Sunday, July 12, 2020

Pacific Spirit Regional Park - a great way to restore your balance 

Have you been to Pacific Spirit Regional Park?

Located on the west side of Vancouver, Canada, this 874 hectares (or 2,160 acres) park is part of the University of British Columbia Endowment Lands. 

The Pacific Spirit park offers 73 km of walking and hiking trails that are visitor friendly. Whether you are into walking, jogging, cycling, dog walking, or just family bonding, you will find just the right trail for you.  You can find FREE street parking nearby, as well as amenities such as washrooms and garbage receptacles within the park itself.

Which is, breathtakingly beautiful...
Almost as soon as you step into the park, you will be surrounded by soothing shades of green - from the bushes on either side of the loose gravel paths to the protective canopy provided by stately trees. Now and then, you'll catch the glitter of dew drops on nodding leaves and flashes of color (yellow, white, and pink) from wild flowers. Believe me, you won't be able to resist the urge to whip out your phone to snap a photo or two.

I walked away feeling totally refreshed! And blessed that something so beautiful could be so accessible! The Pacific Spirit park is ours to enjoy and it is waiting for you! Believe me, it's a great way to feel free when life is in lockdown mode.

Thursday, July 9, 2020

Pet of the Year

Cats are amazingly skilled in shaping our behaviour - from mindful eating, to slow blinking, to gentle nuzzling, they pretty much have us figured out.

This is my Steveston cat Roi and no, he didn't really appear on the cover of a popular magazine. But I believe that he - as well as all cats - deserves to be crowned pet of the year. Every year.

Saturday, July 4, 2020

Backyard birdwatching

Image by Marija Gavrilova from Pixabay

For best experience, select the highest quality display setting

How do you make the best of your shrinking world?

As Covid19 spread like wildfire at the start of the pandemic, Richmond folks found themselves feeling like virtual prisoners in their own homes.

Some of us live in small boxes in the sky, some of us dwell on sprawling estates, but most of us make do with our humble single family Steveston special with its modest size backyard.

That patch of green, in fact, has become central to our happiness since the lockdown began in March. I wouldn't call us birders yet, but we do whip out the old pair of binoculars when we spy chickadees, sparrows, doves, and other species we can't identify. But the most welcome visitor would have to be the hummingbird (we have since named it "Hummy.") The beauty of its iridescent feathers and beating wings leave us utterly breathless.

We paid numerous visits to Canadian Tire to construct a broad based pole with metal extensions at the top that support two bird feeders. For Hummy, we picked a feeder kit that included the nectar mix. The birds took a few weeks to feel safe and comfortable with the setup but Hummy proved to be especially cautious and shy.

But we didn't mind waiting for the birds to come around. We figured time watching their comings and goings was time well spent. We might even continue our new pastime long after the lockdown is lifted and life is good again.

Tuesday, June 30, 2020

Nature's calming ways

For best experience, select the highest quality display setting

Yes, we are moving forward in our Covid19 healing process.

Do you remember when there were more things we couldn't than could do?

On those dark days, I found that nature provided unparalleled calm and sweetness. When that sense of suffocation seeped in, I meandered through my neighbourhood streets, on foot or on my bicycle, always returning home with renewed strength and hope for better days ahead.

I hope you too found solace in your familiar surroundings, those spring buds bursting from every branch, and the expansive blue sky above.

Friday, June 26, 2020

Cat in the window

What's more interesting than watching your cat?

Watching your cat watching his world.

There is something magical about their total mindfulness. Even when they make those funny sounds when they see birds, their focus remains laser sharp.

I wish I could have their concentration. 

Thursday, June 25, 2020

Fishing in the time of Covid19

Like many Stevestonites, exploring the village on foot has become my daily routine since the lock-down was introduced in March 2020.

While exploring the waterfront on April 11, I came upon a group of fishermen on the public pier and was struck by how well distanced apart they stood.

Not being an angler myself, I wasn't sure whether this was normal or a new Covid 19 best practice they had embraced to keep everyone safe and healthy.
How amazing that a disease that emerged from China late last year had reached our shores and upended every aspect of our lives;and even more awesome was our collective effort to contain and defeat it.

Yes, we all celebrate our health care workers for a job well done, but I think our success in BC was also built on the effort and compliance of everyday people like you and me. We all should be recognized for our part in flattening the curve. 

So, to all of you out there - good job!

Tuesday, June 23, 2020

Covid19 and your furry friend
Please release me!

The newly adopted Covid19 veterinary office protocol dictates no pet owners are allowed in the treatment room and waiting area. 

They are instructed to deposit their pets in the treatment room, grab their carriers, and return to their cars until pickup time.

Our cat made a valiant attempt to escape and frantically thrust his paws under the door in a dramatic plea for help.

A picture is worth a thousand tears, don't you think.

Saturday, June 20, 2020

The Covid19 scream

How are you faring in our lock-down world?

Although institutions, businesses, and services have opened their doors  - albeit a small degree at a time  - and our collective hearts are lifting  bit by bit - there remain limitations  that constantly remind us that life is still not as it should be.

But still, we are grateful for what has been restored.

However, I remember when the lock-down was first introduced, there were so many don'ts that I felt an overwhelming sense of suffocation. Especially in the evening.

It was then that I thought, Okay, one day down and how many more to go? What will tomorrow bring? More of the same? The future stretched out like a desolate road leading to nothingness. Of course, social isolation made the burden even harder to bear.

With the gradual lifting of the Covid19 lock-down, we can all breathe a little easier. One lesson I have learned is how resilient the human spirit is. So kudos to you and me for a job well done.

Thursday, June 18, 2020

Older but still lovable (cat)

Roi sunning himself in his backyard

For best experience, view in full screen

Do you have an older cat? Does it need assistance to remain healthy and happy?

Our sweet Roi, all 17 years and 6.9 kg of him, definitely belongs to this camp. As he reclines on his nest made of soft towels atop a heating pad (set to low), you can see the folds of furry skin hanging from his frame like heavy velour drapes. He looks like himself, just deflated, as though someone had let some of the air out of his body.

He settles on his bed with care, extending one front paw, then the other, before gingerly lowering the rest of his body with dignity and calmness. Pouncing on anything is no longer in his repertoire and birds in the backyard do not stir up his hunting instinct. 

Once in a great while, we see flickers of his younger, more active and mischievous self. But they appear less often - and last in mere nanoseconds. We are grateful for them, and all the wonderful years he had blessed us with his gentle presence. Never a claw unsheathed. Never a hiss through his mouth. Just sweetness and patience. How did we get so lucky!