After a particularly harsh winter my family here in Byron of London, South Western Ontario, Canada, are eagerly awaiting some indication of the arrival of warmer weather. Heavy spring coats and sweaters are still the dress of the day with temperatures here reluctantly creeping up to 10C.
The girls, Alyssa and Haley are out on their bikes every day after school and soccer practice and I have my little fold up 2 wheeler lubed and ready for some action. I expect to make some trips farther afield this year to some of the conservation areas and provincial parks close to London and even take my camping gear on a small trailer behind my bike. Rates to camp overnight are in the $35 a night range requiring some planning and saving.
The purchase of a bus pass for the summer will allow me to travel throughout the city of London and when the knees begin to buckle on the bike paths I will always have the bike racks on the front of the bus and a big bench seat near the driver to literally fall back on and take me to my door. Being a senior entitles me to front row seating, except for babies in strollers and old people in scooters.
Southwestern Ontario is the home to the northern limits of the Carolinian forest from a line drawn from Toronto to Grand Bend and then extending south to the Carolinas in the United states. In this ecologically rich area are one third of Canadas’ rare and endangered species. The long hot summers and normally short mild winters combined with a varied topography and diverse geology create an ecosystem unique in Canada.
Many different species of birds and flowers are found here that are unable to survive in the colder northern weather, although this year would go a long way to test the endurance of these delicate species. It certainly has the people of the region. I will clean up my new camera and monocular to get even more images for the cloud, where ever that might be.
It has been good fun reconnecting with my grandaughters, Haley, 10, a major soccer enthusiast and Alyssa, 8, still exploring all her potentials. I heard Alyssa singing the other morning and she gave me goosebumps. Music might just be her way of expressing herself but when approached about getting some lessons she replied “why, I am already a good singer”.
Maybe a new electronic keyboard and some Karaoke software will help her decide her directions to the world of music and performance. All kids need is something that gives them confidence and makes them feel good both to themselves in the eyes of their friends and family. I think grandpa could bring in the piano stool and provide some guitar backup when she finally switches the light on. Alyssa is not a force to bargain with, she will get to where she is going at her speed and not a moment sooner.
All is well on the parent front as Amy is excelling at her insurance job and Brad is very busy with his construction business spending much of their free time in soccer mode and then with their friends around a pool and barbecue. The conventional North American lifestyle is working well for them after a few bumps in the road. Their futures and those of the kids look bright, the economy and environmental challenges not withstanding.
I am only one month away from the warm temperatures and relaxed lifestyle of Selvins’ and Puerto Viejo on the southern Caribbean coast of Costa Rica and I miss all that made life so easy for me from November of last year to April 10 2014. I look forward to seeing all the people I have met and become friends with over the past 6 years when I again return in October/November later this year.
It is hoped to have my little fold up bike with me when I return this November and that will be helpful in my trips to visit friends and help me get to town for groceries. It may become too easy to transport beer which in turn will make it more difficult to ride my bike. Oh what a tangled bike path we weave.
It is hoped that I will return to Nova Scotia sometime in the next several months to once again decide the fate of my “stuff” in storage. The longer I am away from it the less I remember about it and the less the need to have it with me. My art and photos are very important to me and I know and remember all the prints I have but their size and weight has forced me to store them until I have a truck to move them, probably back to Ontario. Things can be such a nuisance once they have outlived their usefulness, much like people, as I am told.
I am off to put some bike kilometers between visits to the cheery caribbean coast.
Stay tuned for new and unplanned developments.