Quiet Places on the Waterfront

By Peter Budnick

John MacGregor is a visual artist who is pre-occupied with time. His perception of time involves space, color, texture, motion and even an abstract concept of timelessness.

Acompulsive reader, he devours five to seven books a week, on topics as diverse as “quantum physics” to “religious dogma”.

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Quiet places help John focus on time. One of his favorite quite places, lies on a peninsula of reclaimed land, just west of the Humber River, in Toronto’s west end.

With a friend’s German Sheppard “Sasha” he escapes the stress and turmoil of the city to this serene patch of paradise.

Sasha retrieves countless sticks, hurled by John, into the rolling waves of the bay, until the exhausted Sheppard gives him that telepathic stare signifying “enough!”

In the warm glow of early morning sunshine, this pair of trans-species siblings slowly wanders to the “point” at the westerly limit of the peninsula. As John settles into a wooden bench under the leaves of a shady poplar, Sasha curls up on a patch of soft green grass.

“ I love this place”, says John “I can feel time in this place. My mind becomes clearer, and I can expand it to understand the very essence of life”.

Sasha slumbers in a dog’s world of dreams, with hind leg twitching as if in “hot pursuit” of some zigzagging squirrel. John sucks in a deep breath of fresh lake air and commences the second chapter of Eric Hoffer’s “True Believer”. Too soon, he will have to concern himself with finding lunch. Too soon he will need to return to the world of ticking clocks, his work, his studio and the madness of city life.

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