2017-06-18 Sun

Trees of Toronto

Christopher Greaves Home_IMG_20170527_123455066.jpg

Here on St Nicholas street we have another example of Toronto City Council’s weird management style.

This stump has companions which are healthy trees.

Someone decided that this particular tree was dead, or unhealthy, so the tree was lopped off at shoulder-height ready for removal.

But the tree is not dead, and nature bravely continues to fight to live.

Against insurmountable odds. Namely Humans.


I recently harangued young people, exemplified by my Spanish Tutors, for playing with their smart phones when we are discussing Language.

I am currently writing my memoirs of growing up in Southern Cross, and recalled several facets of the telephone system. Our phone was set right inside the front door, and we paid for each phone call. My mother set up a tin money-box with the slogan “’Phone from here whene’er you will; but don’t forget who pays the bill”.

Next to the phone was a card table, and on the car table a jig-saw puzzle. My mother solved 1,000-piece puzzles as a pastime, and we were expressly forbidden to place a single piece in place. It was Mum’s puzzle, and she wanted to complete it all by herself.

I have images of my mother sitting at the table, picking up a piece of sky with her right hand, and hovering it over the puzzle, like an Ouija sleight, as if she would feel the attraction of the piece of sky for its place on the board. Snap! Another piece in place. Seven Hundred and Fifty Eight to go!

The same image shows my mother with the phone headset tucked under her chin, or held by her left hand. Every ten seconds or so my mother would say “Uh-huh” or “Yes”, (but never “I know how you feel”; those times were yet to come), while the person on the other end yapped away about how her husband neglected her, or the Mother’s Union should allow member of the Ladies Guild to arrange flowers on the altar, or why the annnual parish picnic should not be helf at Yorkrakine Rock again, ever, and numerous other gripes.

My mother saw her job, as the Rector’s Wife, to listen patiently, a low-church confessional if you will. But she wasn’t that deeply involved. All she needed to remember was that Bill Begley was upset with Lorna, or that Barry Dowdal had ... and my guess is that after forty-five minutes she could put down the phone and report to dad “Billl Begley and Lorna again” or “barry Dowdal again”, and it would be Dad’s job to get in touch by telephone, or drive out there on a visit.

My point being that back in the mid-fifties my mother, Blessed Saint that she was, was easily distracted by a jigsaw puzzle that she had solved several times before. It’s just that the person on the other end of the ‘phone didn’t know that she was doing a jigsaw puzzle.

Today of course, the situation is reversed. We are deep into our phones when we should be focussing on the task, literally, at hand.

But it’s the same thing. “I’m bored and want to do something more interesting”.