The Canticle of High Park

We give thanks to the Creator
Who fashioned this haven
Now so busy yet so hospitable
amid our second-order creations
of steel, glass and concrete.

We give thanks for the generosity
and foresight that conserved this treasure.
Yet we acknowledge that we are enjoying
ourselves on land appropriated in bad faith,
that early settlers ignored and negotiated boundaries;
that authorities were lax in their enforcement;
and that claims for compensatory justice
took our representatives far too long to honour.

We honour Indigenous ancestral spirits
of folk who once walked these woodlands
without any “White” notions of ownership;
and we ask those spirits to bless us by sharing
the beauties of this place without rancour.

We give thanks for all these created
masterpieces around us and affirm our solidarity
with them as fellow creatures and children of Gaia.
We give thanks for these trees
with their life-enhancing labour of oxygen,
their wondrous pallet of shades of green,
and their piles of yellow and orange leaves
that children hurl themselves onto in autumn.

Black Oak, Red and White Oak,Eastern White Pine,
Black Ash, Willow, Honey Locust, Catalpa, Hemlock

We give thanks for underscores of SHRUBS and VINES
from tall and low grass woodlands, providing homes and food
for thousands of creations and tiny creatures:

Black Huckleberry, Bush Honeysuckle, Dryland and Low Sweet Blueberry,
Upland Willow, Witch Hazel, Chokecherry, Sumac, Red-osier Dogwood

All Sing:
All things bright and beautiful
All creatures great and small,
All things wise and wonderful,
God’s wisdom made them all.

We give thanks for the many wild flowers
in all their colourful, hardy variety:

Turtlehead, White Bottle Gentian, Bee Balm,
Jack-in-the-Pulpit, Solomon’s Seal, Bloodroot,
Wild Columbine, Michigan Lily, Wild Geranium,
Blue Eyed Grass, Cardinal Flower, Skunk Cabbage.

One: We give thanks for the wildlife citizens of this domain-
hunters, foragers, singers, flyers, swimmers, crawlers:

Coyote, Fox, Chipmunk, Squirrel, Racoon, Skunk,
Big and Little Brown Bats, Muskrat, Beaver.

All things bright and beautiful
All creatures great and small,
All things wise and wonderful,
God’s wisdom made them all.

BIRDS of the Woodland and Savannah:
Hawk, Screech Owl, Blue Jay, Dove,
Northern Flicker, Humming bird, Robin,
Eastern Phoebe, Chickadee, Nuthatch,
Cedar Waxwing, Warbler, Junco, Sparrow,
Scarlett Tanager, Oriole, Goldfinch.

Birds of the Wetlands
Canada Goose, Swan, Duck, Great Egret,
Great Blue Heron, Cormorant, Killdeer,
Tern, Sandpiper, Kingfisher, Kingbird,
Swallow, Black bird.

Northern Pike, Largemouth Bass, Perch,
Brown Bullhead, Bluegill, Pumpkinseed.

One: we give thanks too for guests in High Park:

All: Llama, Alpaca, Goat, Capybara family, Peacock,
Highland Cattle, Goldfish in Grenadier Pond.

Each little flower that opens,
each little bird that sings,
She made their glowing colours,
She made their tiny wings.

All things bright and beautiful
All creatures great and small,
All things wise and wonderful,
God’s wisdom made them all.
The Canticle of High Park by Ian Sowton with a refrain by Cecil F. Alexander


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