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Secret Zen Peace Garden

An index finger of industrial rubble jabs five kilometers into Lake Ontario from Toronto's derelict portlands.

Over the decades nature has established herself. Stands of cottonwood poplar shadow fields of wildflowers and weeds. Everywhere vines and leaves poke through a post-apocalyptic crust. Delicate yellow flowers assert themselves in crannies along the crumbling asphalt verge of the dump truck roads.

The Leslie Street Spit has become a major stopover for thousands of migrating flocks. Swans swim in sepia lagoons. Furry brown things scurry into burrows beneath crabapple trees. Hawks soar, hunting the furry things.

Humans, too, seek refuge and renewal by harmonizing with nature's resilience.

For visionaries like Zen gardener, Brian Pace, the Spit was ready for the creation of a peace garden. A Zen inspired garden where children of all ages can playfully construct and destruct with the detritus of old buildings to create a sacred space among the flowering weeds.

bone white driftwood
Buddha gate welcomes

dawn waves break
spraying awake
lone Zen gardener

seven windy holes
in cracked concrete blocks:
Buddha's chakras

lush comfrey plant
the heart chakra
of our garden

a young rabbit
and the gardener
share their path

small boy laughs
when the lost glove
waves for him

fall thistles
transform a hubcap
into the Green Man

two older ladies
share a sunny pew
no walls this Sunday

postscript: the initial Zen garden was torn apart by 'the authorities' shortly after its creation by dozens of enthusiasts. But nature, and mankind, are too strong to not persevere, and the Zen garden is magically renewing itself.

by cricket
(Chris Faiers, November 2009)

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revised 2 Nov 2023