I am an urban girl. I’ve spent almost my entire life here in Toronto. I love walking the neighborhoods, and riding the subway is often like entering a magical underground world. But I sometimes have to remind myself to make the effort to re-connect with the natural world.
And then sometimes it just comes for me. A few days ago, I found myself in the opposite end of town from where I live, in the funky, hip, lively neighborhood of Roncesvalles. I just kept walking and walking and walking…
And I found myself at the bottom of Roncy, where it meets Queen St. There is a bridge that crosses over the Gardiner Expressway and takes you down to the old Palais Royale dancehall, and eventually the lake itself.
It was a mild but blustery early December day. The sun cut through the clouds far out from the shore and dazzled on the surface of the water in a way that took my breath away.
It was like a slap to the face to remind me how much we all need to connect with the natural world around us to replenish ourselves. It’s here with us, even in the very centre of this big bustling city. All you have to do is look up, look up to the sky. Even if you’re gazing past the tops of the business towers, through construction cranes and streetcar wires, the ever changing landscape of the sky is there to give your eyes and soul respite.
The way that I felt pulled down the street to the lake recalled this passage from Moby Dick:
“…Say you are in the country; in some high land of lakes. Take almost any path you please, and ten to one, it carries you down into a dale, and leaves you there by a pool in the stream. There is magic in it. Let the most absent-minded of men be plunged in his deepest reveries – stand that man on his legs, set his feet a-going, and he will infallibly lead you to water, if water there be in all that region. Should you ever be athirst in the great American desert, try this experiment, if your caravan happens to be supplied with a metaphysical professor. Yes, as everyone knows, meditation and water are wedded for ever.”
~ Herman Melville, Moby Dick