An Elemental Afternoon

Tuesday in Toronto. Cold. A high of 11° C for a mid-October day. The sun is brilliant, cutting the sky with golden light. Not much wind. Just enough to rustle the trees and shake orange, yellow and red leaves one by one to the ground.

Shirt, sweater, jeans, sturdy sneakers, hat, half-gloves, double fleece jacket on in a flash. Grab the dog, car keys and sun glasses. Out, out and out into the light. Traffic on the Gardner uncomplicated and light, making our way to the outskirts of Etobicoke. Drive down Brown’s Line to a deserted park with a wide expanse of Lake Ontario.

Merlin and I together in solitude, except for a stray squirrel and a distant biker dressed in spandex red on the paved trail. We turn to the water, full sun high in the southern sky warming the expanse of field, beach and suburban forest. Oh Lake Ontario. This living, breathing body of water is crystal clear today and shimmers in waves of blue sapphires, gently breaking on the shore.

The elements of fire, earth, air and water surround and pulse with life. A stray Monarch butterfly dips by. Merlin buries his nose deep in a patch of ground, throws himself down and rolls belly up over and over again. Comes up for air with a loopy grin, tongue to one side and eyes bright. He disappears among a patch of trees and vegetation and I turn once more to the lake. A pair of geese flies low, honking in near unison as they merge with the horizon.

Gazing into the southern sky, closing my eyes against the sun’s full gaze. The fire signs leap to mind: Aries, Leo, and Sagittarius. All alit with solar radiance. Earth signs follow: Taurus, Virgo and Capricorn. Each grounded into some degree of the material. Gemini, Libra and Aquarius chatter and declare their resolve on the breeze, while Cancer, Scorpio and Pisces bob on the lake in emotional resonance. Twelve signs dancing on the rim of the horizon forming a sacred wheel of fire, earth, air and water.

The reverie is broken as Merlyn dashes out of the rustic grove and tumbles towards me covered in burrs and brambles. Patiently, he stands still as I take one, then two then a half dozen out of his wiry coat. We move on.  The magic of the day shatters with our motion.

The echo of it remains.