I live 30 minutes west of a small city of 150,000 people. Walking down the main drag, called “Princess Street”, I remember my previous life in Toronto, my home for over 30 years.
It is early twilight on a November afternoon. I am in town to take a ‘haiku stroll’ for this week’s Sense of Place writing event. The air is biting cold. Not fully prepared, I promise myself to wear warmer gloves and a scarf next time.
In the descending dusk I feel caught in a void between the warmth of daylight and the glitter of night lighting. I beg the street lamps to turn on. After a few blocks I sigh with relief as they do, but there is still a lackluster feel to this outing. Is it me or the people around me?
eyes barely lift
along the sidewalk
In the summer, baskets of flowers liven up the street but today the only signs of vegetation are barren trees.
by the curb
This small city is not spared from homelessness, a worse predicament here than in a larger city with more services, I imagine. I marvel at how people are panhandling with no blankets or chairs.
seated on frozen cement
by her cardboard sign
My walk is a short “U” down towards the lake and up again to my target, a warm coffee shop.
Waiting for her to wake up from an afternoon nap, I think of the small thing I need to mention when she wakes up. I move quietly in the kitchen. The cupboard bangs and I flinch with regret, but her slumber is undisturbed and Bentley continues to lick his paws. I sigh with relief.
To blame is to disown. My cereal curdles as California wildfires turn homes to ash and, yet again, power trumps empathy and expertise. The vitriol and forest management tales emanating from Washington threaten to spoil my breakfast.
The wood fire, a girl guide log cabin lay, is a miracle of flame and heat in a deep pit of snow. Bundled trekkers huddle in the dappled clearing knee deep in fresh powder. Our frozen faces, fingers and toes tingle as the long day winds down with a winter cookout, a WINTER cookout, how amazing are these foil packets we cradle in our hands!
at trail end
sweet melts in snow
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A s’more is campfire treat of roasted marshmallow on chocolate between graham crackers.