Every Little Thing Is Everything

Tea is drunk to forget the din of the world.” – T’ien Yi Leng

I woke up this morning with new energy and resolve – hoping to shake up the routines I’ve clung to these past few months and invite some fresh air into my life!

Right now, I’m waiting for the warm sun to envelope the space I’ve carved out on our balcony with my faded blue camp chair and old wooden table. The chair is facing the glittering water of English Bay, instead of tea nearby, a crystal glass sits on the table filled with sparkling water, a small change in the works already. After a walk through the busy park, the peaceful feeling unfolding nine floors up underneath a perfect blue sky steadies my heart. There is still some cleaning to attend to on our balcony but so far, I’ve been able to savour a morning tea in a patch of found sunlight and have begun writing on the odd afternoon.

There is a resident city robin who sings every morning and evening – during a recent morning its cheerful notes were overshadowed by rumbling thunder as I drowsed underneath our woolen blanket. It sang through three waves of thunder and I wondered if it was teaching the young robins to sing no matter what. Rain fell, too and coloured our world grey as it used to do years ago before fire season became the new normal after warmer springs. Perhaps the stillness we’ve all come to embrace has recalibrated natures’ rhythms, restoring a balance we feared was lost forever.

Our part of the world is now disturbing that very hush as businesses, schools and restaurants are being encouraged to wake up. Nearly empty streets are filled once more with roaring sports cars on their way to the beach and downtown. The playgrounds host laughing children as we wait patiently for the park concessions to open imagining those first oil spotted boxes of freshly cooked fish and chips. Some little things are worth waiting for…

We cannot wait it seems and did the next best thing – toting homemade potatoe salad and picking up some take-out from the Stanley Park Pavilion to bring to our still undiscovered picnic table. While we ate our delicious fare, we could hear raven young calling to each other, safe in the lush canopy above just behind the shuttered and fenced Railway Cafe concession – their haunting calls reminiscent of a more ancient time than this.

Every little thing is everything during this unprecedented time – the feathered visitors who join me as I do yoga in my tiny studio (by moving the coffee table towards the balcony door and putting down my yoga mat), foraging for lichen covered twigs and branches to create botanical bouquets for summer (inviting the forest inside) and the relaxing hour reading before sleep takes over. Small things and moments easing the new normal that overshadows what once was…

A beautiful capture of the rose covered arbour by the Rose Garden in Stanley Park (Vancouver, B.C.). We walk underneath it on solo walks and when we go picnicking!

These enchanting stone steps are located beside the arbour as if there wasn’t enough beauty to enjoy on a summers’ day!

This botanical bouquet was inspired by an Escape To The Chateau episode – it came together with a few foraged twigs and branches, an old silver teapot and my Dad’s beloved book. It sits beside a found verdigris trellis that often hosts postcards from our travels!

I’d love to hear about your own little things that are “everything”!

 

 

 

 

 

Posted in blog, journaling, life, memoir, photography | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 32 Comments

Fewer Faces and Bigger Spaces

Beauty surrounds us, but usually we need to be walking in a garden to know it.” – Rumi

Most of my solo walks are heavenly – there are often small paths and walkways leading to lush gardens and on todays’ walk down by the lagoon, a friendly black crow walked with me flying from one tree branch to another and when she neared the old stone bridge, she called good-bye to me as only a cheeky crow can. It was magical to walk with her on a path empty of people after an early morning rain shower.

As I wandered, I noticed a musician and his female companion sitting underneath the tall canopy at a picnic table almost hidden from view – he began to strum his guitar and they both started to sing a haunting song, another woman stood nearby entranced. I walked on my favourite upper path overlooking the ocean filled with joy at this unexpected gift. Some of the tree trunks nearby sported large red construction paper hearts tied with old-fashioned twine imploring passersby to hug them and leave the date…

The paths I lately walk beside the dark green lagoon reveal heaps of goslings nestled together with their watchful parents nearby; an older gentleman walking towards me remarked to his wife, “It seems to be the year of the Canada Goose”, and he was right, I was met with downy goslings almost every step I took!

