Today we ventured further along my route from home to university and found a spot with a view. My boys and I drove to the Conexus Art Centre and then walked along the bike path nearby. We searched for a place that we could sit and take a moment to be still. Around the bend in the path we spotted a clump of trees and decided to take a closer look. Both boys agree that this was our spot.
We settled down on the grass and took out our notebooks to record what our senses were taking in. I asked my boys what they could hear, see, feel and smell. We each recorded in our own way. My older son, Cohen decided to draw a picture. My younger son, Caius wanted to know how to spell the word boat and I wrote down the words that came up for me.
As we sat on the grass, I could hear the loud honking of the many geese near by. Some were flying over head, some were floating on the lake. Every so often, we could hear a duck quack and a car drive down Wascana Parkway in the distance. We were sitting right next to many cattails growing up from the marshy shore. I could hear the wind moving through these plants and creating a rustling sound. The grass that we were sitting on was covered in fall leaves that crunched under our bodies. Cohen commented on the car noises and seemed disappointed that we could hear those sounds from our spot.
As I looked out at the lake, I could see small waves which carried the geese gently up and down. I noticed that some of the cattails near by were exploding with fluff and that the gentle breeze was transporting some of that fluff to other locations. Across the lake to the east, I could see Douglas Park hill with a few tiny cars at the top. Perhaps the occupants are enjoying the view also. To the south of us I could see the tall stark buildings of the U of R. They both stand out and blend in to the surroundings. The materials used to create the buildings are a neutral colour that isn’t in competition with nature, however, the institutional feel the buildings project is a reminder that we are still within an urban center.
As my boys and I sat quietly reflecting on where we were, many people bustled by on their way home from work. Some were walking, some were riding bikes and some were glued to their phones oblivious to the world. I wonder, how often that person is me. How often do I check my phone and miss something? How often do I take a picture of a moment to memorialize it but in doing so I miss the real moment?
It was so peaceful in this place with the sun on our backs and the trees, wild life and fresh air all around us. Caius ran over to a tree to taste it. He licked the tree and proceeded to tell us that it tasted just like a tree. Oh how I love the unpredictablility of children, their wild spirits and their freedom to be in the moment. Again, I am grateful for this opportunity to sit and reflect with my two boys. So often we are caught up in the crazyiness of our days and lose this kind of connection.
Before we left, we decided to collect some of the items we saw on the ground. Caius finds a pink feather that is very out of place here. Maybe someone walking by had feathers in their bag for a future craft project. We collected dry leaves, small pebbles, cattail fluff and tiny flowers. As we walked back to our car, the boys ran ahead and found a trail of pink feathers, perhaps a treasure hunt.
This spot with a view that we found nestled along the walking path, reminded us that even within our city, we can escape into nature.