing.
Finally, I turned towards home, using the Back Road. I stopped to take a photo of the old pumping station, as it is difficult to do so in summer when all the leaves are on the trees. When I reached my building I met a neighbor who I spoke with for a few minutes. She asked me to try and convince my sister to not leave.
After I wrote my last post, the pain in my right knee worsened. The physiotherapist told me it was bursitis. My doctor had me take x-rays, which showed inflammation, that would require an MRI to determine the cause. I have been constantly relaxing and cut out all my usual activity, apart from going to work. Now it feels better. I even went to the park today, to feed the ducks lettuce and mushrooms and lentils. They only seemed to like the lettuce.
I worked on the 25th and 26th, and was mostly alone. I cannot remember ever feeling more apathetic about Christmas, then I did this year. A few times I tried to meditate on Jesus being born and the significance of that. But it fell flat. All I could think about for three days was that I had no wine at home.
Yesterday morning I felt that I needed to go for a walk. It had been nearly a month since my last real one. My back feels considerably better, though my right knee is causing me problems. I feel old. Anyways, as I said, I went for a walk. The original plan was to simply go and visit the cemetery. But when I reached Mill Street at Wyndham, I felt the Park call out to me. So I headed in that direction.
I spent time watching the river, and the ducks that were there. Lots of ducks, and more arriving. I will need to bring lettuce next time I come. The park was not quite empty of people. There were two trucks parked and idling, which perturbed me. That annoying sound of diesel engines. I wandered about and stopped to take a picture of the old oak trees next to the pool. These trees fascinated me as a small boy, and the acorns were a great discovery. But now the larger of the two trees looks as if it is hurting. I suspect it will fall eventually, as it stands on a hill and has already begun to lean.
Watching The River
Watching The Ducks
The Oak Trees On The Hill.
I eventually left the park and walked towards the town, cutting through the Presbyterian Cemetery. That is where Timothy Street is buried. The principal founder of our town, and who it was named after.
Before heading home, I stopped in at the Salvation Army Thrift Store. I found a Santa Clause candle holder, and purchased it. It will replace the one that the wind blew off the window sill and broke.
Since the funeral I have felt unable to explore much or to write. The reason is a combination of things. Such as the fact that I have been suffering from pain in my lower back. But I have been contemplating my next adventure, and have different ideas. In the meantime I go to work, visit with friends and stay indoors with the cats. Who spend their days lounging and eating.
This morning I attended a funeral for the mother of a close friend. The service was held at St.Josephs Roman Catholic Church, which is the church I grew up in, but stopped attending when I was in my early twenties. I once believed that after we die, that their was another world we entered. A world of spirits. But now I can barely even imagine those things. I do not say with absolute certainty that they do not exist, I only say that death looks like the end. That consciousness ends.
I looked around at the church’s paintings and its icons and statues, the stained glass, the murals, the candles, and all the other religious things, and admired how attractive they looked. Then just as I was thinking about coming back on a Sunday morning, my cousin leaned towards me and whispered that I should come back to the church.
Afterwards, we drove to the cemetery where we all gathered around the grave. A young woman from the Funeral Home handed out carnations which we took turns placing on the casket. The day was cold, and my sister held on to my arm.
Yesterday morning I had my sister drive me to The Parkway and Highway 403. My goal was to walk back to Streetsville by way of the Power Grid. I was curious to see what kind of nature lived there.
I came upon 3 Oak Trees, that stood in a community of smaller trees and bush. The Oaks were still wearing their fall colors. I went over to examine them, and gave each a hug and a kiss. Someone had built a covering from branches, and a fire pit, with a stack of wood for burning. Their was also a stump for sitting down.
As I was about to return to the trail, a good size buck appeared. My second encounter with one in 3 days. He did not spook or seem startled by me, but slowly walked away in the direction he was headed. So I followed close behind. When we reached Mullets Creek he crossed over, while I watched from this side. He then stopped and looked back.
Getting myself over the creek was a little more challenging. I first walked to a small forest nearby that ended where a sub-division started. But couldn’t find a way. So I retraced my steps. I finally found a smallish, precarious looking branch that acted like a bridge, and which I used to cross over on. I was now nearing Mississauga Road.
