All taken within the last 6 weeks.
All within the same little stretch of waterfront.
The Lake and her Moods.
it always knows
At this stage of the pandemic, at this stage of the winter in Toronto with the snow falling outside, we’ve been inside a lot. There’s been snowstorms like we haven’t seen in years, which is kind of exciting and a reminder of how beautiful winter can be.
In spite of the danger sign, on some of the coldest days, when the ice was looking thick and solid, people went down the little ladder at the end of the pier and walked on the surface of the lake, crossing the harbour.
Meanwhile, here on the long days inside, we’ve gotten into Cat TV –
She’s bored, she misses her life as a hunter ruling over 4 back yards, clambering fences and scaling trees just to get closer to that bird…
So I’ve been putting Cat TV on – long loops from Youtube of someone’s back yard. One guy has a whole channel with a variety of them – winter / summer / spring / fall of 4 hours with a camera pointing at some seeds while the chipmunks, blackbirds, blue jays and squirrels all scramble and squawk and jockey for position.
The surprising thing I’ve noticed though, is how much I also enjoy having it on in the background. It satisfies some of my yearning for green, for trees and bushes, for birds and critters, as the view from here is ultra urban –
I showed my view to a zoom group I was in – it was a “shamanic” kind of gathering, and a number of the people were calling in from places like Shropshire or Devon or rural Wales, all with the rolling green, the sprawling gardens, birds chirping – so I had to show them my view for contrast.
“Blimey”, said the woman in Wales.
Anyways, last Sunday was suddenly uncharacteristically warm – a one-day blast of spring – so with A & C, we grabbed the moment and headed down to the beach, past the currently bizarre hodgepodge of a skyline on the way –
It was blustery so the kite enthusiasts were out, and one fellow with some kind of wet suit and paddle board situation swam by in the lake. I mean, yeah, the day was warm but there’s still plenty of ice in the lake.
C, the puppy, was not going in there with that ice…
I got to know A quite a bit during the spring and summer – we became walking buddies. She’s 3 floors above me and about 4 doors down, and we’re both single moms and have tons of interests in common, so we go for long walks in the neighbourhood – get outdoors, get some exercise, and talk to another human In Real Life.
She even came out one day in the kayak, which I’d been biking down to the beach and taking on outings while the weather was gorgeous.
The juxtaposition of the ultra urban living situation and the spectacular wilds of the lake makes this neighbourhood really interesting.
The whole area is currently very in development and under construction, which is kind of fascinating – to watch urban planning in action. The city is building a massive park in the strange wasteland on the way to the beach – an area that is very large and very underutilized.
So for example, this –
Is apparently going to become something like this –
And the current view of the neighbourhood –
To do my part, I’ve started a little graffiti project – bringing a sense of the wilds as they are displaced and / or shifted down to the huge new park, into the midst of the ultra urban –
Why yes, yes it is, we answered.
With an extra special thanks to Brenda @burnsthefire for the nudge
Lens Artists Challenge – Odds & Ends
The Pumpcrete truck was already on site this morning when I woke at 5:47.
That particular vehicle is not there every day – there seem to be periods of building, pouring, then drying, then building a next thing, involving a range of trucks and contraptions and so on.
I was telling my son about the Pumpcrete truck last Sunday when we got together for the first big bike ride of spring season.
He told me about the finishing steps of the condo tower being built across from where he lives, and about the overnight dismantling of the crane, done by another crane, that built itself to be able reach up and take down the crane that had been used to build the building.
Engineers... we marvelled to each other. He said: When I watch what they are doing, I feel an awe, kind of like the awe I feel about nature.
An intertesting comparison I was thinking, as I came across this fascinating podcast with Erin Yu-Juin McMorrow , author of the recent book Grounded: A Fierce, Feminine Guide to Connecting with the Soil and Healing from the Ground.
She talks specifically about our modern western world as being one by and for engineers, vs an orientation to the earth, the soil, the ground, and ultimately to the feminine.
She talks a lot about soil, and putting our feet on the earth to ground ourselves, and I remembered an even deeper technique I learned years ago at a workshop with Ohki Simine Forest, where she had us lie down on our bellies on some scrabbly ground in Santa Fe, lying on the earth and letting her absorb all of our edgy bits, you know, where the grounding instructions go kind of like this –
Imagine a white light coming directly from a source above and bring that energy down into your physical body.
Next, imagine that energy moving all the way down into the center of the Earth.
See, imagine, or feel any energetic imbalances within you being moved down and out directly into the Earth to be recycled. Ask that any imbalances be washed away.
Now, bring the pure, solid, reliable, grounding energy of Earth—and all that she represents to you—allow yourself to feel the qualities of Earth that you most need to draw upon at this time: permanence, reliability, safety, security—whatever it is that you need at this moment.
But where I live now is so ferociously urban, connecting with the earth by lying on it, or even by going out in bare feet is not an easy or obvious option.
It used to be I could wander out in the back yard in my pyjamas and bare feet, coffee in hand to greet the day…
But after a couple of moves, now I find myself in a place where I wander out to the balcony, coffee in hand to greet the day and see this – the crane, the trucks, the leftovers of industrial harbour wasteland, the highway and condos and cranes beyond –
Now, this isn’t a pity party, don’t be feeling sorry for me, cause fact is, when I go down a few flights of stairs and out the side door, what I see is this –
Lake Ontario / Toronto Harbour.
But the thing is: SO MUCH OF THE WORLD spends their / our lives living in dense urban environments.
In cities. In towers.
Far from any easy direct contact with the earth.
Check out these photos by photographer Michael Wolf –
So the question is… how do you, how do I, how do we, connect with the ground, with the earth, in this kind of ultra-urban living situation?
In a situation where there is no grass, not even a sense of soil underneath the feet, but rather of concrete and infill, parking garages and layers of infrastructure.
I was telling my boy about how one day someone in our building noticed this ship’s anchor hanging out in the construction site out front.
And someone else in the building said: Well, you know, when they did the infill for this area, apparently they used whatever they could get their hands on, including old ships.
Because we are right on the edge of the Toronto Harbour, on what has gradually, over the decades, been increasingly filled in to create a harbour with a depth able to receive the increasingly large ships.
I guess my answer for myself on grounding in urban situ has been:
When I do meditations where I “ground”, feeling down through the earth, sending roots down and feeling even into the core of the globe – I begin with what is there, feeling down through the floors below me, through the parking garages, and then through the concrete and infill and finally to what’s left of the silt and slime of the lake bottom down there, just letting my imagination feel into what IS, or what I imagine Might Be.
And, aside from feeling good, some fun art explorations have been coming out of it –
In a way, this approach to the meditation is an exercise in including the city as material entity that is part of the earth – of trying to integrate rather than fight the fact that this is where my body finds itself.
Okay, okay… it is not the same as bare feet on dewy wet grass in the morning, I can tell you that, but it is still something…
And you, Dear Reader? Do you do Grounding Meditations? Do you live in a city? What’s your experience with these various factors?
Inspired by Lens Artists Photo Challenge: You Pick It