This unique season unfolding during a world-wide pandemic leaves me breathless with its fierce fuschia, pale yellow and vibrant red blooms punctuating shimmering greens – there is fragrance all around emanating from young snow white rhododendron bushes and floating from waning cherry blossoms. Perhaps this unrelenting virus has put everything I see and feel into sharp focus, like a Monet painting come to life.

Above an outcropping of rock by the ocean, ravens and eagles soar as I walk on an almost empty seawall, apex predators ever alert for unsuspecting prey. Their raucous calls yet another form of music to my ears on this fine spring day. I’m forever grateful that these late spring days offer such respite from staying inside, there is always a friendly face to wave to and something new to see…

Today feels like the first of many summer days to come so we packed up some salad and sandwiches to head into the slowly awakening park to find a picnic table far from the madding crowd. What a surprise to find two empty freshly painted tables (in warm terracotta hues) waiting for us near the for now closed Railway Cafe. We vowed to try to do this at least once a week after a wonderful lunch in the open air!

On my solo walk later in the afternoon after fruitlessly trying to find some quiet space, I wandered back to the cedar grove near the Great Blue heronry I noted earlier, to drink some cool water underneath a majestic tree with just enough sunshine among the shadows. There are two paths on either side of me with a few trees between them to allow me a view of the many people heading to picnic areas and down to the beach. The fragrance of spring is in the air with the odd prehistoric chatter from the many heron nests, this tiny oasis a perfect place to write and read a word or two.

COVID-19 restrictions are slowly lifting in our part of the world – a recent foray to a boarded up downtown that kept me away for over 2 months revealed colourful murals filled with whimsy and good wishes. Just a few retail stores took their murals down to welcome masked shoppers on streets devoid of their usual activity. A new world is unfolding and I hope to step boldly into the future with the mantra, fewer faces and bigger spaces, as my armour guiding the way. Tomorrow seems closed for the moment, a new day will dawn – this cannot be forever.

Spring’s romantic side is on show near the Rose Garden in Stanley Park (Vancouver, B.C.).

This beautiful blossom heart was discovered near the Stanley Park Pavilion, its fleeting beauty a sign of hope to warm the hearts of everyone who passes by.

Shimmering green just a wander away from our apartment on the edge of a rainforest!

This post is dedicated to our Provincial Health Officer (British Columbia), Dr. Bonnie Henry, whose calm words became the title of my post. She comes to each press conference wearing kick-ass Fluevog shoes and cool jewellery, weaving words of hope amid the hard data.

 

 

 

 

Posted in blog, journaling, life, memoir, photography | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 47 Comments

Portal

If the doors of perception were cleansed everything would appear to man as it is, infinite.” – William Blake

A good friend and I often email each other but make a habit to call periodically to hear a different voice other than the one inside our heads. It’s heartwarming to share concerns or insights as weeks of staying inside and social distancing slowly become months.

This change-maker pandemic has stolen so many identities from all of us it makes my head spin. Words to describe myself – potential volunteer, traveller, bookstore wanderer and coffee bar patron no longer apply. There are new words that settle over me like a scratchy wool sweater – solo walker, isolation diarist and 7 pm cheerleader honouring all those that stock our grocery shelves and care for the sick. An ordinary human being trying to make sense of this novel passage, thankful for caring neighbours and loving family as the earth and its population stills.

Identities that have been shed are being reborn, becoming innovators, ambassadors and life savers – truck drivers, those grocery clerks/shelf stockers we cheer for and caregivers in our long term care facilities are now first in our thoughts and so needed.

We’ve just heard from our health care officials that staying inside and practising safe social distancing is helping to flatten the curve and slow the spread of this deadly virus with mid-May an historic time to aim for re: lifting of some restrictions (safely, of course) as the world begins to take baby steps towards what is being touted as the new normal with the caveat that we might not return to the lives that we lived in December for quite some time.

