I think all the neighbourhood kids were here this afternoon; they were all over the park, just loving the snow and the slope.
Select the image for a closer view.
The apartment building that edges the east end of Salsbury Park is covered in a pebbledash stucco. The bumps and crevices apparently give enough grip for a squirrel to go climbing straight up and down. I sat on the bench in the glorious winter sunshine for quite some time fascinated as this clever animal played with gravity. I think she was concerned about something on the ground, a cat perhaps; but eventually she climbed down and got on with her day.
This morning we went out for breakfast, to the Skylight which is still our favourite. On the way home we stopped for a while in the Park, sitting at the bench surrounded by several trees. The weather was superb — cool, with bright sun and a clear blue sky, with no need for a jacket yet.
We spent some time collecting acorns for the family of squirrels that visits our patio each day, and then we just sat back and relaxed. We watched the silent but steady fall of small leaves; some fell down directly, others spun in a tight spiral, seemingly delaying the inevitable, while yet others glided away from a straight path down, landing as migrants across the lawn. The crows, squirrels and jays kept their distance.
Finally we made friends with a Sirail hound called Stripe. He is a pal of the local three-legged Lucky but is a great deal more affable. A beautiful dog apparently saved from the slums of Bangladesh.
The tiny Salsbury Park is a wonderful place to interact with neighbours of all kinds.
The extraordinary canopy of copper and gold and light brown leaves that has been such a feature of the Park for the last few weeks has entirely tumbled to the ground. For a day or so it was impossible to find the path under the deep shag of the fallen leaves. But then the Parks folks came and efficiently swept them all up into piles.
Today, there are just the final hangers on, delaying that final drop for as long as they can.
Previous Salsbury Park ruminations.
Usually when I write about Salsbury Park, it is because something happened there. But today was just a day to enjoy the quietness of it all.
We have been given today a wonderfully warm and sunny day. Stretched out as we are between two massive rain systems, one just past and another to arrive tomorrow, we deserve this day of rest and warmth. And that was what I was celebrating today — no rooks or squirrels, or dogs or slack-liners — just a peaceful quiet noontime in the dappled light beneath the trees of my favourite park.
Hard to complain.
Double click image for an enhanced view.
Previous Salsbury Park contemplations.
I was heading out this evening to go to the Grandview Heritage Group meeting. As I walked into Salbsury Park I was both surprised and pleased to find about three dozen ukulele players practising there.
So I sat and listened for a while and it was a joyous experience. My little park continues to amaze me every day.
I usually write about activities I see in my favourite little park, but today there was a mystery.
When I crossed the park this afternoon, there was — unusually — no-one else there; no kids, no adults, no dogs. However, two of the four benches had large numbers of stuffed toys sitting on them.
I have no idea why they were there. I hope that some benefactor simply left them for kids to find and play with. It will be interesting to see if they are still there in the morning when I pass through.
I just love little Salsbury Park. It is on my way to and from everywhere and I often sit on the benches, especially on fine days like today. I have written before about eagles, squirrels, and slackliners in the Park. Today, my joy was with little kids.
As anyone who knows the Park is aware, the eastern end has a very steep slope — grassy in summer, perfect for sleds on a snowy day. There were two young lads, perhaps two or three years old, trying to scale the hill. One of them found it no problem; he ran to the top and raced down again. However, his pal just couldn’t get the hang of walking up the slope: he would run a few steps and then fall back on his backside, over and over again. Also because of the slope, he was having trouble getting himself standing upright again after each fall. His little friend came over — over and over again — and gave him a hand up.
I spoke with one of their fathers who told me it was the little one’s first ever hill.
Finally, after much endeavour, both boys stood proudly at the top of the slope, laughing and enjoying their joint success. It was wonderful to watch such an important triumph.
I went out this afternoon, in the heat of the sun, to buy groceries. I didn’t buy a lot of things; but it was enough to cause me to sit for a while in Salsbury Park, to catch my breath on my way home. It was three o’clock on a Saturday afternoon.
I chose the bench at the north east side of the Park, as I usually do, to catch the several cross-wind breezes that seem to like caressing that spot. The bench is also in the shade of several fine trees. I sat with no expectations. There were no other people in the Park. No dogs. No squirrels. No rooks nor eagles.
After a short while, as I relaxed my legs, I recognized that I was sitting in an unexpected silence. If I tried, I could just make out the steady hum of the city a few blocks away, but it was easy to ignore. There was no other sound, near or far. For a minute or two anyway.
