Bench Series (Winter)

Darkness is where the magic of moonlight lives.” – Unknown

Before our part of the world became a winter wonderland, there were two days where I happily found myself – sitting at an outdoor table at the “cabin in the woods” Reindeer Cafe near the miniature railway in Stanley Park. It was wonderful to greet familiar faces behind the concession counter after a closure of almost two years.

One visit with a dear friend included a festive cinnamon scented churro stick and a paper cup of warm apple cider. Despite the sunny afternoon, a late December cold spell added an atmospheric note or two – on our walk over to the concession to catch a flash of coloured lights from the Bright Nights event, we passed a partially frozen lagoon and patterns of hoarfrost that were grass and leafy greenery just a week ago.

My second visit was a delightful al fresco lunch with Terry (delicious veggie burgers with a side of freshly cooked fries and another large apple cider to share) on a balmier day that called for a long walk in the forest afterwards on trails we had to ourselves – a winter afternoon filled with the sound of birdsong and mist rising from the forest floor.

And now amid snow covered sidewalks and freezing temperatures from an Arctic outflow paired with roaring wind, I’ve found shelter at my local coffee bar to gather my thoughts over a soothing hot drink – poised between the ending of one year and a new one about to begin.

These lovely benches sit in the Rose Garden in Stanley Park (Vancouver, B.C.), we came upon them on one of the very last days of autumn.
I couldn’t resist setting the scene for some beautiful bench captures!
At the intersection of four forest trails in the park we find these two conversational benches, across from them, high up in a tree is an eagle’s nest!
Autumn leaf covered benches are now covered in powdery snow lit up by the sun, this bench is located in the Rhododendron Garden.
We often sit here in the warmer months overlooking Third Beach, winter has a unique beauty of its own even if we choose not to linger.
Our province is experiencing more atmospheric river episodes which have washed all the local snow away, this throne-like chair sits near Second Beach and looks very regal!
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Sweet Tidings

May and October, the best smelling months? December: evergreen, frost, wood smoke , cinnamon.” – Lisa Kleypas

A creamy hot chocolate and Harry Potter were my companions today after practicing yoga at home amid the tail end of yet another historical weather system. The sun made an appearance earlier in the afternoon but soon became swallowed up by stormy clouds and falling rain.

The West Coast has been hosting a rare weather bomb (Bomb Cyclone) for two days now resulting in falling temperatures, pounding rain and destructive winds. Trees bursting in brilliant colour dance as gracefully as they can holding fast to their fluttering leaves while others stand sentinel over heaps of soggy leaves ready for winter. On my way to the shelter of the coffee bar I walked on sidewalks blanketed in a tapestry of fallen leaves, the mingling of colour reminding me of another place and time – the weaving of burgundy, dark green and mottled pale yellow resembling medieval wall hangings.

Back at home we were treated to a darkening sky reflected in neighbouring apartment tower windows – with fast moving clouds in shades of smoky peach travelling in between shards of bright sunlight revealing heavenly blue. Lately, the unsettling weather has paused briefly before a welcome flash of sunset resulting in glorious double rainbows, sweet tidings to those of us struggling during an autumn bereft of sun. Rainbows are a sign of hope and the ones that manifested this fall lifted our spirits…

Late November erupted in a once in a century weather event that created widespread flooding, dangerous land slides and loss of life. A town (Merritt) that I lived in briefly in my early twenties was left underwater and its 7,000 residents evacuated. In the aftermath here in our neighbourhood, we were left with lots of debris with parts of the stone seawall and sand strewn across paths by high tides. A huge barge was flung upon the rocky shoreline near Sunset Beach (where it still remains with a sign recently erected, Barge Chilling Beach, as a holiday gift to our city) and a curious wander down to the sea brought part of those stormy days we witnessed to life.

Lately I’ve tucked into Veranda Cafe’s cozy environs to enjoy another small hot chocolate or two and recently after a beautiful dry autumn walk up to the bookstore left behind the previous week’s heartbreaking images and the bare shelves we’ve noticed in our local shops as folks grapple with the reality of possible supply chain issues due to the damage sustained by several highways, effectively cutting off the city of Vancouver from the rest of the province and country. Thankfully, a state of emergency has been implemented (and at the time of this writing remains in place), army service personnel have arrived and the cleanup has begun.

