Sometimes I forget how great my hometown is.
I complain loudly, and often, about the insane cost of living, about our oppressive taxes, about the aneurism-inducing traffic jams, and – of course – about the harsh, and seemingly never-ending, winters.
And then a day like Saturday comes along to remind me how stupid I am for dismissing, without a second thought, this great city of mine.
It was a perfect fall day, with mild temperature (21C / 72F) and the bluest skies I’ve seen in Toronto in a long time.
I often complain that even when it’s clear here, the skies just aren’t blue. Not so yesterday. Mother Nature decided to set me straight and show me how wrong it is to generalize.
Mr. Enthusiasm suggested a trip to High Park, a 400 acre municipal park just west of downtown. It is to Toronto what Central Park is to Manhattan. It had been many years since either of us had been, and since the only thing left on my To-Do list was a short run by the lake, I adjusted my plan, and we headed out.
Rather than the planned 5km run, I opted for a 10k walk through this long-forgotten urban treasure. The steep hills made it a solid workout. The killer views made it a valuable deposit for the memory bank.
The leaves were just [barely] starting to change colours. In a couple of weeks, this place will be nothing short of a masterpiece. And, I am completely bummed that I will likely miss the best of it as I’ll be out of the country from mid October to early November. But I got this:
And for this I’m grateful.
Monarch butterflies were out in droves. The sun’s position made it hard for me to capture them. You can catch a couple in this picture.
I don’t think I’ve ever seen so many monarchs in one spot. It was ridiculously beautiful; a riot of colours served up as if their sole purpose was to bring a smile to my face. Or to tell me I’m so, so stupid for not seeing the beauty all around me, every day.
And although bees seem to be getting scarcer and scarcer, I spotted several, busy pollinating the fall blooms. Their buzzing may or may not have been bee-code, telling me to stop being a dumb-ass, and to look around and really take in the beauty of this city.
The vegetation throughout the park is so lush thanks, in large part, to the mature shade trees providing protective cover from the sun and cool respite from the heat.
These perennials hugged the curves of the creek, lazily meandering its way toward Grenadier Pond.
HIgh Park also features a tiny zoo. I came across these bison, who seemed to be contemplating the meaning of life. Or perhaps they were just talking about me and how ungracious I’ve been to my hometown.
Okay, so I stand corrected. Toronto IS a beautiful place to live.
And while the cost of living IS too high. And the taxes ARE ridiculous. And the traffic CAN make you lose your mind. And the winters WILL break you, at the end of the day, she goes and gives you this:
And you realize just how lucky you are to call her home. And how crazy you’ve been not to love her all along.
Do you ever lose sight of how much you love something?