Monday, May 21, 2007

Holocaust Memorial, Earl Bales Park

Starting last Friday, I'm taking most of the Fridays of this summer off. I found myself at loose ends that day, so I started thinking of places I might wander. I remembered a little street that heads off into the woods under the Sheppard Avenue bridge over the West Don River near Bathurst Street, so I decided to go back there. Looking at the map, I happened to notice that connected to the paths there is Earl Bales Park, and that there is a Holocaust Memorial there. I was intrigued. Suddenly the day had focus. Off I went.

It's a beautiful memorial, shaped like a wagon wheel with spokes radiating out from a central pillar that, I think, is meant to be evocative of the smoke rising from the death camps. The names of the camps are set in the stones that lead you in. Tree-lined, the outer edge of the memorial is made up of black marble tableaux, upon one set of which are carved the names of the lost, remembered by local Jewish families, and on the other, the names of local Holocaust survivors who have subsequently passed on. Those who survived on the one hand, and those who did not in the other, now joined in memory.

I lingered there about half an hour, taking dozens of photographs in both visible and infrared light. On the way there, I passed an Orthodox Jewish family spending the day in the park. One of the most affecting moments for me was when I looked up at the terrible iconography of the pillar, only to see a beautiful red kite in a bright blue sky high above it. It could only have been from that family. It was the poignant triumph of joy and hope over sorrow and monstrosity; a spiritual phoenix.

In invite you to explore the images at your leisure here.

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