Up at 8am and went out to catch cosmos heads as they burst, as they hang over the border onto the sidewalk. It’s nice to say good-bye to my floral friends, especially the catalpas. 

Not a cloud in the sky, so i had a quick breakfast, took an apple juice and my trusty map and headed west, dodging buses and street cafes on college to brock, queen and down the hill to look out on the lake. The pedestrian bridge over the ribbons of death and along the trail, then boardwalk. So nice on the wood. Harshly beautiful in the early morning reflection off the lake.

Interesting how the landfill over time has worked to cyclist/ pedestrian advantage, as the spectacular Humber Bay Parks shows. You can almost get lost in the trails. Mega traffic on weekends. 

Then on the wild bike path plonked down on lakeshore boulevard, a bit hair-raising, with cars and trucks barreling past on the right, and cyclists in their trainer gear whizzing past a few inches away on the left. Then back to the eden of quiet upscale homes, high trees creating an endless cathedral, complete with a choir of angels flitting by. At sam smith spit, i went to the birding point but it was closed for community planting. I could have registered and dug (st john’s wart, aster, black current bushes, ‘native plants,’ the masked organizer said with an indian accent). All with masks, i think all retired, mostly little old ladies. Nice. People trying to make the world a better place with a little help from a local government parks and recreation. No profit motive in sight. Could have been a scene from Soviet life.

I wanted to relax with a toke, the sun was warm, though the air suddenly cold when heavy clouds passed by. Ahhh, there’s the perfect bench, view, scenic. Drat! An old delicate lady with a pole settled in. oh well, a ways on, nice bench, some teens bird watching, i passed and went back to the bench, pulled out my joint, and suddenly, another little old lady darts a timid glance at me and starts brushing through the dirt, her bag beside me on the bench. ? ‘this bit of my glasses broke off and i emptied my bag here.’ Hmmm. i put my joint away and glance at the teens as i plowed on.

Adamson estate. What a slice of canadiana. The land was given to cawthra in 1809 and the great-granddaughter finally married money and they built an elegant mansion with a sunken garden, 1919. A film set for an 1820s or 1920s costume drama. 

The house is now the Blyth Academy, with ‘Joker’ a royal conservatory room on a quaint wooden staircase. Which i climbed, giving the guy-girl below an animated view. The school looked closed, but there were students hanging out in the sunken garden, the girls noisy, the guys quiet, talking real stuff like ‘then i slide and hit my palm. Bam! I think ….’ as he leans over and jump-falls down from the rock border. 

I was sitting on a bench from a scene in Howard's End, surreptitiously watching them. It’s so easy now to be accused of being a dirty-old-man. I had wanted to smoke, but that would have spoiled the scene. The crisp smell of the cool breeze off the lake, the feeling of innocent, carefree(r) youth. As i pedaled away, i thought how i’ve lost that thrill of sex. It’s been gone a while now. Am i better off?

Finally arrive at the station, but my trusty red army watch said 12:05 which meant a wait till the 12:31 train, so i biked out looking for a spot for my last half of an export a.(hello, andrew, in memory). A messy parking lot,  lone shrub up near the tracks, like it was made for just this. Watched the clouds, mmmm. Suddenly, the sound of a train, then the sight of a train - the 12:31! But my trusty soviet watch said 12:15. Oh weLL. 

Then i remembered that guy running a red across the hurontario speedway. Nice style. I did same and watched as he biked on straight, not to the GO station.  What’s the rush anyway?

So off down a lovely hill, visions of my phantom cyclist, stop sign at the bottom but total visibility and i flew through and up the other side, like a bird soaring then landing. And what was this? The port credit park, along the river. And information plaques that minced no words about rape and pillage, though written with restraint so only a careful reader picks up on: 

*Land finagled from natives, clear cutting the massive ancient mighty trees, for the imperial navy. No doubt the 7-feet thick trees, more than a thousand years old, were worshipped as spirits by the mississauga natives who were pushed away again and again and finally went to the 6 nations in brantford. 

*All the rivers were dammed multiple times for saw and grain mills, devastating all the fish. The forests gone, the water drained away, stripping the top soil and causing flooding. First logging gone, then fisheries, then only port credit the port, then only port credit the rail stop.

Not a pretty picture, yet now port credit is a haven, a model of urban life. It’s like paving over auschwitz, dumping some land fill in the lake (‘clean’), planting pretty flowers, and of course a parking lot. Like American apartheid until the 1970s, where blacks just didn''t enter the whites' consciousness.

Back to the station and home, but the bike fell over as the train shuddered at mimico. Bam! And when i got off, the gears were off, then i was disoriented coming out of the union station maze and went in the completely wrong direction (a common trait). I (smart ass) was multi-tasking, deciding to go to the food bank from union station to save a trip. Wow. toronto traffic, so tense. Got my goodies, on my way, when -- oh no! I didn’t tap the dratted GO card. 

Panic. It’s raining, i’m exhausted. Back to union station. What a nightmare. Streetcar tracks, slippery, dark. So nice to have the university ave bike path. Takes the stress off the dangerous part.

Oh yes, mr moon so cheerful in the morning, wishing me a good travel. I followed him west, as he dodged behind trees and changed his place, leaving me befuddled. Finally, when i looked up, nothing. Then found it peaking from behind a cloud, waving good-bya.. How alive is nature. 

And story of the faulty red army waterproof watch, it turns out my stove clock was 10 minutes slow. 

Then there’s the mysterious paper that chanced to be in my coat pocket when i wanted to make notes at the planting event. I opened it to see my childlike drawing of the tree, my vision quest meditation at the anthroposophy retreat in caledon. What a magical moment when i discovered it. But when i got home, it was gone. Instead a tedious earlier note on the back of a rexall receipt. Magic gone. Along with my trusty map, which disappeared, probably when the bike fell over on the train. Oh welll. It was the worse for wear, and i’ve had a back up for over a year. 


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Canadian Eric Walberg is known worldwide as a journalist specializing in the Middle East, Central Asia and Russia. A graduate of University of Toronto and Cambridge in economics, he has been writing on East-West relations since the 1980s.

He has lived in both the Soviet Union and Russia, and then Uzbekistan, as a UN adviser, writer, translator and lecturer. Presently a writer for the foremost Cairo newspaper, Al Ahram, he is also a regular contributor to Counterpunch, Dissident Voice, Global Research, Al-Jazeerah and Turkish Weekly, and is a commentator on Voice of the Cape radio.

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Eric's latest book The Canada Israel Nexus is available here http://www.claritypress.com/WalbergIV.html