Unsettled Landscapes

We live in a world that is beyond our control, and life is in a constant flux of change. So we have a decision to make: keep trying to control a storm that is not going to go away or start learning to live within the rain.” – Glenn Pemberton, Hurting with God

Today is a day for walking in the autumn rain with a creamy hot chocolate from Veranda, a favourite coffee bar of mine, revelling in the downward spiral of drifting leaves. The taste of cocoa adds a sweet note to the late afternoon, my time to attend to errands and find sacred space for writing. I’m not as organized as I would like to be and once again I’m sitting upon one of the spring-green coloured padded benches in the children’s section of our local library – all the adult tables and chairs having been taken by other patrons escaping the rain. It is a stark reminder that there are often not enough spaces for us all but I’m happy to share, breathing in the colour of life unfolding all around me!

My future self will leave home with a thermos of hot chocolate or herbal tea, notebook and pen in hand to find a spot upstairs in the community centre that shares space with the library – there are tables and shelves where one can settle in for a bout of writing underneath a large skylight. A little one has just joined me on the bench as I write, he’s thrown his wet red jacket to the floor as well as a couple of brightly coloured books, has just kicked off his tiny green rubber boots, grabbed one of the books and has settled right in. I can see his blue striped sock feet, softly kicking in the air from the corner of my eye…

Beneath the beauty of this world, however, is an ugly reality lurking, our shining city by the sea is being sold one square foot at a time. Buildings that I thought might be here forever are being torn down, fading “Moving Sale” messages cover local notice boards and “For Rent” signs are popping up on holy ground in front of apartment buildings where vacancies were once just wishful thinking. Large supermarkets and small beloved eateries have closed, their front windows carefully covered in brown paper waiting for new energy or money to open their doors once again, So many of us who have lived in this beautiful corner of the world for decades are left holding our breath…the reality of homelessness never far from our thoughts and conversations. I see more familiar faces collecting bottles from the bins in our alleyway – there are also many new faces sitting on pieces of cardboard asking for help, any help, it breaks my heart. I recently walked by a busker on iconic Robson St. whose words touched me as he called out, “Can you spare anything, it would help make a not so good day, great” and I thought, this is something I can do right now, share some spare coin to help change someone’s day. Perhaps this is all we can do among these unsettling landscapes, help when we can and keep standing our ground.

A stunning autumn scene captured at Lost Lagoon here in Stanley Park (Vancouver, B.C.).

A beautiful shot of Lost Lagoon looking north at the edge of Stanley Park (Vancouver, B.C.), it reminds me of Ontario!

A tree of many colours captured near the entrance to Lost Lagoon in Stanley Park (Vancouver, B.C.)!

A leafy path, a favourite walk to our summer picnic area, located near the Georgia St. entrance to Stanley Park (Vancouver, B.C.).


About anotetohuguette

I'm currently blogging from the beautiful West Coast city of Vancouver, British Columbia - a vibrant city by the sea, surrounded by mountains and a very unique urban forest.
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34 Responses to Unsettled Landscapes

  1. markmkane says:

    Love the pictures Kimberlee. I especially liked how you sprinkled color in your post as you described your setting. You really are descriptive in your writing style which really helps to paint a vivid picture for me as I read it. I somehow experience these things vicariously through your words. Thanks for sharing.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Jim says:

    wonderful photos sweetie! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • My partner Terry comes home from long walks in the park with these glorious shots and I get to showcase them on my blog! I do take the occasional shot and have posted them in past posts, we make a great team and I’m lucky he enjoys reading my words as well…thank you, Jim for stopping by, it brightens my day!


  3. Shirley says:

    The homeless just break my heart. Youngsters who should be in a happy home atmosphere, huddled in the rain shivering. The older ones, some with obvious health issues, looking for a hot cup of coffee and kind words. Space, where have you gone??? The phrase “The Huddled Masses” are alive on Vancouver Streets, sitting on cardboard. We all do what we can, but obviously not enough. A treat to spend time with a child, they are the wonders of our planet. Innocence is fleeting, as one ages and the joys of a child warm our hearts. Thanks for these blogs of wonder and beautiful pics.
    Love Mom

    Liked by 2 people

    • You never fail to share what you have, creating unknown ripples of kindness along the way…thank you, Mom, for your beautiful words and ways!


    • michnavs says:

      I share the same sentiment with shirley. We have homeless children here too and it indeed breaks my heart to see them begging in the streets or out working at a young age.

      And kim your are really inspiring.. i have been away for a while and this is the reason why i keep coming back no matter how crazy my own little world has become sometimes… reading you and some of the my favorite bloggers here gives me a great sense of balance..

      Liked by 1 person

      • It warms my heart to know that here in the blogging world one can stop by for a moment or two of respite and lose ourselves in another’s words. I think of you often… it’s a joy to read your comments and I’m happy that you enjoy my Mom’s words as well!

        Liked by 1 person

  4. Beautiful pictures, that’s what I wish our autumn looked like. It is very unfortunate to see the place you and many others fir years slowly make drastic changes, I’ve seen that myself and it is vey nostalgic.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Hola, Fernanda! It’s lovely to see your words on these pages again, thank you for stopping by – it seems when we choose to live in cities that capture the imagination, change is inevitable but hard to watch!


