Signs of spring and a poem

17th April: The signs of spring are everywhere now. I took the photos below about 10 days ago. This is one of the earliest flowers to appear:

Cedarvale april 2017 005

It is coltsfoot (tussilago farfara) underneath the Bathurst St bridge. It is part of the aster family, as is the dandelion, and is non-native. Its common name refers to the supposed resemblance of its leaf to a colt’s foot. Thetussis” of its Latin name means “cough” and refers to the plant’s reputation as a cure for coughs.

I am waiting for my favourite spring ephemeral: the trout lily. Many tree buds are appearing; I am not sure what this pink one is:

Cedarvale april 2017 003

The red of dogwood red osier is apparent everywhere, and the willows are starting to show their green:

Cedarvale april 2017 004

My wife has contributed this poem for the blog:

City Manners

Cedarvale Ravine

Somewhere between sidewalk above

ravine pathway below

lies a curious boundary

where city selves are shed.


Filtering green, narrowing path–

the first steps remain city

blank faces, avoidant eyes,

about half way down valley slope

trees spread out their shade,

and eyes meet, a smile,

a muttered “hi”.

Still further down

conversations with strangers,

about dogs, red-winged blackbirds,

circling hawks,

the old guy picking up garbage.


The sheltering ravine

makes villagers of us all.

                 Ilene Cummings

John Cummings