Moved By Beauty

Though we travel the world over to find the beautiful, we must carry it with us or we find it not.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson

Our early spring days still feel very winter-like, it’s cold in the mornings and throughout the night, warmer temperatures rising just after lunch. So on the first day of a sunny stretch we find ourselves on the ferry heading once again to Vancouver Island to enjoy a few days of rest and relaxation at Tigh-Na-Mara. Four months since our last sojourn have resulted in a new wrinkle to navigate, ferry delays and cancellations due to staff shortages, a phenomenon currently sweeping the earth but we were lucky – calm waters and a functioning ferry helped us arrive on time!

Day one of our spring break and we’re sitting at a lichen covered weathered picnic table listening to two majestic pine trees, their dark coloured cones beginning to open up underneath the warm sun. Several pine cones already spent, their seeds on journeys we can only imagine, have fallen on green grass hosting daisies and buzzing bees. There is also the sound of birds, a large raven’s black wings as he flies by and the swift flight of an American Kestrel hawk – we are in one of our favourite spots, a peaceful meadow located in Rathtrevor Park.

This trip has brought us some sweet surprises – we have met lots of lovely people and an outdoor picnic on-site spontaneously provided a dinner gift from the resident chef (Eric). The food portions on offer are quite generous and we each had a delicious turkey baguette half to savour from the night before at a picnic table not far from our bungalow nestled in the woods. It sits near a barbecue area facing a group of log built studios and one bedroom units amid a forest of pine and arbutus. The bluebird sky above, sunshine and a lone raven were the perfect companions. When the chef and two team members arrived, we were puzzled – platters of colourful salads and vegetables were carried over to the empty picnic table behind us on a grassy area populated by resting deer at dusk. A picnic basket with a bright red and white checked cloth spilling out added to the romantic tableau while a fellow chef grilled up a bowl of glistening shrimp and a tart lemon with a side of Naan bread.

Worried that we might be in their way we offered to move but all was well, they were setting up for a social media shoot showcasing part of a wedding package on offer – an intimate barbecue that could be enjoyed by the wedding party and guests. As we breathed in the fragrance of gently grilled herbs and lemon, we all got to talking and Tigh-Na-Mara’s marketing staff person asked if she could take a picture of us with Chef Eric for social media, celebrating our long acquaintance with this beautiful resort we’ve been visiting since the 90’s. Chef Eric then announced that dinner would be on him that evening, drinks and all. What an unexpected gesture! That night we feasted on slices of Italian flatbread, a plate of barbecued ribs for Terry while I tucked into some lightly spiced salt and pepper chicken wings accompanied by two large glasses of cold beer. And yes, we were able to dig into another outdoor leftover lunch at our picnic table the next day with a tasty take-out pizza freshly prepared and baked in their large pizza oven. Heavenly…

We haven’t been on the Island in early spring since March 2020 so we were delighted to see the tide way out allowing walks home from the forest on packed sand rather than the narrow rocky strip left when the tide hugs the shoreline. There were small tidal pools to explore, beachcombing and abstract art to admire in the form of bright green and translucent seaweed lying abandoned among hundreds of pieces of driftwood. Human artistic endeavors could be seen too – brightly coloured plastic pails and shovels left strewn on the wet sand amid half-finished sand castles awaiting towers and turrets.

The word reset has been our mantra this week as spring emerges from the grip of winter giving us a chance to dream and plan for the warmer days to come. We leave tomorrow for the mainland and the dangers those warm spring days might bring have already begun – several wildfires are burning in our province as we sit inside our forest bungalow on a rainy day, reading and writing with cups of coffee and tea nearby while flames dance in the fireplace, moved by the beauty outside our windows knowing we cannot hold on too tight.

The beginning of our reset with a resident owl above, a welcome neighbour!

A timely bench at the end of a woodland trail that takes one to the entrance to Rathtrevor Park.

We decided to explore and revisit this delightful vintage general store not far from the park entrance!

After a long walk through the forest we walked home each day via Rathrevor Beach rather than walk up the woodland trail.

After our beach walks home, we were greeted with this beautiful vista each day at Tigh-Na-Mara from the newly built gazebo!

We currently stay in the studio bungalows nestled in the forest, this is the view that lucky condo unit guests get to enjoy each day (there are beautiful snowcapped mountains in the background).

