Skywriting Revisited

Fall is definitely happening now. The temperatures go down to single digits at night and get up to the low teens during the day. Today is a typical October day. There are clouds in the sky, the leaves are beautifully coloured but being blown off the branches by a stiff breeze. Occasionally rain comes but fortunately it’s only a slight mist, not enough to make me chilled. I am doing a project and it will take several hours to do.

I zoom down the major road outside our apartment, given an extra push by a wind pushing at my back. With very little effort I’m keeping up with the car traffic. I’m careful not to pat myself on the back for the speed because I know what will happen. And a kilometre or so later there it is. I turn and am facing the wind. Now it’s as if an invisible hand is pushing me backward. Clouds, rain, and wind, par for the course for fall.

I’m not bothered and am having fun. I’ve got a very specific and complicated route plotted out. To make it easier to follow I’ve attached my GPS watch to my handlebars so I can look down and see where I need to turn.

Dark coloured lines show the way I need to go, lighter ones are paths I will take later. There will be some doubling back today.

Up and down, back and forth I go through the neighbourhood of East York. With all of this doubling back and twists and turns I’m seeing streets, parks and schools I’ve never seen in the sixteen years I’ve lived here.

It is Thanksgiving in Canada so even if there weren’t a pandemic, many families would be inside spending time together. This is a bonus for me as this means the roads are quiet.

The colours really are peaking – dazzling even on a grey day.

In some places my route takes me up a hill, only to have to go back down again right after. In other places I go west for a few hundred metres, then back again. If anyone is watching they must think I’m completely lost.

My route takes me closer to downtown Toronto – just across the river.

At my southernmost point I see that the Chinatown East neighbourhood of Toronto has some nice new murals. They’re quite lovely and make me dream of traveling again someday.

Finally, a little over 35 kilometres after I start, I reach my destination. And I’ll tell you the secret of my project. Sage turned 48 today and so what better way to send her birthday wishes than to make a neighbourhood-sized card by tracking my route via GPS and spelling out a birthday message as I rode. I have so much more respect for skywriters now. It’s not easy!

“Happy 48th Sage!”

9 thoughts on “Skywriting Revisited

  1. Lovely fall colours. Wo wouldn’t want to go out when such colours are splashed all around, so what it’s Thanksgiving, even better actually, as you mention. The Taj Mahal graffiti made me smile.
    And, very warm birthday wishes from me to Sage!

    1. It really is one of the prettiest times of the year here. Do the leaves change colour in Shillong? I’m sorry – I don’t know much about the climate and plants there.

      There was something bittersweet about seeing all of the travel-related graffiti and especially the Taj Mahal. It was nice to see but it also made it all seem so far away in space and time. A year ago getting on a plane to India seemed like a quick jaunt only limited by the airfare. Now going beyond 50 km from home seems unimaginable.

  2. What a lovely Idea and I love the street Art, It has been a long time since I visited Toronto but on my list Post Covid.

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