Beautiful, isn’t it?  Definitely one of Vancouver’s beautymarks.  All of these photos came from my little Samsung phone, belive it or not!  I ambled down Robson Street around 2:30 in the afternoon yesterday during a stretch of time between appointments, and delighted in an impromptu visit to this wild oasis within our concrete jungle.  It was chillier than I’d expected, and with my subsequently inadequate layers I felt the cold lick my skin gently, as though reminding me winter hasn’t had its last say.  The thing about winters in Vancouver is they’re not actually all that cold, but they’re WET.  The chill seems to hit me harder because of the moisture – it really sinks under my skin and lingers, as the odd puddle tends to do.  Yesterday, however, it was such a joy to experience a winter’s day that was fairly dry and all the more pleasant.  It’s not that I really dislike the rain and wet – previous posts are evidence enough – it’s just at that moment, it was unbelievably satisfying to feel a drier winter’s breath beneath a pale sun.  The air seemed pure and unscathed, despite being amid the city.  Shimmering with serenity, the waters mused over the gravely shore as ducks waded and paddled like toddlers in the shallows.  I could almost taste peace in the air as I inhaled, feeling lighter and happier every moment. 

My appointments centre entirely upon self-searching and personal challenges, so they often leave me feeling a bit over-serious, if not overwhelmed or even powerless.  Hence the chance to break out into clean unadulterated space – somewhere I knew I didn’t need to ponder so gravely or pose doubts – was an immense relief.  You know what I mean?  Taking moral inventory is not an easy process, and I find it presses gravity much more heavily onto personal contemplation.

But enough of the weighty depth – this was all about excursion and release!  There were a lot of other people walking the paths around the lagoon who seemed to appreciate the same sensations.  I saw two women standing on the edge of the shore, throwing bits of bread to the ducks and laughing as the colourful waterfowl came speeding towards them like wild pontoons making a hasty landing.  There was such a mass of bright feathers, like a fibrous and fluttering stained glass window or tiled mosaic reflecting the sunlight. 

I was so tempted to approach the women and offer to show them how to feed the ducks from the palm of the hand, as I used to do with my mother and sister at Maplewood Farm and the Rifle Bird Sanctuary years ago.  The pair seemed quite content as they were however, so I plodded on.  Maybe this was one of those times of unnecessary reservation on my part?  What could have been if I’d pressed myself to join them?  Ripples set in motion…

Oh to have the life of a Vancouverite duck!  Ceaselessly fed and venerated by children, tourists, and smiling veterans alike, with no obligations in the day but to preen and wash for show.  No hunters to fear in the public parks either, save for the occasional wild beast in the Stanley Park forests.  I think I’ll endeavour to embody the mallard’s ability to allow things to roll right off its back, because so many minor things seem to penetrate my overactive scope of concern and criticism.  A forewarning: this may involve some quacking for characterizaton purposes…

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