“What humanity needs, nature answers in whispers.” – Numi Tea
There’s a Summer Art Program being presented downtown twice a week – two beautiful parklets are now home to artists and students displaying works in progress to potential customers and happy wanderers hoping to capture a festival feeling in quieter times.
My time there taking in the colour, live music and stunning art prompted me to walk home via a different route, extending that summer in the city vibe as I walked the seawall hugging the waterfront. It’s a winding walk that ends in bustling Coal Harbour where the image of two young boys trying to fish in an urban lily pond still makes me smile and the gravel path on the edge of a dog park across from the Vancouver Rowing Club still offers respite from crowded walkways.
I came home with a feeling of calm and realized that summer joys I thought were lost forever can still be found.
It was time to walk down the sylvan path to Second Beach to buy some more summer fruit from the local Farmer’s Market stand. Twice a month with memories of camping dancing through my mind, I pick out three cartons of luscious berries and pack them carefully in my canvas tote bag. Earlier, we were wondering why one of our regular crow visitors who has been bringing her young one to our balcony hadn’t been by and here was the answer! It looked like “bring your crow offspring” to the beach day – the air was filled with squawks as young crows wandered over the damp sand, hung out on cedar branches and near the newly opened concession, some even perched on the outdoor pool railing.
Throughout the summer I’ve found myself on the seawall more than ever, arriving after a walk through the forest trails or on urban streets. I’m glad I recently came across the words, sacred space, written in pastel chalk near the stone Inukshuk statue before the Good-bye Graffiti truck hosed it away. These enlightened words reminded me to pause on a cloudy day by the beach, to find an empty bench and take some cleansing breaths on the cusp of an uptick in new COVID-19 cases.
The best time to walk in my world is just after a rainfall. Asphalt paths and needle covered trails smell earthy, their damp surfaces littered with autumn-early dip-dyed leaves and brilliant blue hydrangea blooms.
On this August day we’re sitting on the wooden bleachers at Brockton Oval in coyote country after a tasty take-out lunch (a mouth watering West Coast salmon burger from Lumbermen’s Arch concession) and a stroll through sun-dappled forest. There’s a soft breeze carrying dragonflies and other insects through the warm air, the wooden planks sound alive underneath the sun, the creaking and groaning covered over with the remains of several swallow nests, nearby Canada Geese are nibbling on the same grass where lone rugby players practice their kicking skills. It’s a peaceful afternoon far away from the rules of social distancing where one can breathe deeply and inhale the stillness.
This is our summer ritual every two weeks, a chance to capture the essence and fragrance of past summers. Later in the day we retreat to a spacious deck at the Stanley Park Pavilion to share a small plate and take in the treehouse effect while gazing upon the gorgeous gardens. There are still a few weeks of summer left as we shore up these gastronomic memories and delicious pints, memories to think upon when autumn touches our world again.
We are all living on the edge of previous lives trying to expand our worlds in new ways, finding ourselves outside can be one of those ways…