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Still Unpacking in Pickering

It is finally over. The move is done. We are once again in our own place surrounded by our own things. Granted, these things are still in boxes for the most part, but they are our boxes. We were questioned a lot on why we chose Pickering this time. The honest answer is that it kind of chose us. A couple of opportunities knocked and we really had no choice but to open the door or portal if you will.

Two days ago I looked up from the computer and this is what I saw out back. Snow Day April 2 It was afternoon, it was dark and the biggest, fatest snowflakes were coming down fast and furious. This would have been my cue to whinge, “Why Pickering?” had I not made a most important discovery a few days before.

Home Place • Enchantment In The Making

Home Place • Enchantment In The Making

Seriously, this is called Home Place – Enchantment In The Making and exists at the end of  my street.  It turns out that I live just minutes from part of the Pickering Waterfront Trail.  It is actually part of a 900 km Waterfront Trail that runs along the shores of Lake Ontario and the St. Lawrence River from Niagara On The Lake to the Quebec border.

Pickering Waterfront Trail Map

Map from Pickering.ca

The Pickering part of the trail is divided into 3 sections:

  • First Nations Trail (3.5 km) – from Rouge River to the west shore of Frenchman’s Bay
  • Monarch Trail (4.7 km) – surrounds Frenchman’s Bay and ends at Millennium Square
  • Peak Trail (4.2 km) – from Millennium Square to the Ajax border

At the end of the street lies Millennium Square which leads along the boardwalk into Peak Trail.

Beach Front Park Millennuim Square

Boardwalk

There are several things of note along this stretch…wetlands, a Tern nesting raft, a windmill, a barrier beach, etc., oh, and even a French Fry truck for He-Who…all of which I will talk about another time.  This time we are just going to talk about “Home Place”.  Created by the Sculptor, Dorsey James,

Home Place is all about change; changes that affect our past, our present and our future. Home Place is a coalescence of universal symbols from a variety of times, cultures and beliefs. These symbols are alive but will vary in importance at different times in each of our lives. The concept is realized in three components; The area of Enchantment, The Portal and the Kijimba Kind. This structure, in its entirety is called “Home Place”.

As you walk along the path of Peaks Trail you come across carvings made from discarded cedar hydro poles. Dorsey James calls these carvings Kijimba Kind. It is a term he created from two different words and three different cultures. Kijimba means spirit and comes from the Bambara people of Africa. The word Kind is taken from the word Kinder which means children in German and in English the word kind refers to a type (mankind) and can also refer to the nature of a person (nice). So the term basically means Spirit Children. 

Kijimba Kind 1

Kijimba Kind 2

Kijimba Kind 3

Kijimba Kind 4

Kijimba Kind 5

As you wind your way through these beacons you can’t help but “feel” them as well as see them. They lead you to the Portal structure at the centre.  The portal structure is beautiful in its simplicity but complicated when trying to explain it. Every single piece of it has been created by design, with deep symbolization behind each part. Whether it is the layout, the direction each piece faces, the height of each pole, the number of poles or the carvings. They all have a meaning behind them.  The Portal is seen by different cultures as different things. The most common is that it is a transition point between two spaces. This can be physical, psychological or spiritual space. The idea is that as you pass through the portal. The setting sun (Western side)  takes away or removes all the crap from your life while the rising sun brings in all the good stuff (Eastern side).

The Portal

PORTAL FACES 2

PORTAL FACES

THE PORTAL 2I can’t  tell you how very kool this place is. You actually have to stand on the ground around it. It is a spiritually magic place.

Here is something I can tell you…if the pile of boxes never seems to get smaller…if winter decides it is not leaving…if nothing seems to be going right…guess where you will find me?  I’ll be the one running around the area of Enchantment  and jumping through The Portal…in Pickering.

