My book, f-Holes of Melancholia, did not make the finalist cut in the Whistler Independent Book Awards. It felt like failure for a few minutes. Then I had to remind myself that it’s an accomplishment to have written and published a book, let alone getting shortlisted for an award. So, I’m still thrilled to have received that boost—and counting my blessings as I fill my days with the beauty of Stanley Park.
When I was a kid, I couldn’t wait to go outdoors. Indoors did nothing for my imagination. Outside, under the endless southern Alberta sky, I explored the Coulee, marvelled at the cactuses, and scrutinised all that lived or wavered on the prairie. I spent hours and hours alone, out of the house, watching the teeming world. The lifestyle of my childhood beckons again now that I’m retired. I wake in the morning with a writing stint planned, but my first thought is Stanley Park. Is it early enough? Will it be peaceful? On a gorgeous day, everything else can wait.
Stanley Park fills my soul. I’ve lived next to it for over 25 years, and it never grows old. I try to visit on my bike every day. When I do, I feel as wise and vibrant as a tree. After riding ten kilometres around the seawall, I stop at a favourite bench to scribble my thoughts, my notebook balanced on my lap. The setting is perfection personified—like a John Turner landscape in the magical morning light.
Nature creates artwork in the sky—serrated, stringy and wispy clouds with strange and wonderful blue patches peeking through. It’s a masterpiece that morphs and changes every few minutes, like life. All moments become masterpieces when we stop to notice.
My best-loved perch overlooks Kowabunga Beach—named so by locals. I’m not sure this craggy patch of sand has an official name. It’s just north of the main beach, English Bay. A crow pesters an old man holding a bag of breadcrumbs while pedestrians glide along the seawall. Bikes whiz by on the path behind me. A cool breeze quells the heat.
While seagulls bob in English Bay, a host of cargo ships guard the horizon like sentinels. Sailboats take advantage of the wind. A small plane burrs overhead en route to Coal Harbour. The tips of the grasses jiggle. Waves roll onto the shore with purpose, not aggression. The sun lights up a Forsythia bush. Oh, how I love Stanley Park with its supreme solitude and exquisite beauty.
When money isn’t a guiding force in life, parks can offer wealth. Many people chase the bigger, the better, and the shinier. Once acquired, they’re off to the next pursuit. For me, sitting under the virescent spring canopy in the sunshine, trumps a ten-inch high stack of hundred-dollar bills.