Closing Time: farewell Blake, it’s time to go

December 14th 2020 would have been Blake’s 86th birthday. He passed Mar. 18, 2018. His real name as many of you knew was Rick Dermont. His sailboat was Gecko. This piece was originally posted in the summer of 2018. You missed so much fun, fella.Tomorrow I go to sign the papers that close the sale of Blake’s house in Toronto’s Cabbage Town. The lawyer’s office is near there on Parliament St., but I think I will not go back to the place itself. I am told that it smells like any closed up house, which is good news because I spent several thousand dollars getting it not to smell like dying dog and master and incontinent cats and hoarder/not housekeeper girl friend.

The only trouble is by signing those papers, I am killing him all over again. Prostate cancer took him out, long, slow and painful, but there have been steps along the way that made him deader. The day the house was finally emptied of all the detritus of twenty years of living and never throwing anything away or cleaning anything for that matter. The day we got the unconditional offer for the asking price. The day that I could no longer feel him there beyond the veil. He had walked away. Gone on to higher education. Oblivious to the weeks of juggling figures, filing late tax returns, paying utility bills, house insurance, all that day-to-day stuff that I still had to do.

For years, when I glimpsed the blue of Lake Ontario from my 14-floor window, I thought Blake’s lake, Sirocco is down there waiting him to climb on board, his house is down there. Now it is not Blake’s lake.

Blake was my great love. Explaining that is like explaining sex to a child, impossible.The only one who expressed it was Leonard Cohen in Hallelujujah.

Blake betrayed me. The only one who apologized was Leonard Cohen. I understood from him that Blake had tried in his way to be free.

Blake knew though what Cohen had said about “children waiting to be born.”, although he wouldn’t have put it in those words. Apparently, he and I had a contract to produce and nurture two children, He fulfilled it.¬† They are greater than we ever imagined

Why he forsook us for those who seemed to care less for him than we did, we can only surmise. It was his life.

He left me a dragon’s trail of slime. Little by little his son and his step-daughter and my sister and my niece have helped me clear the material dross, and I have wrestled the numbers into some semblance of order. Our daughter lent me courage from afar.

I know you’re busy, Blake, learning some advanced other worldly physics, but, just saying, I miss you, Love.

Lost Gardens

rosesHalf a century ago, it was still possible to amble across a hayfield on the hill where I was born and come upon the stone-walled cellar hole of a house that had been burned down or had been abandoned and had fallen in. Always you found these simple roses growing there. The cellar holes are still there but the woods has taken over the fields now, and roses do not grow in shade.

But I have found other lost gardens.

path thro woodsI go through the woods in the park half a block from my home and wend my way up to what I call the ridge trail.

sunny old roadIt must be an abandoned road that the parks people mow. I know that at one point before the place became a municipal park, it was a golf course. I have literally stumbled over the water pipes that watered the greens, But this road seems to go even further back than that. In the early spring, I would pass lilac bushes in bloom at intervals, which suggest that once there were houses dotted along it. One late spirea is still hanging on.


There hardly seems to be enough room at the edge of the road for substantial buildings. The land falls steeply off on both sides. I wonder if these were summer cottages. They would have been near the mouth of the river and in walking distance of Lake Ontario. Then I note that people have planted rhubarb.

rhubarbAnd there are honey locusts that were covered in white flowers last week.

locustsThey are young trees, so they are puzzling. Locusts are not native to these parts, but we planted one in the yard of that house under the hill I talked about in my post on Gatsby. ( And I see very tall ones on Davenport Rd, maybe 70 ft. high. Perhaps they are evidence of the golf course, but it has been gone for 50 years, in which case they would be taller. They must have self-seeded as most of the woods did once it was let to grow.

old roadwith pinesEventually, the trail leads to a small stand of pine trees and just past them a monument to the early European explorers, including Etienne Brulé, who was the first of them to sight the big lake. Then it is down a steep hill to the river, a story for another day.

river w. rushes