Still City; Resolve

The first day of the year, and light returns to the hemisphere. Early this morning I left the house, and moved through the nearly silent city on my way to the gym. Below the balustrades pigeons flapped like bellows, and sparks jolted down from the streetcar wire and guttered in the intersection, and smoke […]

Three Views of Winter

The towering canopy of the honey locust tree that shelters our front garden, above; and, below, this morning’s view from the spare bedroom on the third floor.

Lastly, the view from the window of my office, a converted sunroom at the back of our house. Often cardinals come to visit, and sometimes a […]

O Come, O Come Emmanuel

Today it is the first Sunday of Advent, and thus begins the Christian calendar. In the United Church of Canada, the Church I was Christened and Confirmed in, each Advent Sunday has a theme: on the first: Hope; the second: Peace; the third: Joy; and the fourth: Love.

It has been many years […]

Endless Summer

This morning’s forecast–one last sultry, sunny day before fall weather descends–was enough reason to drop everything, toss our kayaks on the car, and spend a day on the water.

We put in at Humber Bay Park West and paddled west about 5 km to Samuel Smith Park. The sun beamed down; the breeze […]

Gardens in their Seasons

This morning when I woke up, the house was cold. I went around, closing windows and doors. The sunrise was fuchsia, signalling a change in the weather, a shift in the season.

At mid-morning the air is cool and breezy. There are cardinals in the cedars, and finches at the feeders. The east-facing […]

Like Wind over Water

For years we planned to buy kayaks, but for years we had too many competing commitments. For years our long canoe stayed in the garage, gathering dust. One of the paddles split apart, dry from disuse.

In July an acquaintance let us know she was selling her family’s kayaks, and so, after dropping […]

Wild Harvest: Sumac Season

A few days ago, while preparing staghorn sumac to dry for the winter, it occurred to me that sumac–whose tart berries, processed into a powder, are popular in Middle Eastern cooking and were once culinary and medical staples in First Nation and subsequent settler households–could make an interesting jelly.

Staghorn Sumac

Staghorn sumac–Rhus […]

Garden Report, July

Every morning, shortly after dawn, I go up to the third floor deck to tend to the garden, sniff the scents of the new morning, and take a census of my horizon of trees.

Every morning has a different scent. This morning the air had a northern, almost September smell, until the sun […]

Summer of my Terracotta Soldier

Representatives of Qin Shi Huang’s teracotta army, guarding my apple mint.

At a street sale on Saturday morning, in a silk-lined box set out on a table, was a souvenir set of four terracotta warrior figures. Without really meaning to do so, I found myself buying the figures for five dollars.

Qin Shi […]

Rhubarb Report

These fat nubs are my rhubarb, planted last summer and, after overwintering, poking through the soil in the narrow garden plot beside our garage and promising a first proper harvest to come in June!

Rhubarb reportedly prefers well-drained, fertile soil in full sun, but the garden plot where we have planted ours has thin, […]