How I spend my Tuesday Evenings

May 29th, 2019Posted by Nancy

Since I retired (mostly) last year, I’ve been trying to find something charitable or community-related to do. This has been hampered by a number of things: the fact that I’m not good at all that much, the fact that the potentially useful things I’m ok at are not things I want to spend my time doing (any more than I already do them), the fact that I’m an introvert who is not terribly good with people. So visiting older people or teaching ESL at libraries is not really in the cards for me. 

Then I discovered the Community Stewardship Program here in Toronto and signed up to spend my Tuesday evenings working in the Don Valley ravine that runs down the middle of the city.  I can walk over to the site, which is a bonus.  Then I spend two hours digging garlic mustard and other invasive plants (we haven’t started on the dog-strangling vines yet but I can see the evil things growing), planting native species, counting may-apples, and whatever else our group leader assigns.  I’ve also backed into some stinging nettle, but that wasn’t an assigned duty.

We’ve seen an abandoned beaver pond, woodpeckers, orioles, toads, and a snake.  Plus numerous cyclists, dog walkers, and Go trains. I spent one glorious evening sitting on the bank of a pond, pulling garlic mustard as the sun sank slowly on the other side of the ravine, and discovering that the white flower up to my left was a trillium.

I’ve definitely enjoyed my experience so far, though I am well aware that bug season is just around the corner and what is quite pleasant now might be brutal in the August heat.  My back hurts sometimes from crouching down to pull weeds and I’m very grateful that, while we’ve had an inordinately rainy spring, so far it’s been dry on Tuesday nights.  Work is only cancelled if there’s a thunderstorm.

Could I do more to make the world a better place?  I’m pretty sure I could – though we continue to give money to various causes, which may be more useful than my dubious help.  Still, when someone asks me what I did in the dog-strangling vine wars, I will at least be able to hold my head high and say “I did my part”.

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