On some of my neighbourhood walks, I often come across images left behind as the lockdown descended: in one business, its windows bare, I can see a book hurriedly left on the counter with the word “heaven” in its title, an eerie film still from an apocalyptic movie. I’ve noticed neighbours bringing out their lawn chairs to sit in the sun in alleyways or the park, I’m not the only one to bring out a thermos of tea or coffee, a welcome break from our couches. When I look up on these daily walks, I see people perched on their balconies reading with a steaming cup of liquid nearby, they’ve inspired me to create a reading/tea nook on my own balcony, something I will work on this coming warm weekend.

I find I falter when I think too far ahead…it’s important to be prepared and have goals to jump-start when things settle  but the most pressing task for us all is to live in the moment, day to day, it’s all we can ask of ourselves. My goal is to close my eyes at the end of the day knowing I’ve reached out to everyone I need or want to, that I’ve tackled a small project or two and have thought of a new one.

There are days when I find it hard to keep motivated re: those daily solo walks but I keep pushing through the inertia and Covid-19 fatigue, this is a defining time for us all even if we didn’t cause or ask for this…there is grief woven through my days, too, as I think of all the unique human beings the world has lost. I try to honour my time here by appreciating each day even though it’s hard to keep calm and unafraid sometimes. The evaporating fragrance of my own cup of black tea challenges me to adapt, to breathe and let go.

I recall an exquisite shift last year in England on a walk down from an ancient castle through a tangled bit of woodland with Wood doves perched on winter limbs – my heart fluttered as I breathed in the sweet convergence of blessed peace, beauty and soaring harmony sensing with an inner knowledge that this could all slip away, sensing that a storm was coming and here it is.

Sometimes stone steps lead to blooming portals…I often pause here on my solo walks through Stanley Park (Vancouver, B.C.).

I pass this romantic offering on the Camellia Walkway just before those magical stone steps.

This enchanting capture just off the Camellia Walkway never fails to fill me with joy!

 

 

 

 

 

Posted in blog, journaling, life, memoir, photography | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 56 Comments

Pause

So the darkness shall be the light, and the stillness the dancing.” – T.S. Eliot

On a night of rain and whiskey, the raindrops and burn keep worry away during watershed days after the pandemic announcement that has stilled the world. We’ve all retreated to our homes and apartments to do our part in slowing down the spread of a deadly virus gone rogue. Staying in is definitely the new black…

My heart is warmed by more than the odd glass of creamy Irish whiskey, there is the nightly ritual (at 7pm) when our West End neighbourhood erupts into clapping, pot banging and cheers of support for our first responders and healthcare workers. Before that magical hour that I gladly participate in, the news is turned off and a CD put on as we dance and sing through our collection.

Days are spent tackling projects put off over the years as work hours and travel filled our lives – each morning is devoted to the task at hand while afternoons are set aside for daily walks and rare trips to our local grocery store.

In order to practice safe social distancing, I find myself walking quieter streets and lanes, counting every drifting cherry blossom, fragrant hyacinth and sunny daffodil. Park walks often entail exploring pathways and trails once avoided, there are many of us out there doing the same (exercising and getting some fresh air), lonely paths aren’t so lonely anymore and sometimes there are smiles.

Spring never fails to push away the darkness of winter and now, it tempers the toothy edges of an invisible enemy forcing us to dive deep, as it strips away the other masks we all wear, revealing who we truly are. We’ve already witnessed violence in our back alleyway – there was the shocking sound of screaming, blood and two large men fighting, one even body-slamming the other. It shattered a quiet spring afternoon and reminded us of the precariousness of the world right now. Thankfully, many neighbours jumped in to help and the police as well as an ambulance arrived promptly.

At the other end of the spectrum, someone has carefully and artistically created emotional signposts of encouragement, “it’s okay to feel what you’re feeling”, “I hope something good happens to you today”, pinning them to park tree trunks and telephone poles – on my daily walks I’ve come across two of them and they’ve made me smile.

This pause, although worrisome, has changed our sense of time as work and school days go on hiatus – our linear world stretched into a delicious spaciousness. On this long weekend usually set aside for religious gatherings and ceremonies, we hiked into the park to find some of that new found space. In front of a lone mottled stump, we laid a blanket down upon mossy, bright green grass to let all that is spring wash over us (to watch bees lazily fly by and enjoy the sun’s warm rays).

