As I strolled down the avenue this morning in the quiet street-sounds, with the long shadows of sunrise and the steadily increasing birdsong, I was reminded of how I once loved the highrise canyons of New York city or Montreal – at sunrise, when you could clearly hear the echoing effect of those walls of building, on the sound of birds – or car horns – as the day began. There is a special sound in those urban valleys, which isn’t heard anywhere else.
In those days I used to gaze at a water-colour I had of tall, elegant Art Deco buildings looking down over Central Park, while I listened to a favourite LP (“vinyl”)- the original music from the movie, The Untouchables. It seemed to have a beautiful nostalgic, haunting sound – a kind of musical version of urban life, as it seemed to me.
As a lover of urban life, little did I know I would later bond to a much smaller urban neighbourhood – Roncesvalles Village. It is so peaceful and sweet – yet still urban – early on a sunny morning, before stores open, streetcars begin their metallic squealing, and the human bustle begins.
I wouldn’t try to guess how often strangers smile or say ‘good morning’ in a given week. And should I find the concrete and brick too hot or uninviting at times, in five minutes I can saunter into the most beautiful park in Toronto, and find the birds again.
It was through walking in that park I gradually realized what an endless variety in shades and textures of green there are. Or how urban and rude a duck can be.
It was too early for my favourite cafe to be open this morning; when an alternate opened, I sat with my first coffee of the day watching the street wake up, with its hundred thousand stories still untold. The unimaginable potential of the day almost brings a tear to my eye…