Monday, December 6, 2010


I love to go walking on Newmarket's many trails. To have these paths in the middle of our suburban chaos is a wonderful treasure that is worth preserving. When I walk, I am able to put aside the day-to-day issues of modern life, and to be peaceful, calm and observant. So many things are there, waiting to be seen and sensed.
The trails are great in all seasons and even all kinds of weather, bad or good. But, without a doubt, the best times to walk are when the year is getting older: in autumn and winter.

Autumn walks are golden. The heat and humidity of the intense southern Ontario summer are things of the past. The walker is not burdened by oppressive sun, temperatures and humidexes. Instead, clear skies and clear light marks the path. The heavy air is gone, and with it, the torments of summer walks: bugs, thirst, sunburn, and crowds. The walker can stride easily, thinking of all the things that have gone before, musing at the cares and worries that plagued him in younger months. The path opens up to reveal views of sheer beauty: the greatest rewards are there for the eyes, ears, and other senses. The walker now has time to stop and savour them, and to understand them for all their worth. With peace comes knowledge, and with this type of knowledge comes wisdom.

But, by far, the best walks are in winter. The silence is endless and calming. No other walkers on the trail: pristine paths with no other footprints, except for an ambitious squirrel making last forays for food. If the weather is cold, no matter: bundle up and walk briskly. Keep your eyes open for the birds, whose colours take on greater drama against the white-grey canvass. The walker must stop often and breathe deeply: the air is purer in winter, with the quiet and calm.

The ultimate walk is there to be savoured and enjoyed.

Eventually, the walk must stop. But what a trail it has been. Colours followed by purity: it doesn't get any better than that. Enjoy the trail, everyone.

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