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Tea Journeys – Part Three

All journeys have secret destinations of which the traveler is unaware.” – Martin Buber

Recently running into my neighbour Huguette resulted in a lovely late afternoon sojourn in a tiny coffee bar on Denman St. called Cafe Portrait. It has served us well offering tasty breakfasts, rich Turkish coffees for Huguette and lightly spiced Chai tea lattes for me – today I wanted to try an herbal tea. It was a chance to take in the wonderful portraits painted by the owner hanging above handmade wooden and blown glass tabletops. A chance to catch up and unwind…

Huguette ordered her beloved Turkish coffee which arrived with an exquisite square of their popular Turkish Delight while I chose a rooibos tea, the light steam from my cup releasing fragrant tropical and floral notes. We shared a delicious slice of loaf, the taste of chocolate and vanilla dancing on our tongues as the afternoon deepened – inspiring this post and promising more visits to come.

A trio of female portraits quietly observing happy patrons at Cafe Portrait!

A tiny corner hosts more colourful portraits with coffee mugs and other souvenir items for sale.

This dashing character is the coffee bar’s signature portrait, it holds beautiful copper topped pens and of course, I couldn’t resist buying one!

I’m back at Veranda Cafe sipping on another creamy hot chocolate, thoughts of a soothing cup of green tea forgotten – there was bright sunshine earlier in the afternoon but now it’s hidden behind dark clouds against the winter sky. Three weeks ago in early February, we unexpectedly lost a gentle neighbour in a way that has left several us grieving and traumatized. Tenants come and go in our rental building but a core group of us have known each other almost forever – Niall and I exchanged holiday cards each year and he was very supportive when my father (also a tenant) passed away several years ago. A dear friend reached out and came by to whisk me away from the tragedy and we ended up on a gloriously sunny day across the bay to walk on paths not tread on in years wishing that our troubled neighbour had only waited a few more hours…

It was just what I needed; new faces, sights and sounds to focus on – stumbling upon a miniscule hole in the wall cafe (Viva Cafe and Bakery) just off famous Kits Beach turned out to be a welcome respite. What a surprise to find out the cafe was participating in the annual Hot Chocolate Festival (something I’ve always wanted to check out). Yvonne treated me to a subtly spiced Mexican style hot chocolate that came with a very spicy mango jam filled chocolate dipped cookie, yum! We sat outside at a quiet table facing the street taking time to remember Niall while watching the world stroll by.

A photo of Veranda Cafe’s delicious hot chocolate sitting on top of their iconic red topped table!

It’s March 1st and I went for a lovely winter walk this afternoon by the edge of the park, counting fallen trees and debris on the damp ground after a second snowstorm which left swathes of clean white snow on neighbouring rooftops and painted the dark green forest in buttercream frosting. It was sad to see tiny brown pine cones scattered at the base of trees whose limbs broke off due to the wet snow and relentless wind. The only solace was seeing small birds, cheeky robins and quiet Varied thrush foraging through the remains, kindly providing shelter and creating a food source.

I was on my way to do some recycling before the next snowfall and afterwards, on my way home got caught in a hail storm – thank goodness for winter jacket hoods, it allowed me to enjoy the tiny white pellets bouncing off me and find the forcefulness of this unexpected torrent exhilarating! And now I’m home drinking a warm cup of chai rooibos tea looking out at a winter sky dark with gathering clouds and listening to the evening song of a robin nearby as our wind chimes begin to move in the wind.

I’m dedicating this post in memory of our artistic neighbour Niall with a birthday shout-out to another dear neighbour, Huguette.

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Off The Wall

I wandered everywhere, through cities and countries wide. And everywhere I went, the world was on my side.” – Roman Payne, Rooftop Soliloquy

A comment this past fall regarding a funny moment I relayed to Mark of about our October trip to Vancouver Island led him to suggest I write a post about other “off the wall” moments, so here goes!

In the early 90’s we booked a spontaneous flight to Oahu and Maui (Hawaii) after 6 weeks of rain during a Vancouver summer that normally manifests in sunshine and warmth. It was lovely to land in Oahu and feel embraced by heat and light. On Maui in between checking out the sights (taking a tour of the famous highway to Hana and spending an afternoon of delight at a pineapple winery), sitting on the beach after breakfast and eating out (Moose McGillycuddy’s), we were looking forward to snorkeling in the magnificent blue water just off the beach at Lahaina Shores where we were staying.

