A Walk in the Park; A Light in the Tunnel
By Jim Sanderson
These days, more than ever, we need a little light at the end of a tunnel that has been pretty dark during the past twelve months. In addition to bad news about COVID-19 lockdowns and deaths, there have been racial tensions, environmental catastrophes, and political violence – not only in Canada and our neighbour to the south, but around the world.
Almost all of my family, neighbours, and friends remind me regularly how much they look forward to the day we can return to some semblance of our pre-COVID-19 lives. They look forward to enjoying live worship services, concerts, sporting events, stores without line-ups, and media not fraught with warnings and bad news.
Many things can provide respite during hard times, like a phone call to or from a friend you haven’t been in touch with for years, or a Zoom meeting with family across the country or around the world. For me, one of the easiest and most effective forms of relaxation, brilliant in its simplicity, is a walk in the park. Readers familiar with The Bluffers Park Journal will not be surprised at this, coming from a long-time south Scarborough and former Beach and Toronto Island resident with an abiding appreciation of the outdoors.
Every person has his or her own set of joys, fears, sorrows and dreams, and my positive thoughts seem to bubble to the surface when I get out on the trail with family or on my own. I make an effort to forget the radio and T.V. headlines and concentrate on the beautiful lake and trees, animals, and birds in our rich Bluffs environment. No matter how bummed I may have been before setting out, I feel happier and more thankful, even if only just a little on some days, after time on the trail, better able to appreciate this great city and country, and all of the fortunes we enjoy. Even a short hike in the natural world is likely to lift your spirits. Hikes are still allowed during the current “stay at home” order, provided that you walk only with family or living mates and keep away from others. A walk in the park is a triple whammy of fresh air, sunshine (even on cloudy days) and a little exercise. Here’s a tip from a long-time friend in the computer business – turn off your phone!
Ever since the “second lockdown”, though the weather has become colder, I have been happy to see more people than ever out on walks, jogs, or bike rides on our streets and trails. I can’t help but notice the broad smiles on young children who are reaping a silver lining of this pandemic – increased family time. Now at the end of January 2021, I am also mindful of Canada’s large order of vaccinations that has begun to arrive and be deployed. With them, that little light at the end of the tunnel grows a bit brighter every day.
~ Jim Sanderson is a local resident, and the author of Toronto Island Summers, and Life in Balmy Beach.