North: 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. East: 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. South: 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. West: We give thanks for all these created masterpieces around us and affirm our solidarity with them as fellow creatures and children of Gaia. One: 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. Trees: Black Oak, Red and White Oak,Eastern White Pine, Black Ash, Willow, Honey Locust, Catalpa, Hemlock One: 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: Shrubs: 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. One: We give thanks for the many wild flowers in all their colourful, hardy variety: Flowers: 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: Mammals: Coyote, Fox, Chipmunk, Squirrel, Racoon, Skunk, Big and Little Brown Bats, Muskrat, Beaver. Sing: 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. Fish: 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. Sing: 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