A perfect day presented itself and we blissfully entered the water to check out the many colourful fish and towering yellow and linen coral structures, we were in about 6 feet of water and a few feet apart when I felt a hard nudge or bump against the back of my foot – my first thought was, shark! I didn’t panic and slowly raised my head to motion to Terry to head back to shore. We didn’t see any dark body or fin and laughingly breathed a sigh of relief. Imagine our shock when we returned home to hear an unsettling news item about the very waters we were snorkeling in, a rogue Tiger shark had been seen swimming off shore and had made contact with local surfers resulting in one fatality. To this day, I can still feel that curious, insistent nudge…

The beautiful Lahaina Shores condominium complex where we stayed on Maui.

It was blissful to walk on the soft sand or gaze out at the Pacific Ocean…

This quiet moment took our breath away!

After our one week stay on this incredible island, it was hard to leave and this capture says it all.

Many “off the wall” moments happened while we were living in Puerto Vallarta (Mexico), a place we visited often before taking the plunge which began in a lovely villa high up on a hill and ended in what we thought and hoped would be a cool apartment to live in. A paper notice pinned to a bulletin board at the local grocery store by the river led us to Suzanne, a very nice German girl vacating a large airy apartment above a spice shop, its bedroom windows overlooking an art gallery with one or two sculptures on display in the miniscule garden. We came to see the apartment on a beautiful sunny day and were utterly charmed – the clean white walls, dark brown shutters and warm coloured tiles in the kitchen and bathroom casting their spell. Our time at the sprawling villa was winding down and soon we would have to say goodbye to the gorgeous swimming pool and view of the bay, wave goodbye to the pretty green parrots that flew overhead almost daily and sigh over the loss of breakfast outside on the terrace. So we said yes and then reality reared its laughing head!

One of the first things we noticed was, there was no glass in the bedroom windows, just black iron security bars resulting in a quick purchase of two Mexican blankets from a store just down the street to keep us warm during the cooler nights (one of those very blankets keeps us warm on cold Vancouver nights!). Closing the shutters only kept curious wild possums from poking their inquisitive noses through the bars above our heads while they roamed across the red tiled rooftops below during the dark tropical nights.

When night did fall, we soon discovered that our airy dwelling was surrounded by four to five loud nightclubs and bars – we also found out very early on that our bathroom and kitchen walls were shared by the local Lion’s Club which held raucous wedding parties until 4 am! And when sleep finally came in the wee hours each new day, the city’s local buses would start their journeys at 6 am chasing what little sleep we managed to enjoy, away.

Two things saved those days so to speak and made our time in the apartment more tolerable – we started heading to Burro Beach each morning after breakfast to lay on the warm sand in the gentle light and catch up on some much needed sleep while our midnight hours were spent walking the quiet streets of our neighbourhood counting the street dogs lying on the pavement often after enjoying a cup of Mexican hot chocolate or a bottle of Mexican beer at a funky coffee bar called Viva Cafe. The friendly owner named Sonny kept his coffee bar open later just for us, the warm glow beyond the glass and colourful walls providing a sense of peace allowing us to leave the cacophony behind.

This first apartment in Mexico provided many “off the wall” moments – other highlights included a variety of visiting insects; an army of large black ants in perfect formation managed to enter our home determined to make a new home while termites crunched and moved inside two wooden flower paintings on the wall. We had a nasty shock one morning when the bed collapsed onto the red tiled floor due to more termite activity, luckily the round rock that every home seems to have in Puerto Vallarta to keep the front door open to capture the ocean breeze came in handy to bang the post and frame together once again! We were so worried, concerned that we might have an unexpected purchase to make far from home.

Despite some bumps in the road, we were left with rich memories of our time spent in both paradises and continue to welcome the beauty before us as well as “off the wall” moments, knowing that they are just as meaningful…

Villa Lucero was a magical place to start our adventure…

These are two of our favourite views! The first one is the tropical setting for morning breakfasts and the next is of glorious Banderas Bay…

Here is our colourful makeshift bed underneath the glassless windows in our first apartment in Puerto Vallarta!

