City Trails and Cemeteries
Mount Pleasant Cemetery, Toronto
Along the ravine I met a young Caucasian male who was running. He offered his pranams (hand gesture) of respect. I didn’t recognize him, “Swamiji, Namaste.” He was gone.
Another man, an artist, on his way to the ponds at the old brick factory offered his pranams. He was white. We got talking.
“This was my training field – this ravine – for doing the cross country trekking, or pilgrimage,” I mentioned.
“Yes, I’ve seen you here before,” he remarked.
Minutes passed by and in the same ravine another very ‘western’ person, a woman, offered her ‘Namaste’ and pranams. It seems the west is becoming more east and vice versa. This is not the first time.
I followed through the ravine route which took me through Mount Pleasant Cemetery. It’s a beautifully maintained space. I passed by Glenn Gould’s grave stone, a crude stone in the shape of a piano. I also spotted a young man who sat next to a stone, transfixed, meditating on a deceased loved one. Some oriental folks were cleaning around a polished tomb stone, an act of love no doubt. And a Jewish man walked slowly about as if in prayer.
I like cemeteries. They have helped me in the past, especially those old graveyards found along the old highways. Along Highway 3 I would take naps in a quiet corner in those sacred places. They were the best sleeping sessions of all because the older cemeteries are visited infrequently.
After Mount Pleasant, you come upon the Belt Line, a well shaded direct trail and then loop around via Cedarbrae Park. I’m getting to know all fruit bearing trees along the way in addition to the wild grape vines. Of course, I take samples. The trek had truly shaped up to be a pilgrimage because that’s what pilgrims do. They walk and meet people that come by and depend on the kindness of others and what nature may provide for nourishment.
After a weekend on wheels I needed these four hours to get grounded again. It’s easy to be a city pilgrim and I recommend more people to explore their city trails of pilgrimage. Do include those cemeteries.