Sunday, June 8, 2008

Playing hooky

Not only did we sleep ridiculously late yesterday...but by the time we got our lazy arses out from under the cats and vertical, the sun had actually come out. This event was, in fact, noteworthy, as it has been unseasonably cold for far too long. Enough so that the 2008 BG Triathalon World Championships, held here this weekend, apparently had to cancel the swimming because of the cold. After Friday's preliminary race, many of the athletes had to be treated for hypothermia. Brrrr! So - though we haven't been swimming in the bracing Pacific waters ourselves, the sight of sunshine was remarkable.

So much so that we decided it would be a waste of the weather to stay inside and do housework...we headed down for a walk through Stanley Park to English Bay. A perfect excuse to play hooky! We got off the bus near Lost Lagoon, and wandered along the water for a little while, enjoying the flowers and birds and the sunshine. We saw lots of swans:

Apparently there are a dozen or so who live in the lagoon. We were briefly concerned about one in particular, who had something weird going on with his (her?) foot - swimming around with one leg sticking out backward:

We ran into a friend who works at the interpretive centre at the lagoon and asked her about it. It seems that that's just how they rest. Kind of like swan yoga or something. It looked very odd, though, especially for such a graceful bird. (Useless trivia: a group of swans is not called a flock, but is referred to as either a "whiteness of swans" or - I love this - a "ballet of swans".) We watched the geese, a heron, a bald eagle, and lots of very chatty mallard ducks.

When I moved out to Vancouver the first time, to go to university, I was totally unfamiliar with the city. I lived here for a short time when I was very, very wee - like, 2 years old or something - and I don't think I ever came back until I moved here in the mid-90s. I spent the first weeks exploring the city, and trying to find some respite from the traffic and the noise and all the people. It was a bit of a culture shock, coming out to the Big City and finding myself at a university with a student population the size of my hometown. So any chance I got to look at trees, mountains, anything not involving human beans - I took it! I found myself down at Lost Lagoon one afternoon, and had the weirdest sense of deja-vu. I knew I knew this spot- but how?

Turns out my parents took me down there to feed the ducks when I was a munchkin. The trees were a bit smaller then. (Look familiar, mes parents?)

I took this one for my nieces, who think it's hilarious when the ducks stick their bums in the air:

We made our way through a whack of rhododendrons, and some crazy drivers, bushwhacked our way down a hill (no poison ivy, thank FSM!) and found ourselves on the sea wall.

Now, I miss the Rockies all the time, and I will always be a country mouse - an alpine country mouse. But there are things about living on the coast that are some compensation for being away from the mountains.

We sat on a bench and watched the sailboats and clouds for probably close to an hour. But the best part wasn't in the picture. I wish there was some kind of olfactory function on the camera, a scratch-and-sniff photo. That fresh, breezy, briny ocean smell is intoxicating. Add that to a lazy walk and the first hint of summer weather...bliss!

(Now, top that all off with an invitation to a spontaneous sangria party - was it really six pitchers? - and what you have, gentle readers, is a fine start to the summer!)

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