Their is a spot with a Willow and a Spruce, that for some time I have wanted to see up close. The reason was that I believed a house once sat there. I wasn’t sure if it just looked that way, or because I remember it from when I was a child. I found evidence though that told me I was correct. Firstly, their was Periwinkle everywhere. Secondly, I found many old bricks lying around.
I crossed Mississauga Road and looked down at the River. I just knew that I wouldn’t be able to go any further on this adventure. Not unless I used the highway bridge. But that would be a little too foolhardy. So I walked down into the valley, along with misguided hope. I was quite tired by then. So I stretched out on a fallen tree and ate the apple I brought along with me.
From there I walked along the river and eventually reached the very spot where I swam this past summer. There were many dead Salmon there. Some half eaten. I also found a single Milkweed with its pods all split open, and many feathery seeds waiting to fly away. I watched carefully to see even just one of them loosened by the wind. But I didn’t. I then started the climb back up the hill towards the Leslie Log House. I walked home from there half feeling defeated, and half physically exhilarated.
I found a single Milkweed with its pods all split open, and many feathery seeds waiting to fly away.
Yesterday morning when I awoke and looked out the bathroom window, I saw that it had snowed, and was still snowing. So after I had eaten my porridge, I put on the sweater I purchased at the Thrift Store, and my hiking boots (just in case) and went for a walk. I decided that I would visit the Cemetery, and maybe the Park afterwards.
Along the way, I stopped to get photos of the Old Windmill and the Clock House. And I took other photos as well. But when I reached the cemetery I went into artist mode and tried to capture the silent, snowy mood there. Not sure I did. I also checked on my mother and fathers gravesite.Odd, but the leaves on the Lilac have not yet fallen.
In the farthest corner of the cemetery I looked down the steep embankment at the river. On the other side is the park. I stood for a few minutes imagining the past, when a strange, warm feeling came over me. I then walked along until I reached Ralph’s grave. Nearby is a small stream, that flows through a pretty fissure. It runs underneath the cemetery road by way of a culvert, and pours out unto the stone, where it bubbles and makes nature music. I have no idea what the source of this stream is, and half believe it comes from underground. I followed it all the way to the river, then stood on the bank enchanted.
I have no idea what the source of this stream is, and half believe it comes from underground.
I then returned to the top of the hill, and went over to the Maple Tree. As I was taking photos of it, my sister called me on the cellphone. We talked for a few minutes, but then a buck appeared, with a rack of antlers. So I said goodbye to her. Unfortunately, the buck must have been startled, because he ran off, and vanished like a spirit. When I left, I took the pathway on the left, rather then the laneway. I found a place where I could cut through to the park, and some stepping stones to cross the creek. I then walked over to the place where I had met the Chinese last summer. But I was all alone now. I stood looking out at the River, until I decided it was time to go home. But I wanted to first check and see whether the Tinkerbell Christmas Ornament was still at the Salvation Army Thrift Store. So I climbed up the Toboggan Hill, and came out behind the Old Grammar School. I made my way along Queen Street, then went inside the Thrift Store. I looked for Tinkerbell, but she was gone.
Yesterday morning Joseph and I walked down to the Old Power Dam. The air was not only cool, but cold. Joseph seemed quite invigorated by it, and ran about like an Arabian Stallion. I felt invigorated, too. But I didn’t run. Afterwards, I walked alone into town, as I wanted to visit the Salvation Army Thrift. Along the way I took a photo of the Comic Book store, which is located in the basement beneath Robinson’s Pharmacy. I also took a photo of the Tea Room at the Robinson-Bray House, because I like the sign.
At the Thrift Store, in addition to a sweater, I found two small turtle figurines, a Santa Claus candle holder, Amish husband and wife salt and pepper shakers, a Mickey Mouse nightlight, and best of all, a Mexican man Christmas tree ornament. The cashier asked me if I realized its arm was broken off, and I answered yes, that’s why I’m buying it.
This morning I drove out to Rattlesnake Point Conservation near Milton. My favorite hiking spot. On the way I stopped and bought a coffee, which I had with some Banana Bread my sister made. I also stopped to take photos of the old gas station at Hwy 25 and 15th Sideroad, which is practically the only evidence of a town called Speyside. I used to stop there occasionally, and purchase I can’t remember what.
