Opening Statement



Sunday, 12 January 2014

Toronto: January Thaw!



Talking about the weather is not usually a topic that interests me. Nor would I bother to give it more than passing notice in my blogs. It's often what boring people talk about, a safe social discourse for folks who really have nothing else to say. To be kind, it can oil the social mechanism to break the ice, as a conversation starter but in and of itself is an often pointless discussion. I am not one to let the topic drag on myself.


However, this winter has been quite remarkable here in Toronto. A lot of other North American places too I am sure. We just had a polar vortex sweep south across eastern Canada and the United States. To say it was a deep freeze is too kind. In Toronto alone, the temperature, with the wind chill factored in reached minus 40 degrees celsuis one day last week. Remarkable. Almost unheard of. The other days weren't much better.


A nice thing about retirement, which I have quite come to enjoy, is that when the weather isn't nice, I don't go outside. All week the weatherman warned not to unless you had too. I didn't. It's hard to believe I went almost a week without going outside.


A pet retirement project of mine, one I have long looked forward to, is reorganizing our home. Every closet, drawer, my endless collections of music and books, also the many artifacts and artwork from our many travels. Then there's clothes that don't fit. I lost about 25 pounds right away after I retired; my union paunch so to speak, from too many long meetings, late hours and junk food eaten on the run. My weight does vary, so I want to keep two sets of clothes, fat and skinny. Just the best of them mind you. In addition there are boxes and boxes of paper, files, and binders from school and office, a teaching careers worth, that I can finally dispose of once and for all!


For the last 5 years at least we have lived in a state of organized chaos at home. Never dirty or too messy mind you, just not well organized. I'm always looking for things. Misplacing them. The cold winter has certainly proved accommodating that way, and I am well on the road to accomplishing my goal.


So after a week of this, all spent indoors, I decided that with the sudden thaw, as of Saturday morning, I would go out for a nice long walk downtown Toronto. I like to do that. It's good exercise. Mostly I just check out the music and book stores. Have coffee looking out a cafe window, also find somewhere to go for dinner. Just alone by myself, enjoying my solitude while Janet went out with her girlfriends, doing their thing.


The fog was thick as soup on my drive west along Sheppard Avenue to park at the subway station. Amazing! The snow was quickly evaporating, and the fog swirls around my car made it hard to see more than one or two car lengths ahead the whole way. I parked in the near empty subway lot, now a huge lake if only a few centimetres deep. Taking the University Line south I got off at Osgoode Station, near Toronto City Hall. Any remaining snow had turned to slush. Skaters circled the sloshing wet rink under the dark skyscrapers overhead, the upper floors disappearing into the mist. Everything was dark, even dirty, stripped of colour, growth, and the snow. Just very plain and desolate. A Skyscraper Provincial Park of sorts lost in the still, quiet, spooky fog. I walked over to Yonge St, then north to Bloor Station. Hard packed ice strips lined some sidewalks still, but otherwise no, the blizzard, the snow, everything was now melted. Gone. Taking the subway west to Bathurst Street I came above ground to find more of the same.


It was so moody and ethereal. I thought I'd take photos of whatever grabbed my eye on my cellphone camera. That is what I am sharing with you here today on my blog. The January thaw is perhaps just a respite, a reprieve, God only knows what the crazy weather will bring next. Anyway, I hope you all had a chance this weekend to just get out, and walk around a bit if nothing else, taking it all in and enjoying the break in the weather in its own offbeat way.


It's not good to ever be too busy to just stop and look at the world around. Nope. I don't think so.

Cheers!

David C

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