Thursday, March 15, 2012
Back in 2007 or 8, I discovered a wonderful place for women in Toronto: a sort of spa, but it's focus was “the waters”. Nothing that you wouldn't find at many a health club: a warm, salt water pool, a eucalyptus steam room, a sauna, an ice-cold dipping basin/pool, and a matching-sized one of warm “tea” waters. One is advised to use all of them in a rotating pattern. Lovely, but the big draw for me was the warm milk/ginger/honey scrub and body treatment. I tried it back then, and have been addicted ever since.
But I am a starving and self-promoting independent musician, and therefore I can indulge in this addiction only once every fifteen months (!) or so. Not exactly heroin, but like all other infrequent pleasures – more appreciated.
Yesterday was visit number three, happily coinciding with a sunny day of unexpected, and deliciously warm temperatures. After my treatment, I decided to walk from Adelaide to Bloor – a healthy walk in Toronto – but to protect my delicate, relaxed state, I took the back streets, enjoying a nostalgic and at times, wistful wander through neighbourhoods in which I once lived.
At Richmond and Queen, I passed the houses where I had one of my first jobs after my son was born. Then I walked near Queen and Bathurst, a few blocks away from where I lived with my boyfriend of the time, and my then-teenaged son. My beau had done over a small old industrial building (actually, the first Coca Cola plant in Ontario, with stables and livery), and we had an apartment there. Up into Kensington Market, and back in time; my son just starting grade school, and us living on a barely-known cul de sac in the middle of all the shops, stalls, restaurants and cafes of the old area. We could run out in the middle of dinner for anything we wanted to add to our feast. I crossed College Street and looked west to my beloved Havelock Street, remembering all the times I spent with a lover there, the roses and pear tree in my backyard, and I continued north past the period houses on tree-lined streets that I used to bike through on my way from Parkdale (my co-op housing experience), to the downtown of Toronto, for music lessons, films, or art events. Finally up to Bloor and the subway, the corner where a good friend has lived since we first met more than thirty years ago, and where I did my massage therapy studies.
All the memories pulled at me, the past gilded by sunshine and the pleasure of seeing the colourful parade of people and life. What the hell am I doing, I thought, living so far away from this central core that I love so much? And I miss my son; the years of being a young mother; our years, exploring and discovering so much in the city. I wanted it all back – my little boy, and me, on our bikes, growing together, I didn't want to be dragging myself and the dead weight of too many winter clothes out to the east end, where I no longer have the structure of any role, or any job other than what I create. Where was the simplicity of those unformed times?. “Que reste-t-il?”, as the song I often sing says. What happened to my past?
No answers; so as always, I just kept going: got on the subway, took the long ride, then got to my little abode, sitting in the sunshine which was warming the small wood deck beside the front door. I lay down there, and absorbed more sun, drifting back to “the waters”. It occurred to me that none of my 'growing' homes ever had a quiet little sunny spot like that. And as I floated back to the serenity of my present, I decided I'm OK. Anyway, you can't hold onto time, can you? Nope. You can't.
We're jes' passin' through.
Meanwhile, getting back to my actual active life as a scintillating singing star: just finished a wild weekend of playing Friday, Saturday, and Sunday. Two out of the three had sound systems that sucked; luckily on Sunday we had our own equipment. Great life if you don't weaken. But seriously, it was fun. Here we are: my name in lights and on stage (looking a little scared, what?) with the great band I get to perform with.