The first hint of spring often came at the tail end of winter. As a child growing up in Ontario my mother wrapped me in a snowsuit so thick I could only manage a waddle at best. Off I would go behind my sisters or brothers out into the snow. And then suddenly, that tiny sliver of spring would come sailing in on a breeze so sweet it still takes my breath away.
Years later I remember driving and suddenly I saw my mom walking down Lakeshore Road in Port Credit. It was summer and the sun was out bright and hard. I could see her long legs from far away and that short curly hair. Although a grown woman with four children she walked like a kid. Her head was tilted back to the sun and if I didn’t know better I could see she was taking in the sweetness of the smell of summer grasses and the cool air as it came off the lake.
Like my mother I am a walker. Even as a kid I skipped the school bus and would walk miles to school on my own both there and back. Each section of the walk brought my senses alive in different ways.
As I crossed the bridge over the Credit river, I could catch the breeze that came from Lake Ontario and the river that winds its way up Mississauga, the name of a tribe whose home this once was. I would walk past the Library where I worked as a teen.
Even now I feel the walls of that library through the smells of books I shelved, ordered by the magical dewey decimal system.
Then off to the GO Station and under the tunnel often wet and smelling of swamp although a swamp was nowhere near. Then past the old houses to the orchard sweet with apples. The orchard is gone now but I can still smell the fruit. Today I’m still a big walker.
Every day at lunch I wander for an hour so I can catch those fragrant breezes, watch the trees and the houses age as years pass by. It’s my own personal calendar of the passing of time.