Siege

In winter, the stars seem to have rekindled their fires, the moon achieves a fuller triumph, and the heavens wear a look of a more exalted simplicity.” – John Burroughs

December has arrived in wreathes of fog and apricot coloured sunsets amid twinkling lights and the scent of cedar. On my walks I’m greeted with the sight of rolls of colourful wrapping paper tucked into backpacks and boxes of caramel chocolates sitting beside neighbourly benches waiting to be shared.

This normally festive month will look and feel a lot different to many but already the cancelled Christmas Market and light festivals have been replaced by a gorgeous downtown Floral Trail (Fleurs De Villes Noel). Earlier in the week as we walked home from running errands downtown, we came across several fragrant garlands tacked above several high-end retail stores reminding us immediately of London. On my wander downtown I made sure to pick up a paper map from The Sutton Place Hotel to note some of the offerings on my way to Indigo Books – I was delighted to come across queenly figures, fantastical stags and floral thrones as well as larger than life hearts and swags, one of my favourites was a black English telephone box filled with fragrant flowers. It was heavenly to stand nearby and breathe in the scent of rose, eucalyptus and pine!

Today the rain is falling, the radio is on playing familiar and beloved carols as I catch up on writing my holiday cards. There’s a cup of rooibos chai tea on the table and my glowing blue cork lights and this after a bowl of homemade vegetable soup with a delicious turkey sandwich studded with slices of good English Cheshire cheese from last night’s charcuterie/cheese board supper…

There are tighter restrictions in place currently, resulting in the cancellation of a family holiday tradition in Stanley Park, attending Bright Nights. It’s lovely to wander through the fragrant forest just after the early sunset to catch the sparkle and fantasy of thousands of rainbow hued lights winking through winters’ dark edges. Now the site sits behind fencing seemingly forgotten, its lights snuffed out to keep us safe with hopes of a phoenix-like rebirth next year.

On recent walks through our neighbourhood I’ve noticed small fledging apple trees and towering cedars tenderly dressed in donated decorations, strings of lights and shiny tinsel outside of apartment buildings. Random bare trees sprout collections of lustrous silver, sprightly red and burnished gold baubles to catch the eye and bring a touch of magic into everyday lives creating their own Bright Nights moments in miniature!

A late afternoon stroll beside dripping raindrop heavy trees and a very vibrant purple beautyberry bush rewarded me with the sight of a tall pine tree swathed in ropes of teal and berry coloured tinsel garlands with the odd decoration glinting in the gloom. A West End neighbour out walking with her exuberant Black Lab, Ruby, was gently hanging some of the decorations that had been knocked down by recent rains and wind. It was a tender moment that touched my heart.

Despite the ongoing pandemic laying siege to our world, I’m heartened by the beautiful light I come across most days – I often walk home after running an errand or two by the ocean where a very large tree sits above the bay entwined in lights, a beacon for all when dusk begins to fall. The salt air always clears my head of the to-do’s waiting there as I come upon four lovely light installations at the intersection of beach and city. There’s a graceful heron, a breaching orca and the tree of life – my favourite is the giant grizzly bear fishing for salmon. On one such afternoon I stood transfixed for several minutes while listening to a soundtrack at the grizzly bear installation, I had never heard it before. There were sounds of birds singing in the forest, the gentle lapping of ocean waves and the sound of salmon leaping from the water, an unexpected moment filled with light.

All these images and sounds are now woven into the myth that this season will become, forever tainted with the words, this will be a holiday season like no other. And now that December has quietly become January, I hope the light at the end of the tunnel shines brightly for us all.

A winter’s walk through Stanley Park revealed a summer scene, the many fungi attached to this stump resemble butterflies clinging in perfect harmony!

The weathered metal fencing resembles a medieval keep as Beaver Lake gets some much needed tending and dredging.

This stunning cedar carving just off a trail in Stanley Park was bare for many years until it was recently painted or vandalized in a coat of many colours. The artist is unknown and was not commissioned…

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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35 Responses to Siege

  1. Lovely photos and musings Kim.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. murisopsis says:

    You swept me away on the poetic descriptions of your walk – Our city strung the lights and the fire department put out their usual decorations but there was no tree lighting ceremony and no visit by Santa in his sleigh this Christmas season. I am not in favor of vandalism but the painting of the carving was obviously done with an artist’s eye. The paint may even prevent the wood from decaying as rapidly as it normally would….