I wish some people would learn not to drive so fast. Especially, in places like out in the country. On a blind curve I came upon a freshly killed raccoon. His blood was deep red, and his face was pretty, and staring directly at me.
I finally reached Rattlesnake, then remembered that they only took cash, which I didn’t have. But the man at the gate let me in anyways. I promised to pay next time, but he told me not to promise. I then parked my car and stepped out into the cool air.
After hiking for a little while, Mother Nature defied my expectations, (which were to defy hers) and started raining on me. I persevered though, and in the end they proved to be only passing showers.
I kept close to the face of the cliffs, occassionally looking down at the farm fields way below. Here and there I came across other folk who I usually would greet with a hey. I eventually had to decide whether I would venture down into the Nassagaweya Canyon and walk all the way to Crawford Lake. The alternative was go back. But I don’t generally like going back before it feels like I should. As I turned towards the canyon two couples came walking from that direction. On the back of the one woman was a huge carrier and inside it a baby who I smiled at.
When I reached the middle of the Canyon I stopped to look at the stream. I wanted to catch a glimpse of the Salmon spawning. But I didn’t see any. I then started on the steady incline that would lead up the other side and towards the lake. When I got to the steeper parts I met an woman who I judged to be in her eighties. Possibly even her nineties. I asked her if she was friend or foe. She smiled and answered, friend I hope.
I did not not bother walking around Crawford Lake, as that is a hike in itself. Instead, I went into the Visitors Center and chatted with the young woman working at the counter. She asked me if I was just returning. I told her that no I was at the half way point. I then purchased a tea and some peanuts and sat down to relax. I pulled the dates I brought along with me from my pocket, and enjoyed my lunch. Then I left.
I normally would have chosen another route to return by, but time was slipping away quickly and I had to visit friends at 3 o’clock. So I grudgingly retraced my steps. I met a very large group of young Amish, who I said hello to. I asked one of them if they were going to the lake. He said yes. I then asked if they wished a hard trail or an easier one. But he didn’t seem to know. So I wished him a good hike no matter which.
Before I reached the parking area the sun finally came out. It shone through the trees beautifully, and brightened all the leaves. I pondered whether I should leave, or maybe walk a bit further. But then the sun disappeared again behind grey skies, and so I left. Nearby, I encountered a Chinese woman taking photos of something just off the trail. So I went over to see what it was. They were yellow mushrooms growing from a stump.
Early this morning I drove to the cemetery to see my mother and fathers gravesite. Surprisingly, their were still flowers poking through the fallen leaves. I then sat in the car, listened to music and stared at a magnificent Maple. Once their was enough light, I got out again and walked about. The beauties of Autumn slowly give way to the coming winter. The rain has been cold, and the winds blow powerfully at times. And the birds retreat and have become silent.
Friday morning I asked Joseph the Cat to take a walk with me down by the river. Just the two of us. That seemed to make him happy. When we reached the small creek we both sat on a fallen tree. A gentleman showed up who told me he was collecting the garbage the young folk had tossed everywhere. So I decided to help out and picked up the carpet, and cardboard boxes that were lying on the pathway. Joseph followed me back to the dumpster.
Last Sunday morning I went on a very special walk. One that I had been planning for weeks. The starting point was Valley Home Farm, where I had my sister drop me off with the car. From there the plan was to walk East into the forest, then North of the Highway, through another forest, across the Sandford Fields, (stopping at the old Sanford Farm) and finally continuing North again to Steeles Avenue. I would then call my sister to come pick me up. The point of it all was to see and photograph lands I fear will disappear, if ever the bulldozer folk get their hands on them. Most of it I had never explored.
Unlike the last time I visited Valley Home Farm, this time the gate was locked shut. Which I suppose normally means KEEP OUT. I found another way in though. The laneway looked pretty in Autumn and the property was peacefully quiet. I was tempted to hang out there, but I really wanted to reach the forests.
