We are suffering through one of the hottest summers in memory. Catherine calls me to say that, although her local pool is supposed to close at 6:00 PM, they are extending the hours to 10:00 PM to help the neighbourhood cope with the heat. She and her son Ben are going to spend the evening there and she asks me if i’d like to join them. I take the TTC from my apartment near Bathurst and St Clair and meet them at Monarch Park.
Catherine, Ben and I live in a house just the other side of the tracks from Monarch Park. It is the dead of winter and Ben and I decide to go tobogganing in the park. There is a hill behind the pool that is only about 20 feet tall but surprisingly steep. Immediately upon reaching the bottom your sled is propelled up a facing incline which aborts your momentum but allows you to end your run with a sharp u-turn. Ben and I take the tunnel under the tracks to reach the park. We keep an eye out for one of our three cats who are always exploring the neighbourhood. Their names are Luna, Beasty and Fuzzball.
There are a dozen dogs playing in the fall leaves on our toboggan hill.
Ben will be 27 years old at the end of the year. He left his PhD at McGill and spent the better part of a year living on a sailboat while sailing from New Brunswick to the Bahamas. He sold the boat in Miami and flew to Vancouver where he bought a bicycle. He then rode the bicycle to Halifax. “67 days, one broken spoke, ten flat tires, and one car crash.”