We can hear the low rumble of distant traffic and the odd boat horn on Burrard Inlet, otherwise the silence in between is heavenly. A thermos of rooibos chai tea is waiting to be served as hummingbirds launch themselves straight up to the sky. After a small cup of tea or two, we begin to think about packing up for a walk through the oxygen-rich forest aiming for Beaver Lake, to find a bench there and finish our thermos. As I took my last sip of tea, an eagle flew low over the ground not far from our blanket, and do you know what?, for a moment this pause forced upon us felt almost normal.

A beautiful capture near the Railway Café (closed due to the Covid-19 pandemic) where we picnic in the summer in Stanley Park (Vancouver, B.C.).

These gorgeous tulip trees stand beside the stone walkway overlooking a grove of cherry trees (this is what we can find waiting for us on our daily walks through the park!).

When I need to practice social distancing, I can climb up these stone stairs from the camellia walkway to let others pass. It’s a peaceful spot especially in the sun…

 

 

 

 

Posted in blog, journaling, life, memoir, photography, travel | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 37 Comments

Broken Clouds

Not All Storms Come To Disrupt Your Life…Some Come To Clear Your Path – Goalcast

New windows have been installed in our apartment rental and on rainy evenings I’ve noticed a different rhythm, a staccato beat as the drops strike a gentle lullaby before sleep takes over.

The noise, dust and disruption has chased us to Vancouver Island where we’ve found shelter in a woodland studio amid towering cedar and gnarly arbutus. Winter sunlight has graced us twice resulting in languid walks through beloved forest trails and on the windswept beach where swathes of drying seaweed resemble undulating dunes.

This sylvan retreat guarantees respite from broken clouds – late winter storms and the warning whispers of an impending pandemic. There have been many stolen hours without the worrisome news, time spent walking, drinking coffee and cups of fragrant rooibos tea as the sun comes out to paint the dark green leaves of the many trees silver. We’ve arrived at a different time of year on this indulgent trip and these last days of winter have brought some unexpected delights – being woken each morning by the haunting call of a raven, the blue sky overhead filled with playful eagles calling out to each other and clear nights for stargazing with only the glowing moon to light the way through quiet forest paths.

It’s these delights now that calm me as the world holds its breath as an unleashed pandemic runs its course…

I’ve been for many walks in nature looking for love and human contact albeit at 6 feet apart on forest trails and by the ocean nearer to home – I found it observing a woman praying on a bench facing the sea, in words traced in the sand, “Have a good day”, coming upon solo picnics in the park and people tucked away among the trees, sitting on fallen stumps with their books and take-out coffee cups nearby.

We are doing well at the moment; we make a big pot of homemade vegetable soup (Spinach & White Bean), decanting it to freeze for 7 or 8 lunches and lately, have gone back to our Mexican meals – making a batch of refried beans from scratch to accompany omelettes, quesadillas and yummy fish tacos.

Each time I go out for a wander, I’m drawn to a grocery store or small ethnic convenient store where I find the item I used to buy regularly – most of them lost to panic buying -items that are kept on a wish list I carry inside my head and I’m grateful. We will get through this, find ourselves on the other side, find another pause filled with wonder and relief.

A driftwood fort constructed on Rathtrevor Beach near Parksville on Vancouver Island, British Columbia.

On a walk back from the forest to our woodland studio at Tigh-Na-Mara, we came upon heaps of dry seaweed on Rathrevor Beach.

At this time of year (late winter) we noticed a lot of black rabbits and burrows scattered throughout the natural vegetation in Rathrevor Park.

Covid-19 update: I was sad to hear that ferry service to the part of Vancouver Island we love the most has been suspended for 60 days, another step in holding the line against an invisible enemy.

 

 

 

Posted in blog, journaling, life, memoir, photography, travel | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 77 Comments

Deep Time

Thou art the journey and the journey’s end.” – Michael Mayne Dean 1986-96, noted in Westminster Abbey, London, England.