    Liked by 1 person

    • Your beautiful comment has my heart singing! And you’re right, I sensed that the new paint was brushed on with an artist’s eye (in fact, we received a lovely holiday card from our upstairs neighbour of this very carving that he had painted from a photo!).

      Like

  3. calmkate says:

    serenity oozes from your delightful meditative descriptions πŸ™‚

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Kathy says:

    What evocative words, as usual. I could feel and smell the holiday spirit. And, once again, you have reminded me of my visit to Vancouver and Stanley Park with my daughter three years ago come June. What a beautiful place in the world you live!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Sometimes the beauty of Stanley Park and the city itself takes my breath away…
      I’m so glad I can step outside and take note (to share with my dear neighbour and the WordPress world!).
      Thank you so much for stopping by, Kathy, to revisit the holiday spirit that unfolded in my world…

      Liked by 1 person

  5. I love your reflections on the beauty of the seasons lights, Kim. I love how the start of winter is also the time when the light begins its return. To me, it’s always been a season of hope and promise. Thanks for sharing your December, your beautiful city, and your walk. Happy New Year.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. ugetse says:

    Hi Kim, your words and photos inspired me and my family to walk in Stanley Park’s trails. Your words and photos are a real palette of spirit trees and serene nature. It is very seductive. I took Michelle and family to your .mystic oasis. We gathered in circle around a special tree ,holding hands ( gloves ) closed our eyes and meditated for a while , the rain gently washing our fears. It felt so magical. I felt that I was lifted into a love bubble
    dancing on top of the majestueux cedars. Thanks Kim . Your words always talk to us.
    The photos are sublime. πŸŽ„πŸ˜˜β™₯οΈπŸŒΉπŸŽ„

    Liked by 1 person

    • With the current restrictions, we’re very blessed to have such a special place to find ourselves in…forest bathing, walks on beloved trails and spiritual encounters with elusive wildlife (eagles, ravens, and coyotes) are a wonderful balm.
      Capturing words is also elusive and I was glad that our neighbourhood provided such lovely inspiration on my many daily walks…
      Thank you, dear neighbour, your holiday spirit added many beautiful notes as well as many delightful gourmet goodies to our world! X

      Liked by 1 person

  7. markmkane says:

    Loved the pictures Kimberlee! Most people see the rain as a damper in their lives, but only you can paint a beautiful picture of rain with your elegant words. I truly live for your adventures in nature!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you so much, Mark! I’m limited with our extended restrictions and nature is something I can touch and see on a daily basis…I’m so glad my words land with you and that I can share a part of the world with you.

      Liked by 1 person

  8. Gorgeous, gorgeous, gorgeous! Your world sounds like a cornucopia of lights and flowers and wonderful sights lighting up the dark season. You describe it in such a vibrant, sensual way that I felt pleasantly overwhelmed by it all.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. michnavs says:

    and yet again, you mesmerized me your imagery of your walks as you run errands… so beautiful Kim… i could close my eyes and see them through your words.
    I hope you had a wonderful holiday…happy new year too and sending my love to your mom as well

    Liked by 1 person

    • How lovely to hear from you, Mich! Our holiday unfolded in wonderful scents and sights…our new year has started off with extended restrictions but our province is holding its own…we still have some exquisite freedoms and must work extra hard to keep them.
      I hope to pop by your site soon and catch up…

      Like

  10. What a delight to be immersed in the experience as if I am taking these walks with you! I feel I am now familiar with the sights and fragrances of the lights and streets of your wintery neighborhood and parks. The cedar carving need not be brightened to be beautiful yet some chose to express their perspective on it. Very lovely to read truly.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Miriam says:

    Your writing is beautiful Kim and I enjoyed ambling with you. Nature is so soothing and therapeutic and I could feel the wistfulness and serenity in your musings. Stay at peace my friend. In nature all is well. πŸ’šπŸŒΏ

    Liked by 1 person

    • I believe nature has saved us from feeling overwhelmed this past year…each day we head out, we arrive home feeling restored knowing that a cup of soothing tea awaits us as we close our blinds against a world gone mad.
      There are daffodils blooming and bright eyes twinkling behind masks…every brand new day is filled with wonder and I’m so grateful!
      Thank you for your dear friendship, Miriam, it means a lot! X

      Liked by 1 person

  12. Pam Lazos says:

    Poetry in motion. I love the mushroom butterflies!

    Liked by 1 person

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