of a magical creature. Out on my daily walk yesterday I was astonished to see a typically sparse nest, close to a deserted parking lot in a city park, fully exposed to the elements and to the curious gaze of passers-by.
On the verge of a path in brush, perfect for adequate cover but with access to easy prey such as toddlers or old ladies with flimsy walking poles.
This bold mother, however had chosen to flaunt her brood. I noticed most walkers gave her a wide berth and rightly so! Mother dragons are famous for their ferocity. I wondered if those walking sticks were all that was left of rash pedestrians who had irritated her. I kept a respectful distance and cooed admiringly at her one hatched dragonette who was perched safely up on mother’s back.
As mother dragon warned me off with a baleful hiss of steam, I bowed in respect and continued on my laps around the lake. What else lurks at the bottom of the lake I wonder and what will emerge before winters end?
After a month on the West Coast it’s time to get back into my routine of walking… and training for my next Camino. This afternoon the temperature was a little cooler than what I experienced on Vancouver Island. The angle of the sun was lower and it was clear that we are in full- on fall mode. The colors are spectacular and I am sincerely grateful to live one hundred paces from this spectacular park. However, I miss the “ wild” feel of the semi-rural community where my daughter lives. I miss the rooster crowing every waking hour and the baa of the sheep next door. From certain spots on my walk I don’t see just this beautiful pond, but a six -lane boulevard, its roar mercifully muffled by the trees in the park. There’s no mistaking the city vibe here.
I took this picture a few days ago. That bank of stones on the far side of the river would normally be submerged. The big adult salmon working their way upstream are barely covered with water. Already in other parts of BC there have been huge die-offs of salmon that never made it to the spawning sites. Will the salmon I saw this week make it? After a 40-day drought with no rain in the forecast, I doubt it. Vancouver Island is a designated Pacific rain forest area. During the first two weeks of my stay there, my daughter and I enjoyed the sun and high temperatures. As time passed, we became more and more uneasy.
After unpacking my suitcase and after a good night’s sleep, I made a decision. I’m going to fight for this beautiful world and the creatures that live here. I owe myself and my grandchildren that. I have already written my MP ( the Federal one anyway) and Extinction Revolution to see what I can do. Next on my list … Greenpeace and, how do you buy carbon credits anyway? Even though I don’t drive a car I’m flying around quite a bit lately. Why am I putting this idea out on my blog? Accountability, folks! Nag me about this, ok?
It is very cold and last weekend we had quite a lot of snow. In the park near my home the trails are almost deserted. In fact, as long as there is no wind it is lovely to walk in the brilliant sunshine. At noon it is about -15 and I got quite hot marching around the lake with my hiking poles. I am trying to train a bit. If Covid dies down I might try the Portuguese Camino. Got to keep moving!
These two friends were standing in the picture- book snow, their hands outstretched , birdseed on their palms, waiting for tiny finches to come down and take what was offered.
Once again it was a struggle to force myself to go and walk. Instead of my usual track park. I decided to go to Angrignon Park. It is closer in and with huge snowflakes drifting down in a thick veil, it was a paradise for cross-country skiers and devoted dog walkers. I figured if I walked around the big lake a couple of times it would make up about an hour of exercise. I took my walking poles and it was a good thing as the snow was already thick underfoot.
I was fascinated to see the little finches come down to feed from the hands of these patient bird lovers. I arrived just as they were leaving and I called out to ask if they had had to wait long for the birds to come.
“Oh,no. It’s easy to attract them. They know people come here to feed them. We just saw two big cardinals too. Beautiful! “ I guess I must have looked like a bird-feeder wanna-be as one of the men pulled out a little container of seed and poured some into my hand.
“Go on,” he said. they don’t care who gives them the seed.” He and his friend walked off into the thick snow and there I was with a handful of birdseed.
And down they flew, one after the other. Their little claws wrapped around my fingers and the boldest of them stopped to pick up two or three seeds. One, a little smaller than the others, made a few timid passes and I thought he would never pluck up the courage to take a seed. Finally he did, however, and then his wings whirring, he retreated to the safety of the bushes.
My hand became very cold and after a few moments the little finches disappeared. I have had a few unexpected lovely moments with birds over the past few days. I wonder why.
And it’s beautiful. Close to my home is a large park. Today as I walked through to go to the Metro I noticed that the pond was starting to freeze over. The reflection of the few leaves left on the trees will soon disappear but the sky was still lovely. After a dark and dreary day, the clouds lightened up and colour from the coming sunset softened the mood. The Canada geese have left and the fat squirrels are almost manic in their search for food for winter. I confess to hating squirrels, a hold-over from my gardening days when they were my mortal enemies.
I went to my volunteer English conversation class today. I had a chance to walk through a city neighbourhood where our family used to live. In fact, from my bedroom window my husband and I could see the bell tower rising over our flat. This church is one of a couple of Byzantine revivals built in the early twentieth century. It’s a magnificent building. The cold air made me take notice of my surroundings as I walked after class to get myCovid booster shot. I had my flu shot last week so this pincushion is ready for the onslaught of winter. Bring it on!