Our time in London was spent in a beautiful family-owned modern flat in the Docklands area near North Greenwich – on our first day we found ourselves jumping onto a Thames Clipper boat, a sleek machine that takes one up and down the river. Along the way, there were many sights and bridges to take in while sipping on a creamy English hot chocolate, perfect on a misty winter morning. We got off at Westminster to go on a whirlwind walk through the iconic city on New Year’s Eve day, on the hunt for some craft beer to try – most pubs were closing at 3 pm to get ready for the night’s celebrations, we finally found one, a modern-looking affair called the Bridge Tap before heading back to the flat. It was wonderful to sit for awhile and take it all in! The next day or so were spent on a Big Bus Tour, another Thames Clipper boat jaunt to Westminster to take in some of the New Year’s Day parade and exploring the enchantment that is Convent Garden. It’s hard to believe that on the day we landed at Gatwick airport, we ended up on a lovely drive through the English countryside of Surrey and Kent after a filling homemade traditional English breakfast. The sun came out just for us, revealing winding roads and hidden valleys on our way to a castle by a lake.

At this moment, after a day spent wandering through Westminster Abbey and along the river, I don’t want to think about time winding down, however, the Tower of London and another tasty meal at a pub or restaurant awaits us before we take the train back to Surrey. We have spent time in some unique pubs, some wearing their long histories well and others sporting a more modern look. London is a popular destination for many travellers at this time of year and at most of the pubs we found ourselves in, some menu items could not be had as the establishment had run out of bread or had simply run out of food! The dear staff although weary, “carried on” and left us with some wonderful memories.

Some of those memories are now stitched into my soul – falling asleep with the blind up and window open to watch the tide gently roll in and hear the boats chiming upon each incoming wavelet, their sound a gentle lullaby after a busy day of sight-seeing. One of my favourite memories is a steam-punk moment, looking up above busy London peppered with medieval buildings, I saw quite a few airplanes crossing the sky, some leaving intricate designs in their contrail wakes – one even created a pattern of a cross!

The scent of wood smoke weaved through our senses on the days we spent with family in Surrey and in London, the sweet candy-like scent of caramelised peanuts and almonds infused the cool air on walks through ancient history. Other tangible moments never to be forgotten – the facets and sparkle of the Royal Crown jewels displayed in London Tower, the raucous calls of the Tower Ravens, birds that seemed twice as large as our own West Coast ravens and the graceful dance of a flock of starlings above the waves rolling in from the Channel beside colourful Brighton Pier where we gambled for awhile with 1 pence coins.

London is a city awash in colours of cream, dark brown and matte black with shocks of spring-like green and after a rainfall, it just shimmers. A magical city that burrows under one’s skin, resulting in a recent trek to a downtown candy store in my own city where I bought creamy English chocolate, longing to return.

Our lovely view from the flat on the Thames, the fabulous O2 is just minutes away and our favourite fusion restaurant, Wagamama! I had a wander through Paper Chase and came away with some unique stationery items.

Iconic captures from our Big Bus tour through London, it gave us a great overview of this magical city.

We never tired of these stunning views outside our Big Bus windows, I can hardly wait to go back!

An outside view of the Prospect of Whitby pub where we tried a London Pale Ale glass with lunch!

Our time in London was pre-pandemic, so much has now changed or is changing daily there and all over the world – I hope this note finds you all well, thank you so much for all your support and kind words as I wander safely through our WordPress world!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Posted in blog, journaling, life, memoir, photography, travel | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 37 Comments

Shard

A piece of the world fell today

in the form of an ink-black crow,

falling swiftly upon a city grate

its voice silenced forever.

Other pieces fall in the form of fire

supplanting summer’s eternal beauty,

fall in the form of cyclone bombs

unleashing ceaseless rain,

and then there are the countless lives lost

to war, famine and disease.

I walk in what’s left of this world

noting every spring flower and blossom

hoping they can stem the tide and heal

what might be forever lost.