These pretty tiles captured our imagination in the bathroom and kitchen…

Our apartment building is just across the street from the funky coffee shop that added a heartwarming layer to our first three month stay in Puerto Vallarta!

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Tea Journeys – Part Two

I like the pause that tea allows.” – Waris Ahluwalia


It’s the first week of November and I’m sitting in an airy gallery space with a real china cup filled with a creamy hot chocolate (purchased from a tiny in-house Italian coffee bar called Sciue) instead of a fragrant tea.

The temperature has dropped resulting in a multitude of colourful falling leaves and frosty mornings – sipping hot chocolate at a small bistro table after wandering through the current art exhibit at the Pendulum Gallery, a perfect downtown activity.

Large canvases, unique sculptures and photographs showcase local artist’s creativity and talent, this free art exhibit an offshoot of the yearly Eastside Culture Crawl.

I may not be indulging in a cup of tea but the pause this delicious hot chocolate allows means I’ll revisit this space again when there’s a new exhibit to take in.

This tiny coffee bar also serves tasty pizza slices and other goodies for hungry art patrons!

I did return to take in another exhibit and enjoy part of the exquisite Floral Trail to celebrate the holiday season.

Tigh-Na-Mara Coffee Bar

In late November we find ourselves back on Vancouver Island tucked into another studio bungalow to experience more long walks through the forest and by the ocean. At the ferry terminal, an older woman or rather, her striped woolen socks caught my eye. Pretty autumn colours in pink, mustard and burgundy flashed from the tops of her worn dark coloured boots. She was prepared (as we all were) for the first significant snowfall of the season due to fall the next day. She quietly read her beloved newspaper while gulls wheeled outside the waiting room windows as bright sunshine made a mockery of the wintry weather to come.

Snow began to fall gently the next morning after our arrival dusting the rooftops of the many log structures and debris strewn ground from a recent windstorm. Morning tea and coffee were enjoyed inside this visit as delicate white flakes thickened and began to accumulate. By nightfall the holiday lights added an enchanting note to white flocked trees flanking quiet roads – our time here will welcome a new month with a wintry season arriving in just a few weeks.

There are delicious freshly baked muffins to buy at the miniscule coffee bar operating out of the professional kitchen and we picked up four (the Morning Glory ones are a favourite!) for the mornings in making our own fragrant coffee and organic blended black tea. The colder weather keeps us inside before lunch but afterwards we bundle up to go on hardy walks through the forest before returning to our cozy studio for another cup of goodness to warm our souls.

The coffee bar is closed but leaves one with a beautiful quote to ponder.

We walked nightly through a winter wonderland for a pint and a warm meal! Cedars Restaurant just glowed…

Faubourg Paris – Boulangerie . Patisserie

I’m sitting outside just before sunset on a mid-December day at a sweet coffee place downtown where I was taken to last spring to celebrate my May birthday. I’ve thought about the lavender rooibos tea and buttery croissant ever since! So after a leisurely stroll through two art galleries and taking in some of the yearly festive Floral Trail (gazing at lushly decorated floral arches and displays) I’ve ordered the same delights surrounded by twinkling lights, real and faux berry studded greenery. The city is alive with holiday shoppers and visitors. It’s rather refreshing to sit outside at one of the small tables and write a few lines…

My walk home underneath a canopy of sparkling green and white lights with darkness descending was enchanting and knowing that a soothing cup of tea awaited me made this solo adventure even sweeter!

The entrance to the Vancouver Art Gallery was festooned with floral beauty and the snowy streets added another layer bringing the holidays to life.

What a lovely floral invitation to tea, I enjoyed every minute…

A shout out to Kate of who commented that my beverage of choice doesn’t always have to be tea and I agree, it’s the pause that means the most!

May there be many beautiful pauses in your world in the coming new year…

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Tea Journeys – Part One

I’m re-blogging this post from the vault in anticipation of some unique tea journeys I plan to indulge in next month resulting in a Part Two – Vancouver has several new tea spots to explore and I want to visit one each week, some are a city walk away and others will be reached by transit!