I came upon an open field, that had been plowed. As I took photos, I heard the plaintive cry of a hawk. Which gave me a good feeling. I then entered the forest and began to hike in earnest. The trees were mostly newer growth. Their were no trails, and everything seemed relatively untouched. And their was a Creek, that was rippling and making nature music. I stopped to admire it and to rest. Further on a little, I found a place where I could cross over. When I reached the other side I left the branch that I had used to help balance me, against a small tree. Which is the Way of the Pilgrim.
Their was a Creek, that was rippling and making nature music.
I found a beautiful spot, where their were mature trees growing along a ridge that overlooked the low lying forest and the Creek. I debated whether to go up it, or move in the direction of the highway, which you could hear nearby. I chose to climb the ridge. When I reached the top and looked over the other side I noticed two wooden boxes attached to the side of a tree, about twenty feet up from the ground. Curious, I went up close to look at them, and then realized that they were houses made for Bats to live in. I had never seen one before, and was fascinated. Exhilarated actually.
I found a beautiful spot.
From there I made my way towards the highway. I knew that I would be able to get to the other side of it by following the Creek. In the tunnel the air was cool, moist and smelled like clay. Very pleasant. I discovered a trail leading from the tunnel on the north side, that led me to the other forest. I followed it with the Creek on my right. Both of us winding along together. Then I left the trail and climbed another ridge. I began to catch whiffs of sacred herb. Soon I came upon a young man smoking, and his 2 dogs. One of them ran to greet me as if I was a long lost friend. The young man offered me a puff, but I politely declined. After a short conversation, we bid adieu and I proceeded towards the edge of the forest. There was a row of Sugar Maples that looked out on the Sandford Fields, which I took a picture of. At first, I wondered if their might have been a lane way there once, but then decided that they were most likely planted because of the property line.
I was glad that I had finally reached the fields. All my life I have wanted to walk through them , and now here I finally was. The grass was tall, but the deer had made tracks. Their were soybeans that had been planted, and a beautiful Willow growing near a stream. When I reached the fence that divided the fields, I stopped and examined my surrondings. In the distance I could see two trees and beyond them more forest. The two trees turned out to be Apple trees, which someone had planted a long time ago. I hugged and kissed them, then laid down in the grass and ate an apple. I also placed two more in the pockets of my jacket for later.
When I reached the forest that I had seen earlier from a distance, I caught my first glimpse of the farm. I had never seen the Sandford House, and was hoping that no one was living it. (Otherwise, I could find myself having to explain why I was there.) But I had reason to believe it was empty. What I discovered was a magnificent mansion, almost Gothic looking, with the windows boarded up, and a security fence all around it. The lane way that led up to it was, (oddly enough) lined with Walnut trees, and was already strewn with walnuts. In their branches a hundred birds were perched, chirping loudly. I could see a second house further away, also sitting empty.
A hundred birds were perched, chirping loudly
I walked around the Mansion taking photos, then walked over to an old chicken coop and took photos of it as well. When I had satisfied myself with that part of the property, I went and investigated the second house. It was much smaller and relatively newer. The door was open and so I decided to snoop around inside. The rooms were filled with trash and old periodicals. It reminded me of when I was young, and my friends and I would search abandoned houses for pornography. The upstairs appears to have been used as offices.
I left there and followed along the lane way. When I got about half way to the road, to my surprise I discovered a third empty house, which was in good shape, but locked up. In the backyard was a tiny retreat cabin. Their was also a well that I was able to pump water from.
Their was also a well that I was able to pump water from.
I soon found myself at Old Derry Road. I looked back on the Sandford Property and then towards the River. It was now clear to me that I wouldn’t reach Steeles Avenue. Instead, I decided to walk to the Conservation Area and call my sister to pick me up there. I crossed over the bridge, then stopped to take pictures of it. Several hundred feet away I could see an extremely large Oak Tree growing near the riverbank. I was a bit intrigued, and so left the road to go and look at it.. Not only was it an extremely large Oak Tree, but quite possibly the largest Oak Tree I had ever seen!
Before I reached the Conservation Building, I came across a Praying Mantis who appeared to be struggling through the grass and weed. I got him to attach himself to my hand, then looked at him up closely. His arms and legs were remarkanly delicate, and his head swiveled back and forth with a look of intelligence. He was in every way beautiful. I lowered him unto a long stem of grass, that he immediately grabbed on to. Maybe he will pray for me.