I was finally able to go on a hike yesterday after being kept away from all things nature during the Winter season. I wish I could say that by doing so I conquered another mountain. I didn’t. Simply because there aren’t any mountains within the city that I live in. But thank god to the forefathers of Toronto for having the sensibilities to hire genius urban planners who decided to keep forest patches as part of its urban landscape. These forest patches lined with wild trees grown on sloping terrains have been turned into enormous recreational parks. And found in those parks are various hiking trails that imitate the trails found in actual mountains. Yesterday I was the badass hiker of High Park. I pretended that I was climbing a real mountain while listening to Cynthia Alexander on my Ipod. It wasn’t as challenging as scaling Philippines mountains for sure but the experience still left a satisfied feeling in me. Enough to make my legs wiggle and my soul leap yet again.
The highlight of my trip to the park yesterday was seeing an abundance of freshly bloomed cherry blossoms or what the Japanese fondly refer to as Sakura.
After experiencing a weird Winter season it finally is Springtime in North America. The many plant creatures of this city are ready for their close-ups. They are for sure very eager to start showing-off their natural charms. Leading the pack is the delicate and alluring Sakura, who’s presence never fails to amaze me.
Cherry blossom trees are more commonly found in the West coast of Canada particularly in Vancouver. So much so that they have an annual Cherry Blossom festival over there which I wish I could see one day. In 1959 however, the government of Japan gifted the local government of Toronto with sakura trees. The Japanese being known to have a huge fondness for cherry blossoms, wanted to express friendship towards other countries at that time. And Toronto being known as a city that treasures nature, cultivated these gifts by planting them in the different parks around the city. They have now become a source of delight for everyone during Springtime. Japan must be so proud.
Like anything delicate, this dainty creature of the universe only last for a short while. After romancing its audience for a brief period of time it wilts and it hibernates only to show itself once again during the next Spring season. This is why the opportunity to commune with it must be seized at all times.
Because it was such a lovely day yesterday everyone and their dog certainly took advantage. When I told myself I was going to spend the day at High Park I really didn’t think that many will have the same idea. Needless to say that assumption cannot be more wrong. The whole GTA was out in full force exercising their right to go on a picnic. Good thing the parks over here are vast so the tendency of them getting too crowded is nil.
Frankly speaking, I’ve always been somebody who likes to stay away from the pack. Obviously, I am quite reclusive. At times, I find it easier to communicate with my surroundings by going for a drive, taking a walk around the city or hiking a mountain than communicating with actual human beings. I find people and crowds to be a source of further stress at times. So it is not surprising that I usually make it a point to stay away from any semblance of a crowd.
Despite this, I have to say that I admire the culture of going to parks in this country. Even though I have no choice but to come across hordes of urban dwellers I feel good that in this city, the population has a convenient choice when it comes to nature tripping. Only a few minutes away from their houses while taking their dogs for a walk or while riding their top down sports cars. The parks help maintain the cleanliness of the air and are very accessible with the use of public transport. Toronto certainly knows that the best way to design a city is to build around the natural environment and not the other way around. This allows the place to become breathing spaces while at the same time becoming progressive bubbles.
Although at times I find my heart yearning for a more textured environment like Bangkok, because of such efforts in making nature one of its top priorities, I feel nothing short of great that Toronto is the place that I can call home for now.