The Greek word εφήμερος (ephēmeros) translates as “lasting a day”. It came to mind as I stood by the patio door and watched as our Icelandic sheepdog Viggo returned from his morning yard duty.
Overnight a couple of centimeters (i.e. an inch) of snow had fallen and the effect was a surprise winter wonderland in late April. Even if this is not that unusual, it still makes you look at things a bit differently! By tomorrow it will all have melted – ephemeral indeed! – and we’ll be back to April showers. In the meanwhile, I figured I would frame some images before the snow disappeared.
In my attempt to include Viggo in an image, I tossed a treat in the location where I wanted him to pose. Well, he couldn’t find it – and now he was looking at me for an explanation – and another treat!
From the backyard, we headed out into our Riverdale neighbourhood for our morning walk. The iPhone came along to capture more of the “here today, gone tomorrow” collision of snow and spring.
We stopped for a quick pose at the front of the house – no tossed treat this time! – and then we were off.
One of our usual morning hikes involves a walk around the old Don Jail and the new hospital and then a walk up to the Adult Learning Center on the Danforth before we turn around and head back home. It is a 3.5 km. walk that takes us about an hour or so, depending on how much sniffing Viggo feels is necessary and how many other dogs we bump into.
About 150 meters to our right as we walked our trail the Don River flows down to Lake Ontario. However, between us and the river runs the Don Valley Parkway, an unused railway line, and a string of Ontario Hydro power lines. Time has dulled their presence in my mind and for a Zen moment or two, I forget that I am smack dab in the middle of six million people!
We are heading for our daily rendezvous with Mr. Tree, probably the oldest living thing (including me!) in the surrounding area. Up the path in the image we walk and then turn left, heading twenty meters towards the river – and that highway!
There is a path that loops around the tree in a circle. I follow the Tibetan Buddhist custom which has pilgrims go around the stupa in a clockwise direction. As we walk by, I always touch one of the burls!
Then it is up to the Adult Learning Center on the other side of the footbridge. Across the Don Valley Expressway ramp, we go. Behind the school, we meet the white fluffball of a dog – I think he’s a Maltese – that Viggo likes. After they exchange sniffs, we begin our return home, this time walking through the bush on the hillside above the trail we had walked earlier. Yet more sniffing is on tap!
For me, walking forest trails definitely brings back fond memories of a childhood spent playing in the bush that was a couple of streets away from the Noranda Mines company house on the edge of the town that I grew up in. It was where we spent hours playing, imagining, building, pretending…the year round.
I had to laugh the other day when I saw an explanation of the benefits of spending time outdoors in the urban forest. This statement of the obvious even has a theory attached to it – Attention Restoration Theory! (See here for the article if you need a chuckle too!) Who knew I was engaging in Restorative Environment therapy all the while!
Out of the woods and now we were on the top of the east side of the Don River valley with its fine view of downtown T.O. You can see the CN Tower tucked behind the copper-colored skyscraper.
As we walk south along Broadview I looked back to get a shot of one of Toronto’s most popular tobogganing hills and beyond that the wooded area we had been walking in. There were a few youngsters with their plastic sliders and parents watching over them up top. There really wasn’t enough snow and it was fairly wet and sticky so the sliding was not the best!
Given that students are at home and in-class instruction is not happening, a break from online instruction and independent learning is always appreciated!
We left Broadview and its grand views of the Don Valley and downtown and headed down our residential street, stopping every once in a while to see how the budding flowers had fared. Get ready to see daffodils, grape hyacinths, and tulips shivering in a blanket of snow!
Here is what I learned from a Weather Network article posted this afternoon:
Bulb-based plants such as tulips, daffodils and hyacinths, will likely fare just fine, as they’re a hardy lot. More delicate plants, such as your blossoming magnolia tree, won’t be so lucky, and may see a premature flower drop, robbing passersby of their normal glory. As for perennials, some may experience a late-season winter burn, and there may be some browning and die-off, depending on the plant. See here for the article.
And that was it for our morning walk in the snow, not quite the five centimeters forecast but still a nice touch! Tomorrow morning I’ll redo the shot in the image above. It is a safe bet that the snow will all have disappeared. εφήμερος!
As soon as we got home, Viggo picked up his favourite fetching toy, and on we moved to the next activity in his daily program! See the post below for a replay of how it goes –