Showing posts from 2019

May 23, 2019

This morning's bike ride downtown was nothing extraordinary. But there were some things worth noticing.

The big tree on 101 Ave was all in at the photosynthesis roulette table. On green.

At the shared use path trailhead, I felt like a spoke in a fancy dance.

My friend Brian suggested Strauss.

I said hello to a pedestrian heading south.

I said hello to a magpie heading north.

I correctly predicted that the white Uber would right hook across my path.

I heard 10,000 Maniacs.

I waved to Karly, who I count among my bicycling friends.

I said hello to Jason as we arrived at Edmonton Tower.

My morning had unfolded nicely.

The day took unique turns. I guided Milan to City Centre Mall. He had a stroke three years ago. He was off to buy razors.

I took a photograph from 1978 back to the exact place I took it on a Kodak Instant Camera as a 14-year-old kid. I loved that camera.

I told the story to Eric and Brad from the Westin.

Also, I ate the first two caterpillars of my life. From Botswana. …


Pedalling a bicycle in the city gives the rider the extra bit of time needed to read the surroundings. This open invitation helps make bicycle commuting something beyond an A-to-B mode of transport. In fact, there is an alphabet of experience between A and B.

Here, in alphabetical order, are some of letters I read as I write myself along the streets of Edmonton.

ATB Place on Jasper Avenue, where I worked for five years with some well-lettered people, used the bicycle as a metaphor to explain the balance needed to keep a complex organization moving ahead.

Bon Ton Bakery is a block away, but I would ride across the city to get those poppyseed danishes. My grandmother in Winnipeg baked poppyseed bread.

The snaky C on top of the CN Tower in Edmonton is my favourite neon sign. My father was a locomotive engineer with CN. My friend the artist Slavo was inspired by the CN sign. I always look up when I am riding below.

Delwood Park, home to Delwood Hill, the highest point of my childhood unt…

A short post about today's wintry weather in which I pay a small tribute to Eric Jenkins and try out a new word

"I could use a little more green," John said as we pedalled across the 142 St bridge over the MacKinnon Ravine yesterday afternoon.

The comment was different parts description and defiance. Mostly description: it's still pretty brown and leafless out there. The trees and lawns haven't yet gone all in in the spring photosynthesis sweepstakes. Some defiance: The weather forecast was for snow by morning.

The trees and the meteorologists got it white. The brown ground and bare trees have a set of fresh linens today.

The reactions are varied. Some people deliver the neutral facts and emojis.

Others share the surprise that change brings:

Some bemoan and go all first-person singular about it.

Others detect a mythology in which Edmontonians are eternally punished for their puny, chorophyll longings .

Some offer a tentative, questioning resistance to the negativity.

And others are Eric.

Eric is out there.

Eric is out there on his bike in a kind of precious urban chemical rea…

Words that make me stop in my tracks

I stop for words on the street.

Like the day a couple of summers ago on the 103 St bike lane when page 70 from Shaw's Pygmalion lay face up on the asphalt.

I picked up the loose page and, standing over my bike, read the scene where Henry Higgins tells his mother he has picked up a girl.

Mrs. Higgins: Does that mean that some girl has picked you up?
Higgins: Not at all. I don't mean a love affair.
Mrs. Higgins: What a pity!

I remembered how Shelagh shared her love of musicals when we met. Camelot. My Fair Lady. She taught me that West Side Story was Romeo and Juliet.

And the day last summer in the north end when I pedalled across scattered pages from the Book of Psalms.

I stopped and retrieved Psalm 33: The Lord frustrates the purposes of the nations; he keeps them from carrying out their plans.

I smiled. Still in the news that week was criticism of U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions's retreat to St. Paul (not the city) as controversy swirled around his government's p…