Recently, as I walked and chatted with my partner, the corner of my eye caught sight of something on the road. I thought little of it at first, since the road is usually littered with all types of things. But to my delight I soon realized that it was a small, green toad. It had come out of the greenery and was sitting calmly on the asphalt.


There were many people walking on the road that day, but the toad didn’t seem to mind. 20150809_111840When I came closer and tried to snap a photo, it flattened itself a little, worried that I might harm it. I don’t usually like toads. But this little creature’s reaction to the shadow of my camera evoked a strong sense of empathy in me.

I thought how full the world must be of other worlds, of things unseen by most, that still exist perfectly for themselves. It’s useful to be reminded of perspective. There are things above our eyes and beneath our feet that usually escape us. This awareness somehow makes the world grow larger, mysterious,…exciting.


5 Reasons to Take a Stroll Through the High Park Cherry Blossoms 

Unfortunately cherry blossom season is over for this year. But this was a memorable walk for me, and I decided to dedicate my first post to it. 

1. The Blossoms

IMG_0393They are amazing. Yes, Toronto is full of blooming cherry trees in spring. But these blossoms are something else, trust me. At peak bloom the trees are completely covered in blushing-white flowerets. You can almost feel the force of spring bursting through them. In Japan cherry blossoms are a symbol for the brief nature of life. But the idea is not as depressing as it sounds once you see the trees in full bloom. Although they are fragile and short-lived, next spring will bring new blooms and new joy.

(On that note, remember that the blossoms last only for about a week, so plan your visit ahead of time.)

2. The Atmosphere


The cherry grove will be filled with people. IMG_048420150506_110454Don’t worry too much if you hate crowds. People will be merry, not obnoxious and loud. Of course, many will be taking pictures and many will pose with the dreaded selfie-stick. But unless you happened to wake up especially grumpy, it will all be delightful (and you might end up doing the same yourself). You will come across people painting, playing guitar, or just enjoying a picnic on the grass.  Also, keep an eye out for the High Park train. Its candy-cane stripes make the whole experience feel like a festival.

3. Photos IMG_0506

Maybe you’re trying your hand at photography, or want to celebrate a special occasion. This is the perfect opportunity for some gorgeous snapshots.

4. Renewal

IMG_0402Taking a walk through the blooming trees is a simple way to renew relationships that may have stalled, faded, or turned sour. You don’t need to try very hard. Just taking a walk will do wonders. Winter in Canada often makes people feel depressed, tired, and irritable. I know that’s the case with me. Work, stress, and lack of sunlight can leave you feeling drained and uninspired. The blossoms are a great milestone to begin again each year, to rediscover your energy, creativity, and love for those who matter in your life. Maybe you’ll even make this an annual tradition (do it!).

5. Health 

The most important relationship you have is with yourself. That’s not a selfish thing to say because you can’t be useful to others without taking care of yourself. If your health is suffering, mental or physical, this is an opportunity to pause and reflect. If you decide to go for a picnic try your hand at some healthy and delicious recipes; take a walking meditation in the early morning to see if you want to have more silence in your life; or just stroll in the fresh air for some exercise. Either way, enjoy the experience and give yourself a break. It’s spring, after all. Don’t miss it!