Welcome especially to those of you who visited this website at its previous address. This new location gives me more room to expand. I hope you don't mind the ad banner (simply scroll down to hide it). By the way, this site is one of the longest running natural environment homepages on the Net, having been around for about fifteen years.
I live in the Humber River Valley, near Cold Creek (a tributary of the Humber). The title of this website refers to an ancient Indian trail which runs through this part of the valley. Since prehistoric times, this portage trail has been used by Native People and, later, by voyageurs to avoid the rapids on this section of the river.
My house is surrounded by fields, forests and wetlands. I am sharing this land for awhile with its wild inhabitants. For example, whitetailed deer regularly visit my front 'yard' to browse on the plentiful foliage: a scene little-changed from centuries past. Similarly in the forest beside the house, trees well into the second century of their lives continue to thrive.
Yet despite these reassuring remnants of aboriginal nature, the urban expanse of Toronto is close. I feel its proximity. The sound of traffic on nearby highways rarely diminishes, and a constant stream of aircraft plie the sky as they arrive or depart from Pearson Airport. The city is hungry for land. On the tablelands above the valley, development is encroaching. All history - 'natural' and human - is being stripped away to allow the shiny new face of 'progress' to flourish.
This place inspires one to pay attention to the presence of nature as it exists today on the edge of a huge city. And a razor's edge it is, balanced between continuity and thoughtless destruction. I have found joy and sadness in my years here.
By updating these pages with Issues & Commentary relating to the environment (page 2), real-time Observations of nature (page 3), Personal Voice: poetry, stories and pictures (page 4), Astronomy (page 5), External Humber Links (page 6), I hope to share and communicate to you something of the challenges and the natural stillness of this place.
Updated: April, 2010.
Rouge River Valley
all pages of the HUMBER PORTAGE designed and created by James E Garratt using Notepad.