Day after day we live on the edge of time. Sun and moon go as they may. Heaven and Earth change freely. With each cup of tea, I experience the birth of the universe. With each sip a new beginning. If you ask me to explain, I need only invite you to drink tea.” – The Minister of Travel

Recently while heading to a coffee bar with my mom, we ran into another neighbour of ours, Suzanne. She was on her way to the “Four Seasons” gathering at Huguette’s – where four dear friends come together to speak French, eat delicious food and toast the season. What I love about this celebration is that each friend hosts a different season! It is always a delight to be invited to Huguette’s apartment, her home is filled with bright colour, well read books, candles and an always listening ear. Her decorated…

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genius loci (the spirit of a place)

If you’re John Muir you want trees to live among. If you’re Emily, a garden will do. Try to find the right place for yourself. If you can’t find it, at least dream of it.” – Mary Oliver, Felicity

Tomorrow, we leave for the Island (Vancouver Island) to savour what we all hope will be the last days of a summer that has lingered long into October. A wet spring delayed fire season this year, its appearance now leaving us with smoky skies, eerie red moons and rosy sunsets,

Hopping on transit and eventually walking on to the ferry at Horseshoe Bay went smoothly and we eagerly looked forward to disembarking on the other side. We enjoyed a delicious salmon burger on board sharing a fresh green salad and a side of tasty French fries. The sun continued to shine strong despite smoke drifting over from Vancouver and up from Seattle (Washington) – as we neared the city of Nanaimo at Departure Bay, we were rewarded with several blows from a Humpback whale who eventually dived showing its broad tail, bestowing good luck (and so far, we’ve been blessed with warm sunshine with little smoke).

Our studio bungalow nestled in the forest at Tigh-Na-Mara has been a lovely bolt hole – it’s been almost two years since we were here last and we happily re-visited favourite trails (with “Caution, Bear in Area” signs posted) sitting on benches by the ocean and near a small crabapple orchard surrounded by tall cedar trees.

A delightful new find was coming across a wild apple tree rising above rose bushes awash in dark red rosehips, what drew us to this magical tree growing by the windswept forest across from the strait was an area of summer’s end grasses flattened by resting deer. The shiny red apples glowing in the sunshine teased us; there were a few on the ground with nibbles and bites and the ones we yearned for, much too high. A young girl picnicking with her mom nearby, came close holding a plastic football – she was also eyeing the lovely fruit, guess what happened next? We suggested she throw her ball at the laden branches to see if some might fall and we were rewarded with a few good ones. After her successful launch she returned to the picnic with her prizes, and we continued to add to our own bounty – the apples reminded us of Galas but tasted much drier on the tongue. After a long walk through the forest and park, the afternoon interlude harkened back to the days when this area (Rathtrevor Park) was a farm, the seaside apple tree seemingly far away from its orchard roots.

On other walks, we heard sleek seals barking out in the Salish Sea (Georgia Strait) fishing while dark ravens startled us with their deep, loud calls amid treefrog and towhee choruses – silver birch trees shed their golden leaves gently as towering green cedars dropped russet brown cones, too many to count beneath their boughs. It’s the spirit of this place that keeps calling us back…

Behind our studio (located in a small community of log-built structures), is a tangle of woodland consisting of mature cedars, birch trees as well as arbutus saplings. There are golden leaves and strips of brick red bark (from arbutus trees) scattered among pale rocks and dark soil. It was a joy to step outside on the patio with the last sips of morning tea, to walk amid the beauty around me and anticipate the day. In front of our small complex, we discovered a curving path strewn with crunchy leaves and pinecones that brought us quickly to our front door, adding an atmospheric layer to our stay!

On our last morning, we left the Island to return home, knowing that another element of genius loci awaited us – the same ocean and a very different forest on our doorstep to reacquaint ourselves with. And as I sit here at Veranda drinking a creamy hot chocolate on a very blessed rainy day, I find myself looking forward to a fall that has finally arrived in all its glory.

This amazing vista never fails to capture our imagination, it’s one of our favourite beachside walks!

Here’s just one welcoming bench at the edge of Rathtrevor Park near Parksville across from the Salish Sea, we sat on several and enjoyed the many views.

Here are some of the apples we collected from the wild apple tree sitting on our picnic table in front of the tangle of woodland I enjoyed each morning while sipping my tea.

This wild coast is the “spirit of a place” we love, it keeps calling us back!

