Today I took a slow drive to the university with the hope to find something unexpected. I had planned to stop along Wascana Parkway to sit by the lake, however, I found a place that I had not noticed before. As I drove along 23rd Avenue, I noted some benches and a walking path to the East of the Wascana Rehabilitation Centre. I was intrigued so I stopped to take a closer look.
Because it was so blustery and chilly out, I decided to do a walking meditation instead of sitting in one spot. I began walking along the path and to my left there was a murky pond. The pond had muddy water which made me question if it was meant to be a pond or if it was a place where rain/snow collected.Within the murkiness grew a variety of plants and could possibly be home to many little creatures.
I immediately noticed the smell of evergreen trees, which I love. I inhaled deeply to try and soak the smell in. As I looked around, I could see many types of trees growing nearby (although unfortunately I don’t know the names).
I imagine that this place could be a small retreat for the patients and staff of the rehab centre. This park invokes a feeling a calm, a sense of relaxation within the busy city limits. As cars rush by on the busy street, this place is a little slice of quiet and a small piece of natural beauty within this urban setting.
I continued to walk and came across a little squirrel who seemed as interested in me as I was in them. We looked at each other for a minute or so before the little creature bounded through the tall grass and up the trunk of a tree.
I took my gaze upwards to follow the squirrel and was struck by the beautiful fall colours of the leaves. Just having celebrated the fall equinox with my son’s school, my sense of the changing seasons is heightened. Looking around though, snow and fall leaves are mixed together which causes me to worry that fall may be skipped with winter’s hurry to take over.
My walk led me to an unexpected structure. This structure was fabricated from steel and stood in stark contrast to the natural surroundings. The plaque gave a provocation to its readers to view the structure from two opposing perspectives, tension or comfort. Can one feel both tension and comfort at the same time? Or are these incommensurable emotions? The structure was standing tall with large rocks around it just inviting someone to sit and spend time thinking here.
My walk today was unexpected and therefore I did not dress for the weather. I felt the cold wet snow hitting my face and covering my glasses. All around me I could hear the water dripping off the trees and the snow slopping under my shoes. My body was beginning to feel cold which caused me to look forward to going home and having a nice warm cup of coffee. I am so glad that I sent my son to school with lots of warm clothing today, so that he can enjoy the outdoors without worry. It is interesting to me, how tough it is to just be present in this moment. I am constantly bombarded with thoughts of family, thoughts of the past and worries for the future. It is a battle to remain present, to enjoy my surroundings and relax into just being.
The park that I have found, is called Arboretum Park, which means “a place where trees, shrubs, and herbaceous plants are cultivated for scientific and educational purposes” (taken from the Merriam-Webster dictionary). I wonder what sorts of things this park is used for. Do children come here to learn? Do scientists from the nearby university use this place as their laboratory? My hope is that in the process of learning, this park is taken care of and these trees and plants are respected. I look forward to taking my sons here one day to learn from and with this place.