The Winds of Change

For when all else is done, only words remain. Words endure.” – Kate Mosse, The Winter Ghosts

A recent article in one of the only free newspapers left in the city caught my eye, describing a worrisome new normal – there are people, even a few with good paying jobs, who are finding themselves living in all matter of vehicles, some in cars, vans or tent trailers. In the east end of the city near an old work place of mine, 44 vehicles were noted to have signs of recent habitation, city officials are aware of at least 100 such vehicles housing the ghosts of citizens past who have lost their homes due to high rents, job losses or just plain bad luck. Forced to park on our streets, they live without the day to day luxuries that most of us enjoy just a breath away.

Here in the West End, not far from my apartment building, there are at least three vans that never seem to move from their borrowed parking spots, in all my wanders I’ve not once come across any of these souls, new neighbours living close by without a fixed address. One of the vans recently moved from another West End street, this unknown gentleman’s plight unfolding on our local news, tenure on a quiet street ended by city officials because of complaints from others living in the same downtown neighbourhood – I remember seeing his van parked on that street for years, I hope he’ll be able to live more peacefully in ours.

In my warm rooms scented with the aroma of freshly brewed tea, I tell myself I’m still one of the living, although the threat of losing my home in this idyllic corner of the world has the potential to render me ghost-like among my books, music and films, flimsy mortar against the winds of change. And so I write, compelled to capture every nuance before it becomes mere nostalgia among the living and the dead.

Winter is still upon us and the beautiful mountains outside our balcony windows here in the West End (Vancouver, B.C.).

An unexpected winter visitor, a Peregrine falcon perched on some railing across from our kitchen window drawn to a flock of pigeons who roost on this neighbouring rooftop (Vancouver, B.C.).

Our urban forest is a beautiful respite against the winds of change. This spot is off-trail and is home to several art installations (artist unknown) here in Stanley Park (Vancouver, B.C.).

Words are wind.” – George R.R. Martin, A Feast of Crows

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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46 Responses to The Winds of Change

  1. davidprosser says:

    I was reading a blog this afternoon Kim from somewhere in America where she and at least one other person lived the same way. I’ve never seen a nicer vehicle to do it in though and she’s less than 20 I think. She still manages to blog.
    On the other hand I know that in London (ours not yours) this is also a problem as it is in Manchester and many of the other main cities of the UK.The result of marital breakdowns and of ever increasing rents as well as of personal choice sometimes. Not a life style I’d welcome.
    xxx Huge Hugs xxx

    Liked by 1 person

  2. A peregrine falcon! Oh how beautiful. As is your view. I’ve never seen anyone living in a car, but everyone I know seems to be downsizing. I love yurts. I think I could live in a yurt. On an island. I understand some people like to live on wheels but I see all these homeless people in the city and yet entire apartment complexes are vacant, as are a lot of homes. We need to do better by people.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. A very poignant write Kimberlee and it would be good if councils could be more supportive of the people who find themselves in these situations πŸ’œ xxx

    Liked by 1 person

    • Our city is changing so fast…neighbours are leaving, stores are closing and rents are rising…this trend seems to be echoing all over the world, I often wonder who will be able to afford to live in these places in the not too distant future! Thank you for your lovely comment, it warms my heart!

      Liked by 2 people

  4. Quirky Girl says:

    The knowledge that nothing is permanent is enough of a reminder for me to consciously be grateful for all that is good in this very moment.

    Liked by 2 people

  5. Shirley says:

    With our cold snowy weather, it is a harsh existence. We all try and those that are more visible, we are able to help, buy a meal for, hand a blanket to. They become our outdoor neighbours, and we worry about their demise. The hidden ones, in vehicles, living in parking lots, interacting is very difficult, the move from lot to lot, street to street, becoming invisible. Our middle class has faded and almost does not exist in this large city. So sad.
    Love mom.

    Liked by 2 people

    • It’s true…our fellow neighbours that are standing or laying in doorways are easier to approach to offer a helping hand…it does sound like the city is keeping an eye on the hidden ones, there are social support teams that periodically sweep these areas to offer concrete help! This article I read struck a chord…a way of life in our city is fading fast…thank you, Mom, for your compassionate response!


  6. Lynn Blair says:

    Definitely a good reminder for us all to pause and instead of complaining about our first world problems think about how well we have it. As someone who has faced a brief period of homelessness this shook me to the core.

    Liked by 2 people

  7. Rachel McKee says:

    There is a homeless crisis in Seattle and nobody knows how to solve the problem. Our politicians keep coming up empty-handed. I wish I knew how to help. I give money when I can. If I go into the grocery store I’ll buy an extra pastry for the man sitting outside with his bicycle and a shopping cart with all of his possessions. Sometimes I just look them in the eye and smile and say hello. Sadly this typically catches them off-guard and they pause before they smile back. It’s like they are not used to the most common of courtesies. It breaks my heart.

    Thank you for writing this Kim.❀️

    Liked by 1 person

  8. We have many homeless in Oregon too, and I worry that they get rousted out of their tents and forced to move their vehicles. Where are they to go? Many people I know could easily lose their housing if something unexpected in their lives goes wrong. It’s scary. 😦

    Liked by 1 person

  9. michnavs says:

    You have talked about a very depressing issue close to my heart Kim. For over 15 years now my family and I opens our home to at least 50 homeless families for a day every December. Its a day of fun, food, and games. I wanted to give them the warmth feeling of home even just for a day..

    Liked by 2 people

  10. Good for you for noticing. πŸ™‚

    Liked by 2 people

  11. That was news to me, Kim, and very sad news. I can imagine their plight to live off a van or a car and what must have pushed them to do that. We must always be thankful and grateful for all that we have. Thanks for the reminder, Kim. Hope your father is better.

    Liked by 1 person

  12. markmkane says:

    This was such a well timed post Kimberlee. There are a lot of people here in Hawaii as well that are in the same predicament. It’s truly relevant no matter where in the world you live.

    Liked by 1 person

  13. It is a matter of a throw of the dice, isn’t it? Just a wrong throw and any of us could find ourselves without a roof. Unless there is a trust find waiting to jump in. Your post is sobering, a reminder about the need to look out for humans around us. xx


  14. Lovely and so sad…poignant and powerful…I pray you live in a magical place of your choosing for the rest of your life. ❀ Thanks for sharing πŸ™‚

    Liked by 1 person

  15. Such a poignant post Kimberlee. There but for the grace of God…It could happen to anyone of us. When will it all change? 🌼

    Liked by 1 person

  16. calmkate says:

    thank you for drawing attention to this plight .. homelessness is harsh anywhere but I can’t imagine your winters in a car …. it’s horrid and increasing world wide yet those Knights of Today have no care 😦

    Liked by 1 person

  17. Timothy Paul Westbrook says:

    Thank you for sharing your captivating words. You’ve given us some things to think about.

    Liked by 1 person

  18. Mackenzie says:

    This is so important to bring to attention- the same type of issue seems to be happening all over… I didn’t realize that and thought it was just in San Francisco this was happening. Thank you for writing about this so transparently. It reminds us to take an extra moment to be thankful for the simple needs we have met and inspires us to do more to help others ❀

    Liked by 1 person

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