Monday, October 7, 2019

Headphones man


Have you seen him? On colder days, he pounds the pavement in a well worn dark blue trench coat, headphones hugging his ears, sunglasses perched on his nose, a cigarette pressed between his lips and - sometimes -an opaque plastic bag containing undiscernable items dangling from his hand. On warmer days, he maintains his rigorous walk with lighter clothing but retaining the accessories that have defined him, at least to me, as the neighborhood extreme walker.

Sometimes he chuckles, as though responding to a joke being fed through his headphones. At other times, he appears pensive, even grim. But he never lingers in one spot. He appears just like a resident out on a stroll.

And stroll he does - seemingly for hours on end. 

I have run errands which took me to various destinations around Richmond for three and four hours at a time and seen him multiple times, on different streets, with purposeful steps  - never ceasing to look ahead, never stopping to rest. 

I hope he does find refuge now and then to put up his feet. Especially when inclement winter weather sets in. I hope someone, somewhere, can direct him to a protective shelter - from the sun in the summer, the snow in the winter, and everything else in between. 

I bet, though, commuting on foot has given him access to some of the most amazing things about our neighborhood - things that you easily miss when you cover the same distance by car, bicycle, or bus.

Tuesday, September 24, 2019

Neighbourhood houses:
Ode to the traditional family home

This Steveston gem is one of my favorites 
On my customary walks through Steveston's quiet streets, I cherish the smaller unpretentious single family homes. 

In the shadows of the over-sized newcomers on the block, they appear better proportioned to the lot they occupy. Instead of exuding pretentiousness, they appear cozy, inviting, and well, just plain friendly. They practically beckon you in for a neighbourly cup of tea.

In the summer, I envision herbs growing in the kitchen window; in the winter, I imagine a blanket-draped couch beside a roaring fire.

Some of the owners have obviously invested considerable effort in upgrading their property's curb appeal. Diligently manicured grass, wooden ties cuddling clusters of flowering bushes, and strategically planted trees that shade us all in the summer and reveal bird nests in the winter - they just seem to say, hey, stop and enjoy my handiwork.

While meditating on the charms of tiny older homes, you might even spot butterflies, raccoons, squirrels, domesticated cats, and even hummingbirds on iridescent wings - local wildlife that add so much to our lives in the village.

I personally can't say the same for those monster houses. Can you?