  5. ugetse says:

    Thank you Kim for another great post, however scary. What is happening to Vancouver is happening everywhere. The world has changed . But thanks for your photos and the joy of autumn. I think this fall is the most beautiful I have known in Vancouver. Many thanks. Big love❤️

    Liked by 1 person

    • The colours of the season seem more intense this year, when the light hits the leaves in a certain way, they just glow! Thank you, dear neighbour, for loving Terry’s pictures and for your lovely words.


  6. Ali Grimshaw says:

    This is a thoughtful post. I also love the quote you shared. Thank you for remaining compassionate in your actions and carrying love in your heart.

    Liked by 2 people

  7. Kimberlee, first, I loved your as-you-go description of writing on the bench in the children’s area. I felt like i was right there with you! Second, your sorrow or grief at the changes in your neighborhood were very nicely expressed. I’m sorry to hear that’s happening. I hope things will improve again soon. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you so much, Theresa! He was such a lovely child and not shy at all…his gentle presence found its way into my writing and I’m glad you could feel him, too. My Mom recently shared with me a notice from city hall found in her mailbox, informing her that more edges of our world will be torn down near her apartment building, for yet more towers and condos! Our urban forest is protected (thank goodness!) providing sanctuary from these ongoing projects…thank you for thinking of us, it means a lot!

      Liked by 1 person

  8. Miriam says:

    Our world is such a contrast Kim and your descriptive words and wonderful images really paints an evocative picture. Beautifully done. 💕

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Your lovely, lovely….lovely post choked me up and stung my eyes…I feel you…I feel the slipping away, and the plight of the disenfranchised….and, it’s even more poignant by virtue of your immense gift for painting such beautiful word pictures….thanks for sharing….I know we’ll keep giving in the ways we can…and, we’ll find the strength to hold the faith that it will be enough to turn the tide in time ❤

    Liked by 1 person

  10. The world is changing, and at a feverish pace. I am left wondering what we are leaving for our children, but like everyone else, I too don’t have an answer. As if the devastation we are doing to the environment and the threat of terrorism and natural disasters is not enough, there is the over-digitization of our world that is often predicting our future to look like the Transformers movie with robots taking over.
    Yet, we have a lot to be grateful for. Let us hope for the best, Kim. Thank you for sharing your concern and reminding us to empathize with those who are less fortunate that we are.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you so much for your beautifully written words, these are stark warning signs and yes, we must try to change our ways for the future of our children, with every breath I hope for the best!


  11. I love your descriptions of Nature and the colours around you in the library. It is so sad to still see so many people without homes. Here in Ireland many people lost their homes due to the recession. I so hope for positive change. 🌼

    Liked by 1 person

    • I recently popped into a dear local store that has been in our neighbourhood for over 30 years to find a notice on their counter announcing that the store is in jeopardy due to high property assessments and the uncertainty of a new owner…things are changing so fast here it’s hard to keep up! I’m glad to be able to share these important stories here and very thankful to have lovely readers who care! Thank you for thinking of us and I’m sorry to hear about the plight of the homeless in Ireland.


  12. Angie Sim says:

    “It is a stark reminder that there are often not enough spaces for us all but I’m happy to share, breathing in the colour of life unfolding all around me!”

    LOVE. I absolutely loved this excerpt, and I think we need to learn to not take the spaces we have for granted!

    As you mentioned towards the end of this piece, you see more and more people struggling, living in cardboard and scraping bottles. And just as you said, it’s because there aren’t enough spaces for all of us, that perhaps we should learn to share.

    It’s times like these I despise the fact that we all have to come from such different backgrounds, when I see the horrible conditions some people have to adapt to. (Just a few days ago, I was dusting off some major food crumbs and dirt from my clothes only to realize later, that there was a man laying on the same ground I was practically dusting myself off on. The places people have to live in… I was ashamed of myself.)

    If only we could all have a space in the world. It may sound arrogant (since it’s only because I have one I can say this) but the least we can do is share, right? Sadly, the suspicion in this world makes it hard to do so. (I’ve had my share of being tricked. Ie. The classic “blind beggar peeking out of her sunglasses” move.)

    I’ve noticed it’s because of people who exploit our heart to help others, that we precisely stop helping others. Helping the people who actually need help, who literally don’t have a place in the world to feel that warmth.

    That’s such a shame to me. That I have to walk past people sometimes because even though they don’t have a space in the world, I can’t share mine because there are people who might try to take it altogether. That suspicion when sharing is so toxic and yet I often feel that’s become our reality.

    Thanks so much for sharing. You always deliver such thought provoking pieces.

    Liked by 1 person

  13. You have such love and compassion. ❤ Sounds like you are doing amazing things to share your caring. I'm very present lately to the value of being of service. It's one step at a time. I really appreciate this post. Gorgeous photos too! Blessings to you and everyone in Vancouver. Debbie

    Liked by 1 person

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