This child and these women are someone’s ancestors and dead as the driven snow. They pose somewhere in Toronto, I imagine, likely still inhabited by their descendants.
Descendants who pounded through the snows on the same city streets today as I write with a window onto this tiresome white assault. I am seated in an east-end cafe called Crema dreading stepping back into -20 blasting air but confident in my stunningly expensive Canada Goose parka.
Now back to the posers-of-old.
I found this photograph of anonymous Canadians while researching at the Ontario Archives a few weeks ago. It was plastered onto the walls along with dozens of other anonymous Canadians.
It got me thinking about my own anonymity generally but specifically today while disguised in tights, wool socks, Hudson’s Bay scarf, balaclava, mitts and a fur-trimmed ankle-length down coat. Tromping through the snow not pausing to pose for anyone’s camera.
I think perhaps the subjects are matriarch, daughters, and granddaugher. I imagine the picture was taken by the child’s father in High Park, a place I am familiar with, and have often wondered–in all seasons, really–about the lost generations who believed it to be their park, just as those of us who walk along Grenadier Pond or through the woods today believe it to be ours.
“You must be cold standing still like that,” (I pretend to say).
“No, we are from the Ural mountains,” ( I pretend the child answers).
I watch as her mother snugs the mitten back onto her hand.
Then I walk away returning to now.