A long walk home from work after some 12 hours in front of the computer and it’s a hot heavy summer night and the downtown is busy and congested with crowds and throngs of people all moving in different directions at different speeds.
In a square with a fountain, kids play in and out of the water, drenching themselves fully dressed in that way kids will do without a thought, without a care, letting themselves go, free and open into the sensation of it all, the wet, the surprise of it, the cooling down of the body. One boy rides a scooter between the shoots of water. I suddenly long for freedom and energy and optimism of childhood, for the hot summer nights when I’d play loose-limbed and happy with my friends with just this kind of abandon.
Rounding a corner I happen upon an old payphone – a relic from the past so hard to come by these days, the graffiti and garbage collecting on and around it suggesting a sad and lonely disuse, the discarding of quaint technologies, already forgotten.
Heading up Spadina the crowds thin out and the colours of Chinatown remind me of other years lived in other cities and other apartments, that one on the edge of Chinatown in Montreal, and the boyfriend I had at the time, and the first night we hung out and he walked along the ledge of a garden, balancing, showing off, both of us giddy with the newness of something, something we didn’t yet know would be so mismatched and dismal.
So much colour and small works of art there is everywhere on this route! A parking lot with a string of bare lightbulbs hanging in front reminds me of quinceañera parties in Mexico with strings of lights and little fold up chairs and tables with table cloths where everybody sits between drinking and dancing late into the night.
How many little glimpses of lives we can have within one lifetime…
Weekly Photo Challenge: Nostalgic
Early summer in the city and I start my days in the paradise of our back yard. There is a soft coo of turtle doves in the air, the high chirps of sparrows and robins. The mornings are cool and fresh, pungent with lilacs – May has given us a series of purple and white blooms.
Heading down to work on my bike, the sun has risen a little higher into bright towering blue sky days.
Passing through the cool of Allan Gardens park, the homeless guys are still on their benches, emerging from sleeping bags and newspaper blankets, starting their daily routines.
Out onto Sherbourne St, the summer emerges in full force – the streets are starting to exude that heat, the concrete gathering up the suns rays and radiating back a thick smelly weight of warmth.
Taxis cruise by, lazily looking for fares, windows down, music wafting with nostalgia for Pakistan or Jamaica or Senegal or Colombia – mini-worlds on wheels.
A woman – a face perhaps from Yemen, shy and distrustful – holds her head scarf at her throat as she crosses the street.
Groups of men sit outside the soup kitchen, arguing loudly, passing the time, waiting for the next meal to be served.
If it is this warm in May, people say, what will it be like in July and August?