Sunday, February 18, 2024

Community Arboretum, Time To Turn Around

The Community Arboretum is definitely covered under a much thicker blanket of snow now. During the summer a few walkers and bikers would shout a friendly hello at me. During the winter I have seen no one yet. However, it would be a total understatement to say ‘no one in the winter‘ because based on the amount of footprints I have seen, our local Aurora Community Arboretum is darn well attended.

A couple of weeks ago during a beautiful sunny yet cold winter day I admired the beautiful open fields of the Aurora Community Arboretum. They were covered by a thick blanket of snow. Ponds frozen, some with hockey nets left behind. I walked carefully up and down the trail. The dangerous ice patches under the sheet of snow almost purposefully were waiting for me to slip. A vast number of footprints right below me were showing signs of Aurora Community Arboretum’s high attendance.


Most of the time winter dominates in whites and many shades of gray. That day in the Aurora Community Arboretum I found blues, greens, browns, reds and millions of other shades. The blue skies, the green evergreen trees, the brown pine cones, a light brown grass and red berries were accenting against the white snow.

“Even in winter an isolated patch of snow has a special quality.”
~ Andy Goldsworthy

Our Aurora Community Arboretum in the summer is so rich and dense with green vegetation that often gives me the illusion of being isolated far from an urban area. That is not the case in the winter. The Joint Operation Construction site is fully exposed. The white crane reveals the location no matter where I am in the Arboretum. That day I came in through the Optimist Park playground near Birkshire Drive. At that point I always get a full view of the construction site.


Industrial Parkway and the Leash Free Dog Park is very much exposed. There is no more mystery where the dog barking echoes from. Aurora Family Leisure Complex (AFLC) can be seen as well. The high density condominiums on John West Way are also landmarks now. The illusion of being alone in the middle of nowhere is not the case in the winter.


However, wandering around in the winter I discovered other beautiful hidden treasures that cannot be easily seen during the summer. The trees – some twisted like pretzels, some curved in a weird way and some will keep an eye on you. And then there are the birds flirting among the branches after a tasty berry breakfast perhaps.

And then there are the unusual things I often find. I found intriguing love letters, empty beer bottles and plastic garbage floating in the stream under the old tree I often visit. But that day, a pair of underpants nailed to the tree were a mystery to me.


I ventured farther than I wanted to that day. I found a beautiful Merlin resting and bathing in the sun high up on the old tree. I wanted to go even farther but not until I suddenly smelled a skunk in the proximity. In the open field I could not see. He was hiding somewhere. I didn’t see. The unknown scared me. Perhaps, I entered the skunk’s territory. Perhaps that was just his after breakfast relief. I did not want any trouble that day so I turned around and zoomed out the Aurora Community Arboretum at a much faster rate.

Anna Lozyk Romeo
Aurora, ON


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