Garrison Creek: Pigeon with broken wing, Crawford Street, Toronto, 2016
I saw the pigeon one day when I was walking down Crawford Street in Toronto, a block away from where I was living, along one of the bends in the street that follows the course of the Garrison Creek between Bickford Park and Trinity Bellwoods. The Garrison Creek ravine was once the western boundary of Toronto and it continues to run under the city, a hidden river now incorporated into the sewer system. Though an invisible river, its traces have accumulated and in my two years in Toronto, I imagined its invisible presence on the streets and parks above it. On this February afternoon, I came upon the pigeon struggling to right itself in the middle of the street, flapping its one good wing, pushing itself around the middle of the road in a broad arc. I picked up the bird (I am generally surprised at how light birds are, but this pigeon was not light) and a woman approached at that moment from the other direction. Two children passing by stopped to look at the pigeon as I held it. The woman and I conferred and discussed taking it to a nearby veterinarian, or to an animal shelter. We called the vet who said, I think, that they couldn’t help us, and then we called a number for the city, where, after following a long menu of prompts, we were asked if we wanted them to send someone out, and that it would be several hours. The woman said she would take the pigeon home and keep it in a box in her closet and see if its wing would heal. I handed her the pigeon and only then noticed her painted nails. Before she left I took this picture, pretty quickly; I never saw her again.