Sunday, November 11, 2012

Walking The Perimeter

Dreams are big. So big that they seem intangible; impossible to reach and so expansive that they cross past our periphery and beyond the perimeters of our comfort zone. It is easy to let our dreams live on without us. It is easy to set goals so far into the future that our subconscious is satiated with the knowledge that there is a better chance of our dreams meeting us at the door than of us having to get out of our lazy-boys and work for them.
I have a big dream. It lies on the other side of the ocean. It will take a lot of research, planning and work to get there but the groundwork has been laid; part of which is to share my dream through this blog. My dream involves a long walk through unfamiliar territory in an effort to get to know myself better. This blog is my attempt to get off my couch and get moving in the direction of my dream. My first step? Literally out my front door.

My first steps take me out onto my street.

Walk out your front door and what do you see? Does your view encompass any of your dreams? Does what you see satisfy you or do you look around and think that maybe there is something more to life. Maybe your neighbour's grass is greener. Maybe you see a river or lake in the distance and it reminds you that you were going to one day buy a kayak or learn to scuba dive.
What we see can tell us a lot about ourselves. I dream big every day. So big that my neighbourhood is but a speck in my scope of the world and all that it has to offer. With that in mind I decided to walk the perimeter of my neighbourhood. I thought maybe I would come to understand something more about my life if I could map out my environment.
My neighbourhood is bound by four major throughway's that criss cross the city. I decided to start on Sir John A. Macdonald Blvd and walk north towards the 401 highway. This piece of land just beyond my cozy little suburb is industrial and exemplifies the nature of urban sprawl. The roads are being widened and there is construction everywhere.

Me and Dominoe just beyond the perimeter of the neighbourhood

 After half a kilometer I reach John Counter Blvd. which leads me west towards the marshes and the train station. Looking north the view is barren peppered with small industrial business and a gas station. Looking south I see a fence that guards the backyards against the unknown. And traffic.

I keep walking. The day is unseasonably warm. The trees are bare and the fallen leaves are turning from red and orange to a dull brown and grey. The sky is a brilliant colour that does not match the mood of this landscape.Walking this route is surreal and lonely on this quiet Sunday morning.

One of the fences along the perimeter.

The western view is lonely despite being in the heart of the city.
The road is bound by marshland and a freight train rumbles across in the distance.
I have now walked two kilometers and I turn south to walk through a park at the corner of  John Counter Blvd. and Portsmouth Rd. Finally I see some green space. A wide expanse of soccer fields and playgrounds ringed by solid little brick bungalows.

Park land.
I walk a kilometer of Portsmouth passing homes, a bicycle shop and a popular local restaurant until I reach Princess St. The foot of this street begins lakeside and stretches out past the west end of Kingston. It is the magnet which draws in crowds for parades and downtown shopping and it is the finger that reaches out to the sprawling suburbs and big box malls. The one kilometer stretch that runs parallell to my neighbourhood houses everything from a denture clinic to a convent, insurance offices, stationary stores, pet shops and hotels.

The sun's rays shine upon the Sisters of Providence Convent.

A bus stop in the foreground and businesses in the distance.
 My neighbourhood is small but there is a lot to take in. I stop every few minutes to snap pictures or to jot down notes and I wonder how will I possibly traverse the northern tip of Spain in the space of a month. It takes me one hour to walk four kilometers at this rate. I am moving slowly and the usual meditations that accompany a pedestrian are absent. These are logistics I will have to consider while training for my pilgrimage.
I turn back on to Avenue Rd. which runs parallel to Sir John. A. and takes me into my neighbourhood.

A quiet street.
 I realize with awe that my little neighbourhood leaves me wanting for nothing. Or does it?
I can buy my groceries and gas, serve the lord or be served a Japanese dinner. I can have my hair done, rent a movie, redecorate my bedroom and rent a car. All of these things and more within a one kilometer radius of my home. The thought also frightens me. It is apparent to me that most of us fall into a comfort zone within this little perimeter of our lives. Looking out past the boundaries it is clear that the city is big. The province is bigger. The country is huge and the world is a wonderous market of strange delights and epic adventures.
What have I learned about myself?
I need to take a longer walk. It is my dream. I stepped out past my porch and I am going to keep on going.
Who is with me?!

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