Saturday 17 May 2008

Victoria Day Long Weekend: May 16 -19

The week began to the north, with four-wheelers in Parry Sound. We drove up for a few errands. There must have been nearly a dozen of these vehicles driving around the town. Good thing there wasn't much traffic! What a sight to see!

The weekend started with a bang - or, I should say, a wail. With 1,000,000 people predicted to travel highway 400, the Ontario Provincial Police, with many crime alerts on the highway, had a helicopter posted to spot speeders and wacko drivers. They hired another helicopter to patrol over highway #69. With 8.1 million people living in the Golden Horseshoe, we have always found that people are either driving to or fro around Ontario, and this region. StatsCan says that this comprises 2/3 of the population of Ontario and 25% of the population of Canada. When we travel to visit our son, an actor in two shows at Shaw Festival, highways 400 & 407 are always busy. A drive around Lake Ontario is an adventure. Traffic is heavy and continuous on such weekends with folks going from Toronto to Niagara, as well as Stratford, for the many festivals that mark tourist season.

There are those who visit our area and bring the stress and the desperate hurry of the city with them. They fail to take time to feel, listen, look, and smell the scent of the country. The lessons of the wildlife, who sit contented at the shore, escape them as they escape their city life. In my middle age have found much healing at the water's shore. Some people drive as if they are on their way to an emergency and put many of us at risk. We know that the OPP has been vigilant in tracking those who speed. We take our time and pull over when we encounter such drivers. It is simply not worth it to feel their stress as they anxiously tailgate in their hurry to make it to their important destination. The OPP have targeted these city drivers, and rightly so.

Friday afternoon, as we sat by the water in the sun, far from the crowds, we could hear sirens about every 20 minutes. I think I heard a firetruck, too. We saw the helicopter go over head as we worked by the water, embracing sun and wind and watching out for the blackflies. They are wicked at this time of year, especially in the cooler weather. You have to stay in the sun, as it is chilly with temperatures of only 18 degrees or so. The problem is that the blackflies are numerous and you really need to find a hot, sunny, sheltered spot to sit or work. The wind keeps the flies down, but it is a bit more chilly.

Our birds, and Bea, the racoon, continue to feed at the shore. The heron has been visiting more frequently, although there are not many frogs or other prey, although one hopped across and under my way as I knelt working in the garden. In the pond I can see many clusters of eggs with the tadpoles growing inside. I have warned them all that the tourists are arriving soon. The geese sit on our rock and watch the odd boat go by, apparently non-plussed. The cat will sit on the dock and observe our beloved creatures, even Bea has come to terms with the cats, who realize she is a frowsy-looking mother seeking to feed her young.

The violets and the forget-me-nots show off their purples and blues. They embrace the cool weather, the warmth of the sun, and present their spring colours. The few hardy pansies that I planted show their faces and smile, content in the breath of spring air. The daffodils have faded, but many of the other garden plants are beginning to raise their heads to nod at the arrival of spring. We cannot compete with the beauty of the showy trees of Niagara, but the green is startlingly bright with the rain and the growing conditions.

1 comment:

... Smells Like Fries said...

Ahh. The stressful art of relaxation. :)