Discovering Urban Wildlife

I live in Vancouver, a city that loves to boast about how “green“it is. If you are just visiting, you might think we are talking about the abundance of trees and how everything grows at a tremendous rate here, probably because it tends to rain every couple of days. Of course, this being a pretty political place, they might also be talking about the number of bike lanes we have, our Skytrain system to get cars off the road and the city planners ever growing desire to increase density in almost every part of the city.

But I am talking about the wonderful ability to take a walk in just about any direction from my home on a busy commercial corridor and end up in a green belt walking beside a flowing stream. I returned to Canada about a year ago after living in Southern California for about 25 years, and love my green places here. I feel I am lucky to also make a living doing something that allows me to take an hour walk in the middle of the day to enjoy it.

The other day I was out strolling in a fairly suburban neighborhood not far from home when I saw four coyote pups tumble out of a nearby green belt and play on the front lawn of someone’s home. I stood transfixed and not a little apprehensive knowing the mother and father were probably within a stone’s throw of the pups. But the chance to see them reminded me of how close we are to wild life in a city the size of Vancouver.

In my daily walks I have watched bald eagles soar above me, stumbled upon a falcon with its prey in hand on a pathway I was walking along and seen markings and fur from a black bear along my favorite steam-side trail. I walk down every week to Burnaby Lake to sit and watch the dozens of duck species and Canada Geese hang out in the waters by the beaver mound. No- I haven’t seen beavers yet, but they tell me if I go there at sunset and wait, they will come out. I am incredibly lucky to have this and the museums and jazz clubs of a big city like Vancouver only a twenty-minute train ride away.

I could never live out in the country completely away from the lure of a big city. Even if I only head into it every week or two, knowing it is there if I want it is something that I need for balance in my life. In the same way that having days on end where I only talk to myself and the cats while writing for my clients is balanced by weekends spent with friends either garden gazing with Katherine or dancing with Ria. But having those precious moments like the one I had this week, watching four coyote pups tumble and play in a suburban tract of houses perched on the side of a ravine reminds me we can all find our balance in where we live. It might just be a matter of taking the time to find it.

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Wanderlust

My family has a history of wanderlust.

I didn’t always know this – or even understand how far back it went. But my dad and I were having our weekly morning chat, which we do almost every Sunday through the wonders of Skype, and he was reminiscing about family. He was remembering a trip he took with my mum right around the time they got married, back in the 40s. My Dad met my Mom when he was travelling around Northern Ontario with a buddy of his, who happened to be my mom’s cousin. They landed in Timmins looking for work – which he found. He also found my Mom. After they married they decided to take a trip to Quebec to visit my Mom’s parent’s family. This is how I heard of my grandparent’s family, and how they too travelled. Continue reading

Train Driving

The alarm goes off much too early and she gets up, trying not to wake her husband. He works a night shift and got to bed around three hours ago. He needs his sleep. She picks up sweats and t-shirts, grabs socks and heads out to wake the girls. Today they are taking the Skytrain into town for the annual pre-school clothes shopping. It is an event she always looks forward to, with memories of doing the same with her own mother at this age.

The two girls, age ten and twelve are excited as they hurry into clothes, eat a quick bowl of cereal and grab jackets as they head out the door.  Arms are thrust through jackets as they walk quickly down the street, talking simultaneously about plans for what they will pick out at the store. Annie, the youngest will as usual walk backwards in order to continue talking, while Emma shows how grown up she is by watching out for anything Annie will walk into. Continue reading

Sidewalk Stories

I moved back to Canada recently after spending 25 years in tinsel town, also known as LA. Well, technically I lived in Long Beach, a beach community just outside of LA – but it still had enough of the vibe to count. In Southern California everyone drives to wherever you are going because it is so spread out. You never see anyone up close, just across the highway through the glass of your respective cars while zipping down the freeway at 80 miles an hour. Continue reading

It All Starts Here

I am a blog writer for other sites. I probably write a blog just about every day. In many ways, writing my own blog is the same, but different. When I was a publisher of comic books, over twenty years ago, I wrote a monthly editorial for ten to fifteen titles every month. They were very personal comments on life and comic books and the art of publishing. You could say they were a way to write blogs before there was even an internet. Nowadays, when I write blogs for my clients I write about their goals, needs and desires. Sometimes, of course, I just write about the reviews they send me or the products they are promoting that week. Who is to say that is really any different? Continue reading