Wandering around down at the old apple orchard again yesterday with the shnoggin’ doggin’, we had a jolly ol’time, as we hadn’t been in a while. It’s the only place in the city I feel comfortable taking her, I’m not much of a dog park sort, and really neither is she. Certainly she’s mellowed over the last 5 years we’ve been here, but still, she can be a concrete block when she gets her mindset
And you know, there was not one single cloud in the sky, there was a light breeze, the grass was long, late spring and everything still has the gloss of new about it, just weeks since much of it all unfurled from its long winter snooze.
Oh, and what I love about it is that it is not all perfect and pristine as some prefer, and don’t get me wrong those sorts of woods are precious, and rare, and certainly beautiful, but I cherish these sorts of city lands, once abused and misused, now left to go wild, protected from the bully developers that only see wasted land, where I see birds, and vultures, and deer…and…well, I’ll get to what else.
Wandered these same trails, some 20 years now, originally with another dog, way back in those helium sphere days I’ve written of before.
The whole place is completely different now, and all that’s left of the orchard are these cool twisted apple wood skeletons lounging here and there across the meadow, with only one small patch that still blooms, and apples litter the ground in the fall. Deers have a bed for the night, as you can see the areas of trampled grass where they’ve laid in a group, and with the smorgasbord, the fawns I imagine have plenty to get them through the long winter.
After Ish’lish and I had made our circle round, coming out the same way, and Irish, off on adventures somewhere, not even close to being ready to return, and truth be told, neither was I.
So I took her suggestion, and we went through to explore the old paint factory grounds, as I’d seen some interesting colour of some sort I was curious about. Put her on the leash, and we made our way through the hole in the fence. Poking around, and the lovely colour was some kind of succulent; probably some sort of Sedum, maybe escaped from some planters the plant had and liked it, so it stayed.
See, left to its own devices this place will be unrecognizable in no time, as there are all sorts of younglings of Maple and Walnuts and more bursting up through the old asphalt parking lot.
As I was admiring these lovely yellow beauties that littered the ground, a shadow passed over, and there above me were all these Turkey Vultures, old buzzards circling, circling, diving in to get a better look at us, perhaps.
They were gliding on some invisible jet streams, almost like they were playing, coming together, going apart, round and round, and back, and there was about 6 or so.
Made our back to the road, deciding we’d take the path that runs along that east pond. Through the trees, I heard this squawking of a Crow, and just visible through the trees I saw this white head of something, a flash, and gone. I paused…I knew what that may be…so we stopped and I waited for them to swing around again, and they didn’t disappoint.
I was right, it was a Bald Eagle, being harangued by some angry crow, swooping and diving, with that caw-cawing in that gravelly way they have, and stunned was I. So stupid stunned I botched getting a good picture, and just stood there at one point in awe.
It was magnificent.
When I lived by Lake Ontario, up outside Toronto, I saw my first, and it was a juvenile that came over that spring, maybe one of the first, as it was reported all up and down the lake that day on this birding site I followed. They were unheard of back then in Ontario, that was back in mid-2000’s, 2005 or 6 maybe.
I was at the Adamson’s estate, strolling along the trail that ran by the shore, and there it was, gliding along not 4 feet away from me.
Ok, now let me tell you there is no question when you see one, you know it’s an Eagle, and even though I’d only ever seen them in a bird book, dear lord they are really big, even juveniles. I had chills. And they have this quiet grace, a diplomacy, a greatness that they naturally emanate. I don’t know if I’m explaining that well at all, but for me it was like this slow-motion memory, of this beautiful bird, gliding past, and our eyes met, and he held my gaze, even looked back, but continued on his way along the shore, going west, towards Burlington I found out when I got back and checked that birding site, and it was like magic.
And maybe it was a kind of.