There is a mural along Lawrence Avenue in Toronto that I pass on my way home. It depicts human impact on the planet culminating in apocalyptic vision of the future.
Last Wednesday I felt like I woke up in that dystopian wasteland: not only because a climate change denier in the White House with potentially four years of policies obstructing and reversing climate action doesn’t bode well for the planet. It was also the wasteland in people’ minds and the amount of hurt, hatred, bigotry and intolerance that had become apparent throughout this election. All week I kept checking my Facebook obsessively, reading and posting, posting and reading as if all that activity could contain this terrifying development to the virtual realm. Needless to say, by the end of the week I was exhausted and in need of deep de-trumping as my friend called it. Luckily she and I had plans to visit her sister in northern Ontario.
Now that other people are entering the story, we decided my friend needed a nickname. We agreed on Fancy Boots since that’s what she wears whenever we go hiking. Although, as she pointed out, those boots aren’t as fancy any more probably because she keeps wearing them on hikes. Then there is the Sister and her partner who will be known as the Carpenter because that’s what he does but also because Carpenter’s Herbal is the name of his line of homemade herbal medicines (his Old Carpenter’s Rub did wonders for my knees). And, of course, there is the Baby, although technically she is now a toddler.
I love visiting the Sister and her family. I love the way they live their life, a constant reminder that a different way is possible, one that doesn’t revolve around an endless cycle of making money and consuming. I love their house, which the Carpenter built himself, where surrounding fields and sunsets burst into the room through wide windows. Throughout the weekend, that house was filled with the warmth of human connections, delicious meals and music, everything I needed to restore balance and soothe my soul. And of course, there was the Baby toddling around and leaving a trail of hope behind everywhere she went.
On Saturday, we went apple picking in the neighbour’s garden (with her permission, of course) and then made an apple crumble in the evening.
Our son inspired by all the woodwork around spent a good chunk of his time wood carving.
And, of course, we couldn’t miss out on our Saturday microadventure. There were a few hiccups. Before the trip, I did some research and I found a great trail nearby. I guess my research wasn’t thorough enough. Otherwise I would have known that the deer hunting season was in full swing and it was dangerous to venture into the woods without being dressed in orange, preferably head to toe. Our hosts asked around for a suitable hiking location and discovered that Eagle’s Nest in Bancroft didn’t seem to pose a danger.
The place had a couple of trails. We started with a shorter one leading to the viewing platform over Bancroft and surrounding woods and hills.
Unlike in Toronto, the trees up north had already shaken off most of their garments and only a few brave warriors kept holding on in defiance of upcoming winter.
We then decided to venture onto the other trail until we spotted a telling orange hat and camouflage overalls in the bushes. That may not have been a hunter but we decided not to push our luck and turned around.
We spent more time on the rocks, absorbing the sun and views, a soothing salve for eyes and spirits.
On Saturday night nature put on a fabulous show as a reminder that no matter how bleak things may seem, there is an infinite supply of beauty in the world and it is worth fighting for.