Saturday, 9 April 2011

A few minutes walk from my house, just south of the intersection of Kingston Road and Bellamy Road is a trail that leads down through the ravine to shore of the lake. I had often taken the dogs for a walk there on the weekends. A little over three years ago, I decided to make it a daily walk.
The total distance is about 5 kilometres and takes about an hour and yet it has proven time and again to be more of a trip to another country and a place out of time.
Less than 100 yards from a six lane highway and residential development, the ravine is full of wildlife. I often see rabbits, foxes, coyotes, deer, mink and even a beaver. When I don’t see them their tracks are there. And birds, all sorts, an eagle once, a gyr falcon,  lots of hawks, a great horned owl breakfasting on a rabbit that it had snagged, blue herons, swans, kingfishers. I once kept an informal daily tally for a couple of weeks of the varieties that I saw. It was never less than twelve.

Just as wonderful as the wildlife, is the plant world. In the spring the ravine can be full with the perfume of black locust one week, wild roses the next. In the fall the hills of the ravine light up with golden yellow poplars and electric red sumac.

Steps into the ravine, the hum of the traffic and the noise of the world recede, absorbed by the forest. Part way down, the path follows a stream that runs at the centre of the ravine. Now the gentle ripple of water over rocks becomes the main sound in the world.

Half way down, I round a corner and the lake comes into view, framed in the V of the ravine, never the same colour from one day to the next.
This is a morning walk, and most often I arrive at the lakeshore to see the sun rise. I cannot count the times that I have begrudgingly got out of bed, organized the dogs and set out only to be overwhelmed by the peace and beauty that dwells in this ravine walk and the simple rising of the sun over the water. It is indeed a blessing for the rest of the day.

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