Had another great exploration day with my dear friend Nada the other day. Started off very rainy – didn’t look promising, but we soon ran into a street festival, (youth day, for which they blocked-off a chunk of Yonge) live music, some really fantastic art, and even a couple of isolated and interesting urban gardens. None of which surprised us in the least. Whenever we look – we always find free magic!

I fear I write too often about the frightful side of things – and while these matters do insist upon attention, the simple things we can all do to nourish our hearts and build our strength are also very important to talk about.

I don’t know of anything better or more directly restorative than a great walk with a friend – and I count myself lucky indeed to have found such a perfect chum for adventures.

Not only does Nada walk as fast as I do (very rare) she shares my universal curiosity about pretty much everything on earth, and she’s also an excellent photographer, who singlehandedly reignited my own excitement about the medium, after decades dormant (since analog days last century, really).

Which means that now, all of a sudden – this model needs a model!

She gets the shot

One of the many excellent photographic habits that Nada regularly demonstrates and reminds me of, is that she always checks her results – my eyes are so bad now that I have given-up this very sensible step (fiddling with readers that then make the veiwfinder blurry, really takes you out of the zone), and instead rely solely upon luck and coverage (more luck, really).

But she is absolutely right – you can’t know you’ve got it, unless you check.
(And that one, she most definitely got!)

The artist in action

She is also extremely patient when she sees a perfect set-up, and works very hard to get the exposure and framing just the way she wants them, to maximize the capture. Whereas I am more of a poaching opportunist! (Though in this case, I got real lucky).

When the situational offering is perfect, one great way to respect it, is by being a perfectionist!

Patience really does count.  (Even for the poaching opportunist, all lined-up, camera dropped to set everyone at ease, and waiting for the ideal instant to pounce!)

Wedding Crasher

She’s also highly playful – when we saw this door, she just knew a portrait framed this way would look cool, and so snuck inside while I got ready with my camera.

When she emerged, she was laughing, “There was a wedding in there!”

Another great point – you’ve got to do what you have to, to make the shot – absolutely right!

Gotta catch ’em all

You don’t have to be a teenager, or into the animated TV series, to have plenty of fun catching all of the various poke-critters that were overlaid on top of reality awhile ago.

But as a coding genuis with friends around the world, Nada was into cutting edge distributed gaming with a much less cutesy front-end years before that – and with her wide and interesting travelling, she managed to get some very impressive geo-location scores!

Not so solemn sentry

When you find yourself in a great historical setting (in this case, a Fort York sentry box) – you just have to get up and give it a try.

Some presented frames are very close to irresistible!

Mind you – good sentries are supposed to be frowny-faced! ;o)

Once a bass player – always a bass player

Likewise with the irresistibility of some stages – in this case the lovely old Art Deco CNE bandshell.

I share Nada’s great love of the bass – but just from this stance she took to play air-bass alone, I am willing to bet that she played far more raucous gigs than I ever did! (Then again, in my defence, it was kind of hard to be properly fierce, standing behind a clunky old synthesizer).

Nada and Claude

Sometimes the weather is lousy – really doesn’t want us to enjoy our walk – no problem, there is always something on at a gallery someplace, if you look around. Those Monets certainly aren’t going to admire themselves, after all

And anyhow, a nice cry can be very healthy (me, not Nada) – especially when you’re crying over indescribable beauty.

(See Monet’s Haystacks – and Robert Bly’s extraordinary poem about them, if you think I’m being silly)  ;o)

Walking across the universe

Nor does the art need to be enclosed or renowned, to be lots of fun to visit and enjoy.

We stumble across all sorts of interesting art around the city – and while the spray-paint crew has gained some fair notoriety of late, I think the chalk artists ought also to be appreciated – especially for their level of cheerful and absolute commitment to impermanence – a very unusual and nuanced artistic position.

Bike-face grin

As I’ve mentioned before, I’m not a vehicularist myself. As a technician, I do have great admiration for the encyclopedia of cumulative engineering they represent – I am even outright fond of some vehicles (particularly vintage aeroplanes), but I’m happiest when on-foot.

Nada however, derives rare and special pleasure from her bike – and her extraordinary delight (even blurred, sorry) is also a delight for me!

It always reminds me of the smile I get on my face, when I get on a cool fan-flight, every now and then. (known in the trade as Plane-face).

Your friend doesn’t have to be into all of the same stuff you are – just the same spirit!

See-saw smile

We don’t require any powered gear to have fun, though – in this case we decided to investigate a brand new teeter-totter in one of those very nifty recycled-rubber ‘soft playgrounds’ that keep popping up in tiny spaces, making them super fun.

The thing was absolutely great – not only did it lift us to a nice satisfying height on a very smooth bearing and mount, it also had buried tires on each end, for excellent super-soft shock-absorption! (and no sand in the back of your shoes – huzzah!)

What I said about the value of a healing cry every now and then, goes double (at least) for a genuine irrepressible giggle of delight!

What does this button do? – We will find out!

This is one of the first good pictures I ever got of Nada – and it may always be my most like her. The finest lesson that she reminds me of, every time we go adventuring together, is that there really is always more possibility than we have yet seen – we only have to go out and look for it – and now and then, try pushing a strange button, just to see what happens!

There have always been very bad things in the world – and wonderful things also. It’s important to give ourselves the chance to find new fun, curiosity and bafflement, so we remember that we don’t know – which proves, even on our most dispirited and cynical days – that our picture is very far from comprehensive!

Walking with a friend. Learning, making art. Sharing the richness of life.

Feeds my mind and lifts my heart, every time. Thank you, my friend!

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