Tuesday, 1 May 2012

On and Off the Road. . .

I was away all last week on a business trip through Alberta, ending up at Jasper to work at a library conference.  We were indoors for most of the trip, but did get some free time one afternoon to take a walk around the lake. It was a perfect sunny spring day and the views were stupendous!

We also saw a lot of wildlife (fortunately, no encounters with bears!) but we did see elk, goats, some very cute chipmunks and a few fearless and hungry deer.

The drive back to Edmonton is definitely not the most scenic, once you leave the mountains behind; it's about four hours of monotonous highway. But I made a wonderful discovery.  Having been prone to car sickness as a child, I've never been able to read in a moving automobile.  However, having tentatively pulled out the needles, I found I could easily knit with no problems at all.  I'll stress here that I was not the person driving.  This made me so happy and definitely made the drive go a lot quicker. As a result, I've made lots of progress on my Flaming June.  Nearly up to the armholes.

I also started a new book on the flight home.  Straphanger: Saving Our Cities And Ourselves from the Automobile by Taras Grescoe is on a topic that is of perennial interest to me.  He takes a worldwide look at how cities are providing innovative alternatives to car commuting and the dangers of cities that continue to ignore the health and economic effects of relying on cars, not to mention the liveability benefits that come from walkable cities that provide safe bicycle and pedestrian areas. There's a chapter entitled "The Toronto Tragedy" that I'm sure will be fairly depressing to read.  I think our transit system works very well for someone like myself who lives mid-town. But for those who live in the outer suburbs, or commuters from the growing cities that surround Toronto, the lack of an efficient and reasonably priced integrated bus, train and subway system is a disgrace for a city our size.  It's inexplicable that we don't yet have a subway that goes directly to the airport, or to York University. At any rate, there can't be too many books out there hammering these very important social and environmental messages home and I wish all the politicians at every level of government would read them.

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