Sir Elm and Lady Slipper

Let me introduce you to Sir Elm and Lady Slipper. They are located in Pickering, Ontario. On a good day Pickering is about a 45 minute drive East of Toronto.

Sir Elm is found on an asphalt walking trail in Beverley Morgan Park. The trail meanders from the north end of Liverpool Rd east to Valley Farm Road.

The entrance to the trail is where the hydro wires cross Liverpool Rd. In the distance at the very beginning of the trail you will see Sir Elm standing in silent splendor.

It is more of an effort to visit Lady Slipper. She is found on an ungroomed path in the forest of Valley Farm Ravine. From the Jesuit Infirmary I have easy access to the ravine. Lady Slipper enjoys her own space and only her closest friends know her location. I am privileged to be one of her friends!

Why am I so fascinated by Sir Elm and Lady Slipper? It turns out that they are signature memories of my childhood in the country village of Tilley in northwestern New Brunswick (igNation blog, June 27, 2015).

As you can see from the photos, Sir Elm is an elm tree and Lady Slipper is a pink wildflower.

On the same side of the gravel road leading to my dad’s ferryboat where 2 majestic elm trees. I loved those trees and in my memory I love them still.

In winter they were no less beautiful for they had become tree sculptures! I remember on one occasion when I and a Jesuit friend were passing by Sir Elm I said to him, “If I were an elm tree that would be the tree I would marry!”

The Lady Slipper has its own story. My dad was a great gardener. One of his gardens bordered onto a forest. It was just a short walk into the forest and there was a patch of golden lady slippers. What a feast for the eyes!

There could be wildflowers as beautiful but never more beautiful. They are nature’s orchids. What a treasure and if you found them  you would keep their location a big secret.

It came as a great surprise when I discovered the pink lady slipper in the Valley Farm Ravine. In mid June I was walking on a path near the West Duffins Creek. There was tall grass growing on either side of the path. In the midst of the grass I spotted what looked like a flowering plant.

Needless to say it peeked my curiosity. I walked outside the path, parted the grass with my hands and low and behold was the bloom of a single pink lady slipper. Overjoyed!!! I had not seen a lady slipper since I was with my dad when I was nine years old. A signature memory? YES. Thank you God. Indeed, how great Thou art!

I hope I have given you a share in my joy and excitement in meeting Sir Elm and Lady Slipper. May your walks in nature be equally surprising and rewarding.


Photos courtesy of Paul Baker, SJ

Paul Baker, SJ, is a Jesuit Brother in the ministry of prayer at Rene Goupil House in Pickering, Ontario.

  • Charles Pottie-Pâté sj
    Posted at 01:37h, 18 October Reply

    Paul, just a beautiful reflection on these two wonders of creation. Thank you for reminding us …..How great God is!

  • Joan Levy Earle
    Posted at 06:42h, 18 October Reply

    A simple but eloquent reminder of the beauty of God’s creation. Lovely way to start the day by reading this! Thanks Paul.

  • Peter Bisson, SJ
    Posted at 15:11h, 18 October Reply

    Thank you Paul!

  • Bernard Carroll, SJ
    Posted at 13:14h, 21 October Reply

    What a lovely description of the wonder and beauty of creation and of your rejoicing in it. I rejoice along with you. Thank you Paul.

  • Frank Baker
    Posted at 18:07h, 24 October Reply

    Nicely written Uncle Paul. It reminds me of home being New Brunswick.

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