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Travel brings power and love back into your life.” – Rumi

After almost three years of not flying we find ourselves above a dry patch of land with snow capped Mt. Baker (Washington) rising above dark blue winding rivers. There is some green to gaze upon but nothing compared to the lush rainforest we’ve left behind. We are on a whirlwind trip to Ontario to celebrate a special birthday and spend time with loved ones much missed these past few years.

After what feels like a quick flight (4 hours and 1 minute) thanks to the jet stream, we land at Toronto’s Pearson Airport to relative calm – the horror of hundreds of abandoned suitcases not seen with the usual airport activity seemingly stilled. A promising start to a long anticipated getaway…

It was a joy to arrive at home base in Ajax, to hug sisters and brothers, nephews and nieces all the while thinking about the upcoming party. Our visit was a surprise as well as the arrival of two beloved grandchildren (our great nephew and niece) from the UK whom we last saw in 2020. They fell into conversation with their Canadian cousins without skipping a beat!

A few highlights that stand out from our trip include a warm summer evening sitting at the new city square listening to a local 70’s cover band with a cold can of local craft beer while watching the sky for a severe storm that manifested on our last night in a torrent of rain, lightning and thunder. We were lucky – some parts of Ontario experienced tornado activity resulting in property damage and blackouts. The power outage we experienced didn’t last long upstaging the lit candles and glowing lanterns, it was exciting to watch the storm unfold in the semi-darkness with our bedroom window shutters opened wide.

Earlier in the week, we hopped onto the Go Train heading to downtown Toronto and got a bird’s eye view of several towns before the railway tracks and graffiti announced that Union Station (the last stop) was minutes away. A colourful outdoor festival greeted us at the station with happy patrons sitting in the beer garden surrounded by the fragrant aroma of good eats, summer in the city doesn’t get much better than this! The heat and humidity kept us to the many parklets dotting the lake, their shady interiors and worn benches inviting us to sit awhile. I wanted to wander through the beautiful Toronto Musical Garden after having seen footage of it on a documentary about ageless gardens. Its winding paths, grassy tiers providing seating for music lovers and views of sparkling water peppered with weathered metal sculptures and natural stone didn’t disappoint. Eating an ice cream cone with flavours reminiscent of cottage country (S’Mores) on the way to the garden added a delicious whimsical note.

Flying back home in the evening meant we could chase the rosy glow of a summer sunset against the twilight sky across Canada with images of the lake, gardens and family fun dancing in our heads!

Walking by Union Station with the iconic CN Tower in the distance, the colour and energy of a big city is intoxicating!

Terry’s brother Garth met us at the station on his bike and took us to this sweet dog park, one of several parklets to offer us respite!

This stunning capture was taken at the edge of the Toronto Musical Garden, what a lovely spot to wander through sheltered from the heat and humidity of the city.

We sat on a bench on the boulevard hugging Lake Ontario and enjoyed everything this wonderful city has to offer!

The next day we continued exploring shady parklets with more musical influences before heading to Ajax with a stop to buy some beautiful bouquets for the birthday celebration.

This post is dedicated to my wild hood friend, Patricia, who left us much too soon on her own flight August 05, 2022.

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Rhododendron Series (Part Two)

We know that in September, we will wander through the warm winds of summer’s wreckage. We will welcome summer’s ghost.” – Henry Rollins

Their voices are rusty but true after two years of silence, the yearly Strawberry Summer Party (formerly the Strawberry Festival) held at Barclay Square having been cancelled due to the pandemic to protect the vulnerable seniors who volunteer and those who are now singing songs that reach back reminding me of my own childhood and beloved grandparents.

I’ve missed spooning out delicious plump strawberries bathed in cool whipped cream on top of golden shortcake, it’s a joy to indulge today amid all these happy faces on a lush green expanse underneath the summer sun. What a beautiful start to summer…

A beautiful red camellia and rhododendron bush appear forever entwined just off a magical path in Stanley Park.

Apartment towers can be seen just beyond the Rhododendron Garden, this lush beauty is just steps away from where we live!

We just discovered a tuck shop (where passersby can buy an ice cream treat) at the miniature golf course where these beautiful rhododendrons stand sentinel!
The Camellia path offers glimpses of wild beauty on solo walks, it’s hard to believe that the Pacific Ocean is minutes away…

Coming across these stunning orange blooms is always a welcome surprise in the Rhododendron Garden!

