Two miles south of the harbour on an island masking Toronto from the open waters of Lake Ontario, a wicker phoenix lies in a clearing behind a decommissioned schoolhouse, unburned in the wake of the summer solstice.
The former halls of education are now filled with faded prints of the haunted lighthouse and other area history. The art of the building’s resident creators mythologizes the scenes, enhances the mysteries of the corridors dimly lit by infrequent windows.
The twins lead me out to the edge of a nearby wood and, promptly, I fall in a fox hole. The sun finds its way out from behind voluminous clouds, and I stop to look out on an untouched expanse, rare for this city the three of us grew up in. Romy and Sari, on makeshift pillows of cat tail snow, settle into the tall grass and marry their song to the floating seeds surrounding us.
As we walk southward towards the south face of the island, Sari and I speak of Vashti Bunyan, Marina Abramovich and the coffin sounds of Diamanda Galas striking her piano for effect. Romy outpaces us and disappears down a narrow path where the sands begin. When we meet her again, she has transformed into a half-beast. A dried bouquet is laid, a sun parasol set, and we kneel amongst the red ants to begin.
With those too brief incantations left far behind, we venture north past the novelty ghost town and the bobbing and discoloured boat swans of the old amusement park towards the ferry. Sari’s bicycle and sunhat cut shadows into the pavement as Romy sheds jewels and pelts in preparation for the reluctant return to the urban landscape of the main land.