Lifeguard station at Cherry Beach in Toronto, Canada.
Cherry Beach in Toronto, Ontario is my go-to beach for it’s laid back atmosphere. It’s my favourite place to sit by the lake and take some time out. It is much less crowded than the other Toronto beaches.
There are toilet facilities, a food truck and an off-leash dog park. You’ll often see kite boarders, kayakers, stand up paddle boarders and wind surfers. There are barbeque facilities as well, just bring the charcoal.
One of my favourite drives into the city and spot to view the CN Tower. Also, a partial view of the Rogers Centre (white roof). It was formerly named Skydome, I think I’ll always think of it as that. The Rogers Centre is home to the Toronto Blue Jays baseball team and until last year, the Toronto Argonauts football team. It was opened in 1989 and has a fully retractable roof and hotel attached to it with many rooms overlooking the field.
I observe a man in a saffron robe. He is tall, his head bald and he is smiling. Ten others have suddenly joined him on the street; he stands above them as a shepherd tending to his flock. I hear the sound of a drum and shaking of the tambourine and then, “Hare Krishna Hare Hare Hare ”. The song trails off as they chant walking down the street.
Continuing my walk on Kensington Avenue where the streets are narrow and sidewalks wide, I come to a wall with graffiti and the words “One Heart”. As I take a photo of it, a faint scent of soap, fresh after a shower, wafts towards me. The sign above the entrance of the store reads Tribal Eye. I see a table full of incense in front of their window and then wander in. There’s a Djembe in the corner. Walking over to it, I feel tempted to play it.
“Do you play?” he asks.
“I’m learning” I answer enthusiastically. “I took 2 lessons in Senegal and bought a Djembe in South Africa.”
Suddenly, alternating soft and hard slaps on the drum sound out, the owner is now playing the African drum and I am the only audience. Enjoying this moment, I wonder if he took lessons too.
“Where did you learn?”
“I’m African, we’re born with it.”
He grins as he walks over to his laptop; I follow behind to continue the conversation. A rhythmic drumbeat begins to play over the speakers; he starts dancing behind the counter. As I am looking at the products on the counter, I feel myself dancing too. I find it hard not to move to this music.
“Did you see the Tree of Life on your trip? How did you like it?”
“Oh, the Baobab trees are beautiful and I even slept in one in Senegal.”
“You like to live life!”
“Yes, I do!”
He looks at me and starts singing: “If you know what life is worth, you will look for yours on earth, and now you see the light: stand up for your rights.
“I love Bob Marley.”
He smiles. It is 25 minutes after I walked in and I remember why I went in. I pick out some incense, look at the “One Heart” jewellery and buy some African Shea butter. I thank him, but what I am most thankful for is his time and openness.
“Thank you my sister.”
I smile and as I walk out, I’m reminded that we are all one; one heart. I am even more inspired to continue to live with an open heart by being open to conversation with people I meet as I wander locally and around the world.
The Krishnas just passed by singing. Just another day in Kensington Market that us Torontonians simply know as Kensington.
You never know where inspiration is going to come from and you don’t have to travel to find it. It is right here, every day if you live with an open heart. Thanks to Anthony for the reminder and another lesson in the Ubuntu philosophy. Ubuntu, is the Xhosa word I learned while in South Africa that simply means “I am what I am because of who we all are” and speaks of interconnectedness.