Just behind this magnificent Gunnera is a plethora of lovely rhododendron bushes delighting the eye with promises of a beautiful summer!
Our favourite park gardener laid this flat stone at the end of the Rhododendron Garden for photographers to stand on, what a great idea!
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Rhododendron Series (Part One)

May, and after a rainy spring we walk streets gallant with rhododendrons.” – Alicia Suskin Ostriker

As of this writing, many countries have lost their traditional seasons (spring/summer) due to war, climate change destruction (fire and floods) and changing weather patterns…here in our province (British Columbia) winter has lingered through spring and like the above quote, has left our landscape gallant with rhododendrons!

A gorgeous dark pink rhododendron captured on the sea wall overlooking Coal Harbour in Stanley Park.

At the end of our street is a lovely wide path that accommodates bikers and walkers, this pink beauty guards a hidden pond across from Lost Lagoon.

Our cooler spring has resulted in lush abundance amid vibrant green here in the Rhododendron Garden.

A riot of purple near two tall tree trunks is what greets golfers on the course just beyond the Rhododendron Garden.

We love the beauty of the various pink and white blooms but when we come across the oranges, corals and brick red ones, it takes our breath away!

Many rhododendrons are years old and have grown in wild ways creating heavenly canopies, their delicate floral scent fills the air creating another layer of enchantment…

This lovely capture reminds us that this beautiful garden is tucked into an urban forest, we walk on this path often and sometimes spy a coyote on her morning walk!
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This being human is a guest house. Every morning a new arrival.” – Rumi

Reading Rumi’s beautiful quote on a deep winter day disguised as spring made me laugh out loud! Every morning since the world paused I’ve woken up a new arrival adapting to ways of being not experienced in my lifetime and now seemingly overnight just as hope tentatively returns to our world, an ugly conflict half way across the world has ignited an almost forgotten fight or flight response.

To chase away thoughts of war, a sunny weekend day found us sitting on the worn bleachers at Brockton Oval in the park after a delicious lunch outside at Lumbermen’s Arch concession. Our vista against the backdrop of snow-capped mountains and green forest is filled with murmuring Canada geese, happy dogs chasing brightly coloured balls and people running or walking the oval track. A group of four with their small black dog spread out a feast on the lone picnic table and took turns running a mile or two before indulging. Above, against a sky not graced with instruments of war, we watched five Bald eagles lazily flying together, their wings gently touching. Nearby, gulls performed their own dance in the sky with the snowy triangle that is Mount Baker (Washington) rising majestically above the horizon.

A spring-like downtown walk not long ago led to the Vancouver Art Gallery to gaze upon the rare Shakespeare’s Folio (under protective glass) opened to the page introducing Romeo and Juliet in celebration of St. Valentine’s Day with plans to get lost in the iconic forest paintings of Emily Carr. Later, I was surprised at how many patrons were eagerly waiting to enter as I left, perhaps hoping to chase away thoughts of war as well. On my way home, throngs of pedestrians moved along Robson St. window shopping and buying treasures – I stopped into a tiny chocolate shop to buy six delectable pieces to enjoy over a weekend of afternoon tea, each sweet bite, a reminder to seize as many moments as I can! And I’m so glad I did, the chocolate shop is closing at the end of the month, yet another casualty of the ongoing pandemic…

Other arrivals come in the form of an unexpected greeting card or email brightening days overshadowed by too many outcomes when all the world wants is peace. They arrive in spring flowers and blooms emerging with their messages of hope – and today, a metal or wooden sign in the shape of a white house hung (we wonder how) high up on a forest tree with the words, Love Without Limits, an answer to a prayer after the worrisome news of the day.

The last day of winter unfolded in yellow and blue inviting winter bound souls to move around outside, new arrivals to the shops, coffee bars and benches in a neighbourhood more than ready for spring not war.

This beautiful vista greeted us as we left the bleachers at Brockton Oval in Stanley Park (Vancouver, B.C.).
Terry captured the encouraging words, Love Without Limits, deep in the forest on one of his daily walks.
I often sit on a polished wooden bench near this lovely Camellia bush with a thermos of tea and a book!
The air is filled with the heady scent of wood smoke and blossoms these spring days, this capture was taken at the entrance to Stanley Park.
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