Following the Yellow Brick Road

Park path in Beach area of Toronto, right off busy Queen Street

Something about pathways through woods, parks and deep-dark forests has always been compelling to me. Did it start with watching The Wizard of Oz? A journey through strange places amongst strange people where you can’t get lost, because you have a surefire path to follow. There’s safety amongst the strangeness.

It is what has always appealed to me about nature trails, even the lamest ones at a kid’s park or petting zoo. See a sign for the nature trail, and I’m the first one on it, dragging various adults and children with me.

Petticoat Creek Park in the Scarborough bluffs area has a wonderful path along the cliff. A stopping ground for monarch butterflies in the fall because of the asters and goldenrod.
Forested area along the cliff path at Petticoat Creek. A few steps to the left would have you crashing over the cliff to the lake below.

The first step onto the path has always felt magical to me: the beginning of an adventure. The path may turn up ahead, leading you into the unknown, but you won’t get lost. You stay on the path. The adventure unfolds, through the twists and turns, but it’s safe. Idiot-proof, you could say, if you were being hard on yourself.

Many public gardens and parks also have this aspect, the path, preferably curving, leading you through. I think that’s one reason why I love garden tours, garden walks, because I get to exercise my “path fetish’.

Even certain sidewalks in our city neighbourhood get a yellow brick road effect when people plant on both sides of the sidewalk, the way many are doing now. A garden path I’m happy to be led down.

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