You never know…

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FRAMED DUCK copyAt a recent Toastmaster meeting it was pointed out that the lovely town that I live in has a relocation program for geese. Seriously, the Town of Oakville has a “Geese Relocation Program”. Forms are filled out, Town Staff gets involved and there are lots of rules and regulations on how to go about this. Apparently, there are people and businesses that actually make a living relocating geese. There were many suggestions that evening on “alternative” solutions (some included stuffing) and better ways to spend our tax dollars. I kept my mouth shut as the conversation brought to mind a couple of times that I ran afoul of some of our fine feathered friends.

While driving to work one day, along the QEW from Oakville to Burlington… a drive that in another world (one that would not include the always backed up QEW) would take 12 minutes, I was brought to a standstill just short of my exit. I could see the police vehicles across the full stretch of the highway and down the off ramp, lights flashing. This did not bode well. As always, I immediately got my patience in check, said a little prayer for whoever was involved in the certain crash, and thanked God once again that it was not me. Time does not fly by as you sit and wait these things out. I was able to make some calls to get things going at work as my car slowly crept forward onto the off ramp. “Ok, I’m on the ramp now and I don’t see any crash, so it must have been cleared away, I won’t be long now…
Are you freaking kidding me!?”
Needless, to say the person on the other end of the phone was a little taken aback at my break from protocol. There in front of me with a police vehicle on both sides and one behind was a family of ducks being escorted across the highway and down the ramp. When I relayed this information to my place of employment, they questioned the time of day being a “little early” for whatever I was on. After assuring them that I was clean and sober and disconnecting I called the local radio station to report the traffic situation. After they stopped laughing they put me on the air where I was able to give a waddle by very slow waddle report of the feathered convoy with the police escort for the next 20 minutes. Turns out that day must have been the day all the ducks decided to “get to the other side” because there were reports of these police encounters all day long. I’ll bet those police officers never thought they would be writing up duck reports when they graduated police academy.

Years ago when I was still making a living as a photographer I was sent on assignment to a farm in a rather remote area. I love shooting outdoors and was looking forward to the flower and fauna shots ahead of me. Appointments were always scheduled through head office in Toronto. Our assignment sheets would have the name, address, the nature of the shoot, specific things to look for, etc. If there was any kind of safety issue it was always noted big and bold and red. Farms in remote areas often have guard dogs, swamps or sink holes that can all be treacherous so I read my summary sheet carefully. Seeing no danger warnings I exited my vehicle and started to unload my equipment for the day from my trunk. These were the days before digital – nothing was small. As I draped myself with cameras, lights, lenses and tripods to trek into the site I felt a pain in my ankle. Thinking I had simply bumped into a stump or stone, I continued to take steps toward the doorway of the building. Again a pain at my ankle, again, again…both ankles were screaming out in agony now. I stumbled, but caught myself with visions of thousands of dollars worth of equipment crashing to the ground. The pain was excruciating. Something was hammering away at my ankles. There was a blur of activity as hands reached out to help me and I saw feathers floating in the air. Panicked voices…”You were supposed to wait in your car till we came and got you. We told the lady on the phone, make sure she stays in her car till we get there. She has to stay in the car, we have an attack duck. We’re so sorry. Let me take that. Here, we’ll help you inside”…
“Wait a minute, wait just one darn minute there, did you say you have…you have an attack what?”
“We have an attack duck.” “You have an attack duck. Of course you do. Who doesn’t have an attack DUCK?” After the trip to the emergency ward, the wrapping, the icing, the crutches and the prescribed pain killers I called my office. “Is there anything you forgot to tell me about that assignment today.” “No, you had all the information. I bet you had a great time, they had a really good sense of humour on the phone.”
“What do you mean?”
“They had us going trying to convince us that they had an ‘attack duck’. Can you imagine?” Well, as a matter of fact, City Girl, I can! I hung up and put my poor bruised and swollen ankles up on a pillow.

Duck, duck, goose…it’s all gone to the birds!

-30-

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