The city can provide small pockets of solitude in amoungst the busy streets. Sound wise, it is never silent, there are no hiding places. But visually, you can find moments and places where it’s all nature, all you and the woods and the rivers and lakes.
Right next to Cawthra, one of the busiest streets in Mississauga, there is an outdoor sanctuary behind St. Maximillian. You can hear the busy street compete with the birds for sonic dominance. But to look around, the trees block out all of the reminders that your immersed in suburban living. Images of Christ’s crucifixion, the stations of the cross dot this beautiful manufactured landscape.
This is a literal sanctuary. The metaphor of sanctuary is a widely used device to describe nature, especially the prescribed bits of nature we place in cities to provide escape from the constant barrage of brick, steel, and concrete.
I have found that High Park is one of these sanctuaries. A place where children play, people run, and dogs bound. A place with space, something we’re not used to in the daily grind of city life. The reprieve is well deserved, but the sounds do not lie. You can hear the birds struggle to find their place on the frequency spectrum amoungst the cars and planes. The images though, tell a different story.
You can be alone here. You can find a place in between the trees where it appears to be just you. Appears, but your ears let you know that there is still so much going on around you.
The Humber arboretum is one of my favourite sanctuaries. A natural meeting place where the river runs through a valley. The less manicured portion is still a marvel, so many different species of trees. The animals congregate there and probably did even before the arb was there. Again though, you can hear the roar of planes as they push out the sound of the birds.
In the arb though, you can find a nice piece of river to cozy up to and do some thinking. Or just walk around. The walk is nice, we sit a lot in the media wing. To have a place that is for walking expressly is great. The deer like it there as well.
We like to think these places are our sanctuaries, and indeed they can appear that way, but when you really listen, you can see them for what they really are.
Thanks for the imprint on your retina.