Whoa! Slow down: my first strange walk in Toronto

Whoa! Slow Down

My first walk in Toronto wasn't exactly “10 things to see in the city in one day”. No, on the contrary, I thought I was in the shooting of the series "Dark”: certainly not known for being happy.

I had decided to enjoy the city slowly, to slowly explore the neighborhood, starting with the small gardens, and that's exactly what I did.

When I got out of my quarantine, I didn't have internet on my phone yet, so no Google Maps. I didn't want to go far and I memorized my way to a little park nearby, the Wellesley Park.

My beloved neighborhood.

Let's go!

The day was gray but I come from North Italy, where is always foggy - "this weather won't influence me" (and instead it was cloudy for almost two months and I was pretty sad! When the sun came back, we celebrated).

To get to the Wellesley Park, I walked along this very very North American street; I liked it because there were still the decorations of my favorite celebration, Halloween (it was November 18th anyway), many terraced houses, squirrels in the trees, it was cold but not too much, and there were beautiful late autumn colors.

The park is located right at the end of this street, closing it.

Photo of a Canadian squirrel, but I prefer those in Legnano.

At the park there was me, a man and a child. Wow!

I adjust the gray jacket which Shreyank, my partner, gave to me (I hadn't bought my super black jacket yet) and fasten my Decathlon shoes well (same here: I was not yet equipped for the Canadian winter).

I walk.

The park is very small and overlooks other terraced houses, almost uninhabited. I am telling you: if I disappear here in Toronto, you can start looking for my body there. 

Houses.

The man and the child go away and I and my restlessness remain. The park has noise (see the video below).

Did I tell you I felt inside the "Dark" series?

I walk again, I follow the asphalted path, but I stop at each tree. I notice that, next to each bark, there is a silver plate. I went and checked it.

Of course, we are in the country of the maple leaf, it will be the scientific name of the tree! How smart these Canadians!

In loving Memory of Angela.

A Heart as Big as the Sky".

They are dedications.

The first dedication I read.

Each tree has one, some are small shrubs but they already have their name tag, I try not to miss even one before someone up there gets offended. They are dedications for people who are no longer here.

It was a nice introduction round, I felt like I was in the meeting of ancestors in Mulan.

I finally had a chat with someone nice!

Scene taken from the Disney movie "Mulan": the ancestors.

I continue the tour, the park has another entrance full of signs that intrigue me, I read them all. 

Forgive the finger on top. The sign says: “No winter maintenance. Use at your own risk ".
"Whoa! Slow Down! Drive like your kids live here."
The houses are so much "Mike Wazowski".

They make me laugh.

"Use at your own risk".

What did I tell you? Isn't it scary?

Among the leafless trees I see a red thread hanged, I go closer to look at it, and I think back to the little trip I made in Thailand: how much I prayed in that country! And how many threads have I hung like this! I prayed so much for myself and Shreyank. When I returned to this park, two months later, the red thread was still there, who knows where the ones I hung up in Asia are.

Who knows if this red thread is a prayer?!
One of my prayers in Thailand.

There are other signs on the street lamps at the exit of the park, obviously I also read those.

“Discovery Walk”: then I discovered there were several scattered around Toronto.

Discovery Walk!”

Well said street lamp, well said!  

I follow the arrow. One, another, right and then left.

Who knows where this is taking me !?

I was very excited. From a horror movie, it was about to become an adventurous one. Inside I think it's a sign of destiny: the destination will tell me what to do with my future.

I arrive there.

The Toronto Necropolis.

Certainly, there is no escape from that future.

I enter.

Even here there are signs which make me laugh. I was walking alone through the cemetery, laughing

Don't worry, I already see a good psychologist!

I can not believe it! This is truly my first walk in Toronto!

Respect the physical distance. Is it only me who laughs at this sign in a cemetery?

I HAVE FOUND THE NUMBER OF GOD! "Do you have questions?" WELL, I HAVE MANY!

I stop to read the names on many coffins. On one of these I find written Saudades, a word from Brazilian Portuguese that indicates the feeling of nostalgia.

Saudades.

There are other dedications, even on the benches.

"He was my sunday rest".

The bench with the dedication above.

I never go to the cemetery: I have accompanied a few times my sister to visit her grandfather (we have different fathers), and that's it. Me, my mom and my sisters never cried on the body of my grandmother when she passed away in Brazil. When she died it was strange because there was no funeral: human beings need rituals and ceremonies to give meaning to the stages of life, to alleviate pain, to celebrate the birth of people and unions, to get closer to what we cannot control. My grandmother, for me, just stopped calling. 

Manaus, Brazil. My grandmother is the lady with the glasses.

Death scares me: I have never seen it up close, fortunately. The pandemic has accustomed us to look at death as a number, a value on a graph. But I think about those who left a name in all these numbers. 

I leave the cemetery, it was starting to get a bit cold. 

I notice that there are other signs of the "Discovery Walk“.

"Come on! This is the right time! There will be a signal, a message about my future, my purpose in this life! "

I arrive in a farm.

In Toronto.

I start to laugh. There are more people here, many children. I start walking among the goats, horses and cows.

I can not believe it! After the weird park, the necropolis, here is now a farm! 

If you're interested, it's called Riverdale Farm Toronto.

I start walking again. There is another park, much more spacious, there are trees with dedications, benches with dedications and this time I also find names on the asphalt.

Bricks dedicated to someone.

This time I don't read them all. I'll be back. 

I run home (because I had to pee!).

I leave behind the park, the necropolis, the farm and the dedications.

The city begins to rise in front of me. I felt like I was returning from another dimension.

To the city.

I want to tell everything to Shreyank.

I think you are adding some masala to this story!

I'm not exaggerating! I tell you it's true!

I went to that park a thousand times and I've never seen anything you say!

I know. We all always see only what we are looking for, what we want to see, nothing more.

I never had attention to little details, I usually rush: how many things have I seen like this, randomly, with other thoughts on my mind, just to complete a list of things to do.

This time I want it to be different. It must be different. I want to see what is now in front of me.

I wrote about that first day out just now, so surreal and funny to me. I felt like doing it now because I was starting to forget of the promise that I made to myself: to focuson the present.

Living it again made me smile. Thinking back to that day reminds me to slow down and to breathe.

That evening, in the shower, I decided to open a blog, this blog. The Masala in the Story, a detail that makes a walk a story, my exercise of being in present.

Shreyank and I celebrating the purchase of my blog.

Thank you very much for reading this story.

Waiting for you comments and reflections.

At the end, I leave you the happiest sign of Wellesley Park. You can zoom it 😀 only a scary clown was missing!

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