blogathon: a walk through vancouver’s memorial park

this morning – or i guess by now it’s yesterday morning – i went for a walk, to clear my head. i really like my neighbourhood. i live right by memorial park, a good old south vancouver barrio. walking down our wide, quiet, sunny street, i found our filipino neighbours at the corner getting ready for a wedding on their front lawn. then cross the street, up a tiny but steep hill, and into the woods. it’s not a real forest but almost – a stand of trees dividing the west and east side of the park, running along the cricket field and the park house right to the lacrosse area. i love walking through that little area; in fact, it’s one of the reasons why i moved into our house 16 years ago when i could absolutely not afford it. the trees are big and old and a mix of just about anything you can find in vancouver: chestnut, pine, maple, oak … today i realized that a big old willow tree has a number on it – does that mean it’s special because it’s so old? a heritage tree? is there such a thing?

i walked past the cricket area and the park house, where people practice tai chi early in the morning and where the rest of the day, old east indian guys sit and discuss the matters of the world. on the other side of the park house, the biggest of the baseball fields (there are four), very busy, with well-seasoned men all dressed up going to the “seventh annual vancouver challenge sr. men’s fastpitch tournament”. that’s what the shiny brochure tells me. on my way there, i exchanged a smile and a few shouted words with a man sitting on a park bench who wasn’t quite sober anymore. too bad i didn’t have much time – i would have loved to buy something at the food stand; these old baseball players make breakfasts and hamburgers like no-one else.

a quick cut across the boulevard that leads from 41st to the war memorial monument; after all these years and so, so many times walking there, that short tree-lined stretch between the street and the monument still strikes me with a sort of small-town majesticness (majesty? i’m too tired to figure that out right now). it’s a buffer between the old men and the merciless noise of 41st.

i can’t cut straight through to the pond; there’s a soccer game going on – a bunch of twenty-to-forty year old men just getting ready for a match. over to the pond (hey, what happened to the ducks?) which is unusually full for this time of year, past the big willow first, then the one that got seriously castrated in the big storm two years ago but which is doing well again, and over past yet another soccer game to the other little forest stand, at the south edge of the park, coming right to the back ends of the houses on 45th. it looks really romantic but i’m not sure that i’d want to live there – wouldn’t want my back porch to be a big welcome mat for confused drunks, hungry coyotes and tweaked-out drug dealers. still, i love that area, full of conifers, big trees, and i lean against one to take in its strength and solidity.

on my way home i run into my husband, who is on his way to the neighbourhood massage therapist. we hug and both go on our ways.

it took me – what, 15 minutes? less – and i’m back home, refreshed, ready to take on another 14 hours of blogging.

canadian mental health association

this is an entry for my participation in the 2008 blogathon, a 24-hour marathon of blogging. please support the cause and donate – however much, however little – to the canadian mental health association (vancouver/burnaby branch). to donate, email me or use this URL: you should be able to get there by clicking the link; if not, just copy and paste the link into your browser. it will take you to the appropriate location at canada helps.

thank you for visiting, reading, commenting and, if you can, donating!

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