That was lovely.
I went out shopping on the Drive this morning and it was the most splendid weather — my absolute favourite: cool without being cold, bright and sunny, refreshing and clean. Nearly everyone seemed to have a smile on their face, so it wasn’t just me.
I ended the walk with a very pleasant sit down in Salsbury Park, watching kids play in the sand, and dogs chasing sticks among the thick piles of fallen leaves. I collected acorns for our visiting squirrels and stretched out my legs in the sun.
Sometimes you just can’t beat the simple stuff.
To be frank, I have never been a dog person. I don’t mind dogs (in principle) but if I have to be described, I guess I am a cat person. However, as I have aged (and boy did that take a lot of time), I have come to enjoy the company of certain dogs — three-legged Lucky from Salsbury Park, for example, and our friends’ dog Sadie.
Unfortunately, two of the dogs I have come to know and like, died this week. Both belong to good friends and I fully understand their sorrow at having to end their companions’ lives.
I have had three cats die in my arms (two from the needle, and one who just simply died). All three were deeply emotional events for me as I had come to know and love and trust each one of them as individuals. I mourn the losses my friends have suffered.
A week ago, I wrote a piece about eagles soaring over Salsbury Park. Today I was sitting on a bench at the same park. The bench is positioned between two good-sized trees. At the very top of each tree was a squirrel, one black, the other gray.
They were chasing each other — playfully, it seemed — leaping from one tiny springy twig to the next, from one tree to the next. Back and forth, up and down.
I guess it wasn’t quite as awesome as the eagles, but it sure was entertaining.
At lunchtime today, there were two huge eagles circling and soaring over Salsbury Park. It is hard to get upset with the day when you get to see that.
My local greenspace is Salsbury Park, a tiny half-block area just east of Commercial Drive. It is very popular locally, with a well-used children’s playground, excellent benches for us old folks, and one of the best sled slopes for the kids when it snows. It is often the scene of small groups practicing stuff like fire dances and rhythmic chain swinging. But yesterday was something new, at least for me.
A chap had strung a slackline between two trees and was walking and bouncing and turning on it. I sat on a bench and watched him for a while. He fell off a few times, but just got back up and carried on. [select image for a better view].
Great fun and excellent cabaret for me!
We were oiut walking the other day, in this crisp light we’ve been having for a few days. The trees are shorn of all their cover right now, just about at their barest, with their beautiful structural essence exposed. We noticed that in all the trees between our house and Commercial, along Adanac and including Salsbury Park, only one had a birds’ nest amid the branches. Just one.
And it got us to thinking that in both our memories nearly all the trees in the neighbourhood used to have nests visible in the winter. But not now it seems.
This is not an area that has suddenly become residential with road traffic overnight; we’ve been this way a hundred years or so. The crowds of crows still cross over here twice a day to and from the rookery. So the suddenness of the disappearance of the birds’ nests — if our memories are true — doesn’t have any obvious local cause.
I wonder where and why they went?
I was giving an important (for me, at least) presentation at the Grandview Heritage Group meeting last night. Before that, we had dinner at Tatsu’s with some friends.
That place still amazes: for a hole-in-the-wall it produces some of the most exquisite Japanese dishes, both in taste and haute cuisine presentation. A very fine meal indeed if not particularly inexpensive.
Then we strolled down to Britannia in the warm evening air. The Drive was busy and happy and noisy. Grandview Park, which we walked through, was filled with people, playing, sitting, selling stuff, laughing, being themselves (or at least their outdoor Summer selves). Community.
We had a good number of people at the GHG meeting and I thought the presentation — and the rest of the meeting — went off well.
Walking home with our friend Eric, we sat in Salsbury Park and just chatted for a while as dogs and kids played. That was a quietly grand finish to a fine evening. Simple pleasures.
About a month ago, I was invited along with several others to meet some students working with the City Studio program. These are folks working on creative ideas for Vancouver’s Greenest City project. They were the group that placed the seat and viewing frame on the westside of Commercial and Adanac.
They met with us to discuss an idea they had: to create a map or something similar that would show places of interest in Grandview that could be reached within a 10-minute walk from a central point. We suggested a lot of places and discussed a range of potential forms that the sign could take.
I went out for a walk this morning and — surprise, surprise! — found that yesterday they had placed their map near the walkway across Salsbury Park, just a hundred yards from my house.
It is an interesting addition to the neighbourhood.