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Sitting in Spring

Spring in Vancouver this year has been colder than last year’s weather patterns.  Over 10 degrees colder!  In the last week alone, we’ve had hail and lightning within hours of lovely warm sunshine!  Vancouver is known for unpredictable precipitation and this season has been exceptionally entertaining.  This morning I awoke to rhythmic sounds of hail, and by afternoon I sat on a dry wooden bench in North Vancouver’s Victory Park, admiring the signs of spring.

Donated by the North Shore Optimist Club

While I sat on this bench donated by the Optimist Club (delighted to learn that there is such a group!) I thought of how its placement in the park was a fine balance given that its view is of the World War II memorial.

View from the 'Optimist Club' bench

I arrived at the bench hungry and disappointed, having returned from Vancouver after learning that my much anticipated two hours of watercolour painting was cancelled due to our instructor’s illness. While I sat and ate my chocolate brown-rice pudding (highly recommended for moments of disappointment), I looked and listened to the sounds and sights of Spring. In the short time that I was there I witnessed a sleeping man on a nearby bench wake, sit and walk away. Another man (pictured left), contemplating in solitude in the square sat so still that I could believe my view to be a painting.  That imagining shifted moments later when an elderly man walked the cobblestone path circling the monument with his walker. I wondered what he might have to say about what this memorial he circled.  Shortly after he left, a mother and daughter strolled by with a baby in a buggy, smiling, chatting, enjoying the dry weather.  And then, as I was leaving, I noticed two lovers kissing on a picnic bench.  Initially they were hidden from my view but were certainly not hiding anything as they openly displayed their affection.

Silhouette of Spring

And above all of us park wanderers was a silhouette of Spring that brought me to a place of deep gratitude for the liberties that we each were enjoying in Victory Park  -a bird’s nest in a tree whose bare branches wait patiently for the budding of life.

While it is not officiated as a time to remember those whose lives were given in wars past, it felt appropriate today, sitting upon the bench marked “Optimist”,  to give thanks for the beautiful, safe and clean part of the world that many of us live in, but often take for-granted.  It may be colder than we would prefer, but the thunder of hail and lightning is highly preferred to the ravishing roars of war.

You feel a bit colder this year, Spring, but I am so very grateful that you are arrived!

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