Sunday, 22 May 2016

Saturday in the Park...

I have no patience for ridiculous traffic, and so I make it a policy to NOT go away on long weekend.  Not Labour Day, Simcoe Day, Canada Day or the glorious Victoria Day weekend, presently upon us and better known as the “May 2-4” weekend.

This weekend was no exception.  The Boo, (my better half who would rather not have an on-line identity – and may be the only person I know that cannot be found by Google) and I started out day with our planned Hair Styling at the Loft Toronto at Queen and Bathurst.  (Sylvie is a genius and an awesome woman… go there for all of your hair needs, concerns, aspirations and dreams…  just saying).  After our appointments we were released onto Queen West about 1130 and we began to walk… we walked west to Gladstone, north to Dundas, back East to Ossington, south again to Queen… stopped for branch and cocktails at County General and then slipped over to Trinity Bellwoods park where we walked some more, sat a little and become more human.

Let me back up… we walk because we like to look at people and at life.  The shops along Queen are fascinating, the people with their babies… and their dogs… and their coffees… and their smartphones… and their beards…. and their yoga pants…  It’s a cavalcade of Torontonians.  Walking through the residential areas  watching octogenarians tending to tiny perfect lawns and elaborate gardens with blinding white statuary, fountains, artificial and very real flowers – just makes me smile from deep within my very being.  The cultural integration has exceeded the vision of a Russian Orthodox Church in the midst of a Little Portugal to include Chinese, Vietnamese , Italian and Hipster (surely their culture has a distant national origin?) and it is glorious.   The Boo and I would have been satisfied with our walk had we headed home after brunch at County General. 
But instead of moving on, we decided to hang out at the park.  Not just any park – the spectacular Trinity Bellwoods Park.  Having passed through the gates we were greeted by hundreds upon hundreds of people – a woman in an insulated coat with a wool hat making her way around two women sunbathing in bikinis… dogs of every shape and size known to creation… children running and squealing; playing on slides and swings; digging in a giant mound of dirt… some vulnerable seniors from John Gibson House getting some air and enjoying the day… picnickers… a young man taking pictures for a George Brown College Photo Exhibit  (he asked, I posed… I’m no Bieber or Schumer)… young people walking (or attempting to walk) slack ropes strung between posts, there was every hue and colour imaginable, every shape and style of hair and beard (including the ever popular, forked beard).  If there is an objective scale for beauty, we saw some very beautiful people, some less beautiful folk and some down-right ugly people – but they were all radiant, glorious and attractive.   We walked and watched… we sat and watched…  and my dry parched soul become supple and moist; it grew shoots of new life and I began to be Spring.

When I am busy or shut in by winter, I have little time for the superfluous, so I tend to focus on the people that I need and the people that I know.  Most of them, tend to be like me… similar tastes, skills, looks… take a picture and you’ll note that “He looks different”; “She’s a ginger” – but, like Taylor Swift, I have a Squad (although most of them probably don’t know that they are in my Squad….  Hey, maybe I’m in Taylor’s but just don’t know it??).   A day at Trinity Bellwoods, for me, reminds me that there is more to humanity than the people that I typically prefer and to whom I usually defer: More than my squad.   There are all sorts of people out there – humanity is vast and awesome…   (but seriously, Tay-Tay, if you're reading this, I am Squad available)

Walking, sitting, soaking it in, I didn’t notice one Trump Supporter, I didn’t recognize one Wynne Detractor or Pipe-Line Protester… I saw lots of elbows flying, but no assaults were announced… I didn’t notice one Christian, Muslim, Jain, Atheist, Cavalier or Raptor…  it was just a sea (or a lake) or humanity and it made me feel connected.   I have no doubt that all of the above sub-groups and individuals noted above were in the Park with me yesterday… but it would seem that we all decided to let down our walls, fill in our moats and just be human.  Ridiculous, Glorious, Hilarious, Amazing… human.   From time to time, I need to be reminded that humanity is vast; I do not exclusively define it... and I am not alone.  Even if I want to be.   I am part of something so grand, so diverse and so joyous that the only fitting response is "Awe".    You may remember that last week it snowed and it was awful... yesterday, in the park, it was "Awe-filled" and I'm glad that I didn't miss it.

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