A piece of the world fell today…

The Shard building never failed to shine, its beauty coloured our days in London, England no matter the weather!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Posted in blog, photography, poetry, travel | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 47 Comments

London Calling (Nov/Dec)

A pub can be a magical place” – Rhys Ifan (a lovely quote found on a signboard at the George Pub in London, UK)

The scent of sweet maple and evergreen commingle on dry November days not seen in decades making walks through the forest a sensory delight. There are still drifts of orange and burgundy lying in fairy rings below almost bare trees, the neighbourhood crows tossing the abandoned leaves about as they forage – this November weather providing an embarrassment of riches for all winged and furry creatures before the bite of winter descends.

We are on the eve of travelling back east to spend part of the upcoming holiday season with family with a first time visit to London, England to catch up with other members, some for the very first time – a winter holiday like no other! I imagine returning home, my inner world changed and rearranged, filled with whirling mosaics of new sights and sounds.

Sitting here now at YVR (Vancouver) airport, we are bundled up for the colder temperatures to come, the apartment locked up and tidy- we have lovely neighbours looking after our boisterous spider plants and keeping an eye on our front door ( thank you dear Huguette and Trevor!) as we’ll be gone for almost a month.

After a smooth flight, we land at YYZ (Toronto) to begin the first part of our journey, it starts with a wonderful road trip up north to Haliburton, Ontario among lakes and forest, part of the rugged Canadian Shield. With holiday carols playing on the radio we pass lovely homes festooned in bright red ribbons some with cheerful inflated winter figures waving as we pass by. As we got closer to our destination, we came upon a small century old church with a delicate stained-glass window sitting by the road in a winter wonderland. This part of the world guarantees a magical Christmas feeling everywhere you look! In front of a warm fire, the first breath of true winter arrived amid the light and sparkle as fresh glasses of rose-coloured wine over ice were sipped, laughter and reminiscing filling the air. The next day, we were delighted to see wild turkeys on the property, their dark feathers in stark contrast against the downy snowdrifts.

Christmas Day finds us in Paris, Ontario at the stone house that wants to be a farm on a country road surrounded by leafless birch and evergreen. We stayed two nights and heard the Great Horned owl hooting in the large walnut tree before we closed our eyes. Our days were filled with tasty slices of turkey, squares of delicious egg casserole and glasses of dark red wine. Seventeen people sat down for Christmas dinner, four tables set with pewter chargers ready for laden antique blue and white plates, the dining room glowing with lit lanterns on each table. On our last night, Longfellow, formerly a stray cat, graced our bed for a few hours, his purrs sending us off to restorative sleep.

Other days were spent in Ajax, Ontario on the edge of Lake Ontario walking the family dog through woodland touched with ice. After a good meal, we often settled in to watch movies, hockey and basketball on TV with a glass of Harp Lager anticipating our impending trip to London. As we pack for the next part of our journey, we’re feeling very relaxed and blessed to have spent time with family this holiday season.

On our first day in England, sunshine and a wander through the romantic 750 year old Hever Castle (once the home of Anne Boleyn) set amid 125 lovely acres near Edenbridge, Kent.

These glorious arches were captured on the beautiful grounds of Hever Castle.

On our last day in England on yet another sunny day, we wandered through the ruins of Bodiam Castle near Robertsbridge in East Sussex, England. This pictureesque castle was built around 1385!

A view to the courtyard through stunning arches before climbing the towers and exploring secret places!

 

Posted in blog, journaling, life, memoir, photography, travel | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 44 Comments

Crows & Leaves

On a bare branch a crow is perched – autumn evening.” – Basho

It’s the first day that feels like fall – we woke to a tropical-like rainfall that fell in cool, misty sheets rendering the dark green forest in tones of grey. Outside there was a flurry of feathers as crow, gull, and wee sparrow raced for cover, the languorous days of summer becoming a distant memory.

There are four apples from this year’s harvest waiting in the crisper, to be eaten on a day that still feels like summer as we walk through that same forest restored to lush green. Summer and fall feel like two different worlds, seasons embracing light as well as darkness, reminding me of the journeys we take each day whether out in nature or in the man-made worlds of the cities and towns we live in, it’s the shifting shadows we encounter that reveal these differing worlds. At this time of year I prefer to spend as much time as possible in nature’s world, marvelling at the too many blades of grass still to count, the many falling leaves to keep track of and birds flying free through the air.