The holiday season is now upon us too and once again, we’ll have to be creative with gift giving and gathering. Sweet tidings still abound in rare sunshine moments warming my back and in long walks through the park greeting fluttering golden leaves still clinging to trees that survived the onslaught of rain and wind. Wood smoke wafts through the air as colourful lights beckon from once darkened windows and as I wrote to a dear neighbour this morning – as long as we have music, art, and beloved books upon our tables, we are happy and well.

This wishing well looks magical surrounded by late autumn colour in Stanley Park (Vancouver, B.C.).
The Reindeer Cafe located near the miniature railway has hosted many picnics and served some delicious food over the years. It’s lovely to stop by and say “hello” to Travis (and Terry, too) especially during Bright Nights in Stanley Park.
This beautiful capture of Third Beach from Ferguson Point looks so inviting, in the height of summer we can imagine ourselves on a beach in Hawaii!
Oystercatchers are a joy to watch at this time of year, they are welcome visitors in late autumn!

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Bench Series (Autumn)

Benches and books have things in common beyond the fact that they’re generally to do with sitting. Both are forms of public privacy, intimate spaces widely shared.” – Mal Peet

During the last two years, my partner and I have spent many peaceful moments wandering through our beloved Stanley Park, one of its magical entries located just down our street…we often find ourselves on a variety of benches offering gorgeous vistas and respite from busy neighbourhood streets. On my solo walks, some of the benches have hosted a thermos of tea, my latest read, or a flaky croissant from a local bakery. Terry has found rest and tranquility on a variety of benches on his forest walks which gave rise to this series…he wanted to document some of these meditative spaces so I could share them with you offering a breath or a moment to linger over.

A late October offering on a bench dedicated to a lost friend found on a forest trail near Brockton Oval in Stanley Park (Vancouver, B.C.).
This very popular bench faces the miniature golf course in the Rhododendron Garden in Stanley Park, a morning walk on this path is a favourite of ours.
This lovely spot overlooks English Bay, I’ve sat here many times with my notebook in hand and a Mason jar filled with ice tea or a thermos of chai tea nearby depending on the season!
This fantastical Lord Of The Rings bench sits in front of the iconic Tea House Restaurant at Ferguson Point.
Terry revisited these beautiful benches down a flight of stairs at Prospect Point overlooking Lion’s Gate Bridge and the North Shore beyond.
We often find ourselves on this path located between two favourite concessions (Lumberman’s Arch and Railway), in spring the trees that this peaceful bench faces erupts in beautiful cherry blossoms!
Terry couldn’t resist this picnic bench shot showcasing the hind ends of two polar bear sculptures waiting to be put in place to herald the reopening of Bright Nights in Stanley Park for December wanders and rides on the miniature train. I wonder if they were looking for a picnic basket?
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Wandering

Listen! The wind is rising, and the air is wild with leaves, we have had our summer evenings, now for October eves.” – Humbert Wolfe

It’s the first day of autumn and after an early morning rain and atmospheric mist, I’ve found a weathered bench to sit on above gently rolling waves – slate blue with the bright afternoon sun sparkling like champagne upon them dazzling my eyes, A lone paddle boarder makes their way across the expanse between two large leafy trees adding a grace note to the unfolding day. I hope it’s a sign of more beautiful days like this to come…

I try to collect grace notes throughout my days as we make our way out of this pandemic and the reckoning left behind. Every once in awhile I see someone walking down our busy urban sidewalks reading a book and it makes me smile. Despite collective worries they’ve managed to create a mobile sanctuary adding yet another grace note to the vista from my outdoor table at my local coffee bar. Although, my favourite readers are those I find reading in the fragrant grove just down our street enticing me to wander and get lost in my own book!

Any hope of more fleeting days of forever summer have been extinguished by cooler than normal temperatures and early storms, bringing relentless rain and fierce winds. Our bucolic neighbourhood lost another great tree one street over leaving part of the leafy street naked. It fell across the road taking one or two smaller trees with it while striking the side of a three story building and shattering a window. I wonder if those now unshaded windows will reveal dusty corners and surfaces creating extra fall cleaning for the tenants affected after the loss?

This October weekend has been awash in rain resulting in many cups of tea inside, catching up on correspondence and gathering the ingredients for hearty fall soups. In between the rain showers today I stepped out with only drops of water from the canopy above falling upon me from golden leaves, the summer sun stored within creating much needed faux light. Other colours compete for my attention too – glowing reds, burnished ambers and dark green.

A stop later by our local library and community centre yielded two gifts, a new magazine to take out and a notice board filled with the musings of fellow West Enders describing in beautiful poignant words what our vibrant community means to them. One magical excerpt described a swathe of green grass that became an oasis for a young father and his children during the harrowing lockdown of last year. Located beside a parking lot closed to discourage large crowds and movement, they named this sacred space Greenhill Park where it hosted many a picnic and precious playtime hours. I often walk by this lush parklet and after reading this man’s words I know I’ll be thinking about this West End space differently. Another writer wrote about her childhood wanders with her mother to the Saturday morning West End Farmers Market with her current read a constant companion. These two offerings lifted my spirits in place of the warm sun making the errands of the day effortless.

November-like weather has also wandered in early chasing away any lingering summer-like days of fall, luckily we’ve found a local sanctuary of our own to wander to in the aptly named Park Pub – a safe place to raise a glass against all storms and celebrate life!

This is the route I take to the fragrant grove down my street, I never fail to meet someone I know!
We went on a three hour wander through the forest and visited this ephemeral garden, this photo was taken earlier but even with a deluge of colourful autumn leaves, this sunburst design warmed my heart.
This gorgeous capture was taken on that three hour wander on a trail we call Jack’s Trail, it’s a wide open space where one can stretch out their arms and breathe deep…I stood for several minutes in sacred silence with only the falling rain, it was heavenly!
This beautiful capture is found above Third Beach, we came upon this peaceful spot after walking several favourite trails.
This stunning shot of English Bay (Vancouver, B.C.) was taken at the end of our rainy Saturday walk, we came home invigorated and settled in with a coffee for Terry and an English Breakfast tea for me!
As an added note from our rainy wander, a capture on one of our favourite trails showcasing the height of the trees in Stanley Park (Vancouver, B.C.).

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Second Summer

By all these lovely tokens September days are here, with summer’s best of weather and autumn’s best of cheer.” – Helen Hunt Jackson

A burnt orange crescent moon rose in the night sky late this week, ushering in a glowing red sun smothered in smoke. Breezes that were absent during the heat dome in early summer have made the last few days of a third heatwave bearable but stalled yesterday resulting in a 10+ dangerous air quality reading and a strong smell of wood smoke. Thankfully we had thawed a simple supper allowing us to heat up some delicious vegetarian chili rather than fry or bake something. We anticipated another sleepless night but managed to create some movement in the apartment with our tower fan and air purifier. Autumn arrives in a few weeks and we hope to have a second summer rather than a prolonged fire season (some fires in the Interior might burn until the first snowfall).

Today the smoke and heat have fled and a cool breeze kept me company as I walked up my street to a heritage home to check out a Postcard Era exhibit called Wish You Were Here – highlighting the art of the postcard, connection and communication. There was a touching poster board note about the pandemic and how important it is now, connecting – posting a photo or commenting on a blog site, today’s version of mailing a postcard to a loved one or friend.

The collection of sepia-toned and pastel hued postcards came from all over after a call-out to the many small museums up and down the coast, giving them a chance to be seen in the big city. I was amazed at the similarity to my own postcard collection with their cursive sentiments echoing my own. I had the whole house to myself to wander through on a beautiful sunny afternoon and I’m so glad I went!

As I write these words, a fragrant cup of rooibos tea steams gently in a delicate English tea cup decorated in bold black stripes and an array of stylistic animals and birds (some holding fans, beloved books or playing amid autumn leaves in sepia toned colours of their own). I’m at a delightful coffee place and gift shop called Goodge that I try to visit every summer. Sitting outside at their bistro tables near a lushly scented florist shop is divine…

A second summer has emerged with sundrenched days and some welcome rainy ones – on one of these perfect summer days we left the city to spend some time at the Shipyards (formerly the Wallace Shipyards), just a short Seabus ride across beautiful Burrard Inlet to the North Shore. The Shipyards sit adjacent to a very vibrant Lonsdale Quay where we sat dockside recently enjoying some delicious teriyaki take-out. Today’s lunch (tasty burgers and glasses of cold beer) was at the Original Tap and Barrel restaurant where we sat underneath a bright yellow patio umbrella at a scrubbed wooden table facing the stunning Vancouver skyline. Ravens as black as night flew overhead to sit on a large crane left behind as industrial sculpture while the ocean breeze kept us cool.

As we revel in this second summer, autumn is quietly painting the tops of the chestnut tree one street over and I kick through fallen acorns on my way to write at Veranda Cafe, thankful for the warm sunshine and the freedom to sit outside, to savour a cup of tea and take it all in.

A view of Lonsdale Quay (North Vancouver, B.C.) where we sat dockside overlooking the Burrard Inlet.
The stunning Vancouver skyline captured just steps away from The Original Tap and Barrel restaurant.
The Shipyards area offers quiet spaces, hidden patios and a long pier to eat an ice cream on, there are many industrial and marine touches to enjoy on a sunny wander.
This is a shot looking back towards the Original Tap and Barrel restaurant and that huge crane that the ravens like to sit on!

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Golden Hour

But in the midst of all that is, was or ever will be, there is a light that keeps shining, reaching us from far away.” – Sasha Sagan

After an unexpected and very deadly heatwave that enveloped the West Coast in late June and early July, it feels wonderfully cool to sit at a table in what was the former glory of our local public market amid generous air conditioning and write a few lines. During a season not touched or shaped by climate change, the cooling breezes coming off the deep blue Pacific Ocean provide respite from any errant rise in temperature. The heat dome that arose smothered all the breezes and because of low tide, killed one billion sea creatures and left those of us without air conditioning struggling to keep cool and hydrated.

Over the five worst days, sleep eluded us while our days were spent chasing the sun as we opened and closed blinds not meant to keep out the oppressive heat while leaving our apartment door open Mexican-style to usher in fresher air from the hallway. One or two suppers consisted of take-out carried down to a shady bench (prime real estate!) in the park hoping for a wayward breeze off the lagoon or a sense of coolness from hidden places amid foliage not touched by the sun.

As we revel now in a summer just a touch warmer than normal, fire season has started early (there are over 300 fires burning in our province at the time of this writing) with another heatwave warning announced for the Interior. One town (Lytton) up country has already been destroyed by a raging fire that may have been human caused, two people died and many others have been left to grapple with losing their homes and businesses as well as their jobs. Adding these worrisome notes to the layers left behind by the ongoing pandemic, I’m left wondering, are there any golden hours left to savour?

One golden hour led me downtown to my favourite gallery space again to lose myself in two photography exhibits, one showcasing vintage storefront signage of corner stores (often run by families) disappearing fast from our local communities to make way for new development and the other, a series of colourful photographs capturing unguarded moments of inhabitants and visitors in a Chinatown struggling to survive. I was on my way to visit the main library after not perusing the inviting stacks in almost two years, to my delight, the photography exhibit was an unexpected detour before finding my way there…

Another hour resulted in a much anticipated visit to the Imagine Van Gogh exhibit at the Vancouver Convention Centre. Nothing prepared me for the subtly moving panels graced with Vincent’s iconic works and the unexpected thrill in seeing a few lush flower and creamy blossom paintings slipped in among simple black and white line drawings and his intriguing portrait series. Camera phones constantly captured the beautiful fluid images which even appeared on the floor. The pre-booked hour flew by and I reluctantly left the exquisite soundtrack and art behind, an after image of autumn yellow, glowing reds and the midnight blue of a starry night carried with me to linger over as summer wanes.

Today I find myself stitching those golden hours together underneath a bright blue outdoor umbrella at the Sunset Beach Pop-Up Patio, sitting at one of the nostalgic pale blue picnic tables facing the creek before it becomes ocean. There are about thirteen brightly coloured kites on the other side fluttering underneath a pale blue sky heralding other people’s golden hours, an echo of summers past awakening again. I’ve just finished a lovely amble through Granville Island noting the loss of favourite shops and anticipating the new. It was a joy to revisit the sweet coffee bar tucked underneath the Granville St. bridge and enjoy a delicious gelato while watching the world go by via boat and ferry. Hopping on the False Creek ferry boat myself was something I had hoped to do this summer, a small city getaway to somewhere local to support a small business.

There are always golden hours to be had if one is willing, hours to be carved out or embraced in between our day to day – hours to be savoured despite the vagaries of a worldwide pandemic and climate change.

This tongue in cheek sign greeted me as I eagerly got in line at the Vancouver Convention Centre!
What a gorgeous immersive hour I spent! It was lovely to see everyone’s delight amid the blue…
These images took my breath away with their ethereal colour!
So many phone cameras pivoted towards this single image, Starry Night.
I took so many wonderful photographs it was hard to decide which ones to post but I seemed to be drawn to his saturated blues…

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Feed Your Soul

Explore the earth, soak up her beauty, and let it feed your soul. Love her like your own, and then leave her be.” – April 2021 Alive magazine

Deep verdant green and fragrant gardens draw me most days to paths winding like a fairy tale beneath clouds of falling petals. Plaintive crow young hidden amid an explosion of new leaves are a constant chorus punctuated by the prehistoric squawks of adult herons hovering over their own offspring – happy harbingers of the warmer season to come, feeding my soul each day…

May has unfolded between the latest restrictions to stem the tide of the pandemic in year two and a newly cautious embrace of some kind of normalcy resulting in busy weekends and much quieter days during the week as folks begin to move around once again.

Throughout the pandemic I’ve been keeping my eyes out for breadcrumbs leading back to past pleasures and was thrilled to come across a note advertising a free art exhibit at one of my favourite gallery spaces downtown.

I haven’t ventured downtown very much in the past year having only seen a very small showing at the same venue last summer. This exhibit’s title was a nod to the restrictions in place here in our province – Essential Travel, an artful voyage. This yearly exhibit (ParkerArtSalon.com) is usually held in the artist’s own homes in the east end of the city, an outing I’ve often longed to go on!

I was the only patron and enjoyed a lovely wander through curvy sculptures, colourful abstracts, serene landscapes and a haunting work of Marilyn Monroe (travelling back in time!). With face mask on and strategic hand sanitizer stations, my time inside the airy gallery felt very safe. As I was leaving, I was delighted to see an eager young couple enter on what turned out to be the last day of the exhibit.

That last day ushered in a mini-heatwave and I found myself taking my latest read and a thermos of tea down to a bench beside a friendly tree with jewel-like hummingbirds and noisy flickers to keep me company. With the lagoon just steps away and the sun shaded by leafy green, I imagined a plethora of summer days spent on various benches throughout the park or above the seawall overlooking the sparkling ocean. Other afternoons I retreated to Veranda Cafe beneath a lush green canopy, sitting at a shiny red table with warm sunlight creating delicately moving shadows upon two intersecting neighbourhood streets – a perfect spot to watch the world go by with a cup of jasmine green tea fragrantly steaming or a frothy almond milk hot chocolate waiting to be sipped.

On my way one day to my outdoor table I came across a young couple standing on the sidewalk – the father cradling his newborn daughter face up to the bright sun and when I noticed how tiny she was, he said they had been given a prescription to bring her outside to receive some sunlight. When I heard this, I thought – what a beautiful gesture for their family doctor to make and how joyous it would be if we all could find ourselves open to receiving this grace and healing, feeding our souls and forever taking in the beauty that surrounds us.

This capture reminds us of travels yet to come! It faces the iconic Lion’s Gate Bridge just off the Stanley Park Seawall (Vancouver, B.C.)
Beaver Lake is ringed by observation decks and sunny benches, I hope to find myself here often throughout the summer!
Terry came upon this unusual nurse tree on one of his afternoon walks in Stanley Park, another heatwave is unfolding and when I look at this photo, I feel a sweet coolness come over me…
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But first, spring

It is so small a thing to have enjoyed the sun, to have lived light in the spring, to have loved, to have thought, to have done.” – Matthew Arnold

Tiny, barely there snowflakes lazily fell from the blurry grey sky this week with the promise of more to come. And as predicted, the first snowfall of a waning season arrived in the predawn to paint our world in “picture postcard” stokes evoking distant holiday memories.

Snowfalls are a rare event here on the West Coast and I eagerly looked forward to moving through the forest and our neighbourhood breathing in the cold air wafting down from the north while fluffy snowflakes touched mask-less faces keeping six feet apart.

A long winter’s walk through fragrant cedar and lacy bare trees beckoned – the snow covered trails offering a hushed respite from the everyday. We walked the upper trails, an area I haven’t traversed in a long while and the snowy vistas that greeted us were magical. We were wondering if we might come upon an elusive coyote but it may have been too cold for wandering. There are about twelve coyotes co-existing in the park although two aggressive coyotes were recently euthanized for nipping at joggers on trails bereft of human activity pre-pandemic. Thankfully, the rest have been left in peace and not seeing a coyote was good news after almost a month of trail closures to modify their behaviour (sadly, some park users may have contributed to this behavior change by befriending or feeding them).

Our snow day only lasted forty-eight hours resulting in walks near the edge of the park to look for remnants of snow at the base of trees and spread upon gardens. Mountain air and glorious sunshine merged to leave one feeling exhilarated – hearing the haunting sound of a French horn being played above the seawall by a young woman sitting on a bench and a few steps later, hearing the shivering notes of a lone bag piper added yet another sensory layer to a winter day hinting at better days to come…

Meteorological spring arrived March 1st with softer air, brighter blooms and longer days with exquisite smudged sunsets lighting up the buildings near us on fire. On a recent warm day knowing that many more will come, we made our way to our go-to park concession, Lumbermen’s Arch, for perfectly cooked fish and tasty chips, sitting outside with the welcome sun caressing our faces.

True spring has now arrived (the weeks seem to fly by!), the signs are everywhere – 19 Great Blue herons perching like gargoyles on nearby rooftops have begun to face the heronry, some of the previously empty nests hosting one or two pairs already. Leafing and blooming abound – dreams of shedding layers, toting a book and a thermos of freshly brewed tea to a park bench and strolling through sweet smelling forest fill our thoughts. Hardier souls are already pointing the way, a recent sunny lagoon walk revealed a solitary biker sitting against an observation deck, his faraway gaze on the waterfowl and woodland beyond, making me dream of summer but first, spring!

Our spring walks through Stanley Park (Vancouver, B.C.) yield magnificent rainforest sculptures, this haunting sight evokes images from Lord of the Rings, its origins created by a human caused fire years ago.
Terry captured this gorgeous shot just down our street at the edge of the park where for many years he played his acoustic guitar to the delight of many!
We’ve noticed this year that the forest is carpeted in soft green moss, it’s found on the ground, fallen logs and draped throughout tree limbs – it makes for a magical walk filling our eyes with spring!
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Fate

She would find a loyal companion, jump into a jeep

and head to Mexico to ride out the storm.

Borders are closed to me now, so I journey within –

opening windows painted shut over the years

and closing doors on things that no longer serve me.

I collect words lying in the dust and string

them like pearls to wear close to my heart.

Words like strength, beauty and love –

they’re battered and bruised but I hold

them tenderly just the same.

There is polished wood and precious books

and soon there will be fresh flowers, their scent

following the light as there are no curtains,

darkness is not welcome here.

What would she do? I’d like to think

she’d do the same,

live the very best life and keep on fighting.

The snow is gone now but this golden witch hazel tree brightened a late winter walk through Stanley Park (Vancouver, B.C.).





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Wintering

We are all treading the vanishing road of a song in the air, the vanishing road of the spring flowers and the winter snows, the vanishing roads of the winds and the streams, the vanishing road of beloved faces.” – Richard Le Gallienne

Wintering conjures up days of bruised sky, winking raindrops caught in green boughs and brightly coloured berries not yet eaten. It’s a long walk through lush forest and down by the lagoon, eventually finding an empty bench to sit socially distant with an old friend. There is more sun than rain this season (so far) and often, it feels more like spring.

One late afternoon poised between lingering light and enveloping dark, the scent of damp soil and growing things surrounded my senses lifting my heart. Coming home to glowing light, slightly drawn blinds and the tea kettle waiting for water added to the cozy anticipation in those last few steps. Simple pleasures rule the day as we dive deep into year two of the pandemic and now its variants.

Remnants of the holiday season can still be seen in the lone white paper snowflake hanging crookedly in an apartment window, in dangling coloured lights and the odd tree still draped in its December finery. But it’s the signs of spring that pepper my walks and catch my eye these days – the heavenly swathe of yellow daffodils that appear each year on a hill overlooking English Bay, delicate snowdrops appearing like gifts in unexpected places and creamy camellia blossoms poking through shiny green leaves.

January has left us with balmy days and snow-covered mountains, the lagoon and ocean teeming with feathered visitors from far away places and a lone Red Tail hawk haunting an awakening forest. There is random poetry pasted to utility boxes and brightly painted rocks scattered upon garden beds, more small pleasures to shore up against data that can smother one’s senses.

Still restricted to our local community means wintering inside amid a small stack of eagerly picked up books from the library, taking out a beautiful journal I’ve begun bravely jotting down words in and drinking winter teas as notes of ginger and chai swirl around me. It means getting to know the individual crows and sparrows that land on our balcony hoping for a peanut or two which sometimes includes naming them (Hi, Jack Sparrow!).

The languid days of bright spring and warm summer fled this wintering months ago, leaving me to my own devices and much shorter walks. Walks that nevertheless soothe my restless soul and reveal paths back to the time before…

Terry captured this regal pose of the lone Red Tail hawk that visited Stanley Park (Vancouver, B.C.) recently.

Snow finally arrived covering the overhead bridge we walk on to find our way to Beaver Lake here in Stanley Park!

We spent a magical St. Valentine’s Day walking the upper trails in Stanley Park, the air was so fresh and there was hardly a soul so we were free from wearing our facemasks!

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