I love the rows of plane trees along Shelbourne – meant at one time to be renamed Memorial Ave, with the trees planted for the soldiers who fell in WWI. Now, just in time for Halloween, I’ve discovered another Shelbourne story, on the “Old Victoria” Facebook page. People report that when driving on the road near Hillside Mall, around 2 a.m. in October, the city street may suddenly turn into a dark and deserted country road for a few minutes . . .
“. . . I recall it like it was yesterday . . . the street lights disappeared, the sides of the road were grass and there was a dirt road with a grass strip up the middle. My headlights were the only light . . . as fast as that happened, it disappeared.”
“ . . . I never heard of this but it actually happened to me, just for a blink, in broad daylight. I thought it was just my imagination . . .”
“. . . blinked a couple of times and I was out of the trees . . .”
“ . . . I was driving down Shelbourne in the middle of the day directly behind a bus. All of a sudden the bus wasn’t there and it was dark. There were no other cars around and the road was gravel.”
Someone wondered if this is a “thin place,” as the Scots say – a place where the barrier between our physical world and the spiritual world is thin, where, the old tales tell, people can pass back and forth. Then there are the “ley lines,” particularly strong in Victoria – straight line connections between landmarks both natural and man-made. Some speculate they are lines of spiritual or magnetic energy and account for Victoria’s abundance of hauntings and spiritual places.
I like the idea of this thin place connecting us to the time of those soldiers, the ones who returned and the ones who didn’t, and the beautiful rows of trees honouring them.