That luminous day of apple eating has not come to pass, the months of September and October unfolding in storms and lashing rain. Three seasons of summers past now known as fire season have resulted in quite a few trees having to be taken down, their root systems weakened by previous drought-like conditions. Whenever I hear the sound of chain saws outside our windows, I wonder what beautiful tree will be missing from our neighbourhood – several catalpa trees have gone and just recently, a large chestnut and a dying silver birch. Lately, after stormy weather, I’ve noticed tangled limbs and mossy branches lying on the grass often surrounded by yellow caution tape, ready to be dealt with by our city workers.

Among the crows and leaves are lovely glimpses of grace – dear Charlotte (a neighbour of my Mom’s) sitting on a bench facing a calm English Bay, my late father’s walker by her side (a timely gift given when I found out that her own walker had broken), the sweet calico cat who walks down our street, trotting behind her owners’ as they step out for coffee, claiming a spot underneath a hedge until they head back home and on a recent stormy day, small tornadoes of glowing leaves swirling amid gale force winds, an ancient dance heralding the arrival of winter. Crows and leaves, forever weaving a skein of magic that never fails to enchant…

Some of that autumn magic captured on a beautiful trail that leads to Brockton Oval in Stanley Park (Vancouver, B.C.).

Stellar jays have come down from the mountains to feast on the nuts and berries of the forest, we can hear there raucous calls throughout the West End!

In almost every direction, our eyes are greeted by glorious colour! We are currently enjoying a record-breaking 13 dry days in a row…

 

 

 

Posted in blog, journaling, life, memoir, photography, travel | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 32 Comments

Longing

Every leaf speaks bliss to me. Fluttering from the autumn tree.” – Emily Bronte, “Fall , Leaves, Fall”

During the last days of summer, I decided a wander through the tiny garden patchwork of our neighbourhood and the still lush green canopy of the forest would still the longing for a season not yet passed.

The community garden at the edge of the park that once showcased stunning lilies and a swathe of fragrant sweet pea vines, now welcomes a multitude of berry-coloured rosehips, jewel-like berries and gently swaying sunflowers. There is still enough colour to attract bumblebees and butterflies – the sunny yellows, cobalt blue and creamy pinks reminding me to gather up these remaining summer days, to keep them close even as the uppermost leaves of the rain deprived trees start to change.

My feet took me on a different route today through the tall firs and cedars to my writerly spot at the Urban Forest Café (soon to close for the season and be reborn in October under a different moniker). The path I walked skirted the Rose Garden where the many bushes still held their showy blooms sharing that heavenly scent, at the end of that magical meander, I came upon a Narnia-like lamppost I must have walked by many times, never noticing the simple plaque at the base. It originally stood illuminating the Georgia Viaduct downtown before being restored and donated to Stanley Park, its carved stone and milky globe whispering gently of a storied past.

The late summer breeze carried the clean country scent of the Mounted Police horses stabled nearby as I breathed in pure oxygen mingled with the mystery of the trees, their aromatic oil tickling my nostrils as they soothed longings not ready to be named yet. I’ve sat here at the café at least once a month this season to write on these pages with a golden chai tea dancing on my taste buds surrounded by greenery, cheeky black crows and today, a mama raccoon ambled by my small table with 6 babies in tow!

This last week of true summer is warmer than normal and the coolness of this green space is an oasis from the bright sun. It’s been a pleasure to find myself here, reading a few pages from a recently found book on a library visit or writing down thoughts inspired by a forest garden nestled near a vibrant city. There is news that our part of the world may be in for a wetter fall than normal, so any burgeoning longing will have to be put away for another day, it’s time to get out there.

No matter the season, the forest is full of magic here in Stanley Park (Vancouver, B.C.).

Sitting on a bench in the heavenly Rose Garden, one can find windows into other worlds!

With Halloween just around the corner, this Chinese carved dragon looking towards the North Shore (located near the seawall at the edge of Stanley Park) adds an atmospheric note!

Posted in blog, journaling, life, memoir, photography, travel | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 45 Comments