Wednesday, 2 December 2015

Sic transit gloria (write of passage number thirty-eight)

About four years ago, I wrote about a photograph I had snapped of my neighbourhood four years before that. I had thought it was a boring shot and had even attempted to delete it. Years later, I realized it was a record of how the block looked before a catastrophic fire.

So, if you look at the following video, which appeared on my Facebook wall a few months ago, you might not find it that scintillating, but it is an attempt, using Google Street view and 1950s photos, to recreate the streetcar line that used to run in a loop around our neighbourhood. It has interest for me, because it shows the main drag in New Edinburgh and a few snaps later, the corner nearest our house -- only fifty years before we moved there.

This past autumn was a lingering one, and for most of it, I was still making the three-hour round trip to Bells Corners. One of the consolations for this was the Transitway ride along the southern bank of the Ottawa River, and it occurred to me that this is an experience that has probably slipped away forever. Younger daughter is now making the trip home by herself, and, at any rate, is in her last year at her school. Most importantly, Ottawa has embarked on a city-wide conversion of the Transitway to light-rail, and one of the many changes will be a shifting of the western route away from the river.

One October weekday, just after the autumn colours had peaked, I decided to film the bus trip from LaBreton Flats to Lincoln Fields in small segments.

This is the departure from LeBreton Flats.

The land rises up before the bus pulls in to Bayview Station, which has no view of a bay, but the pathways lead down to the O Train that will take you south to Carlton University.

You can't see much for the next couple of stops as the bus hurtles through a man-made canyon - the light rail will probably run through here, but will turn away, I guess, before it reaches the breathtaking entrance of the Parkway with the first glimpse of the Ottawa River.

I will miss this.

And this.

Finally, the last glimpse of the river, deep blue this day with white caps from a strong wind, before the bus veers south to the station at Lincoln Fields.

This experience, ordinary and habitual yet changeable and beautiful, will not come again. Like most things in life, really.

No comments: