Anyone who knows me knows that summer is my favourite season and I’ve always called myself a “summer girl.”
This summer was a long time coming. The spring was cool and rainy, with gloomy days persisting into “Juneuary,” and for the first time since I moved to Vancouver 32 years ago, I didn’t swim in Sasamat Lake until July.
This summer has had other black clouds lurking, always, in the background, and that is one of the reasons for this blog’s silence. My father is in the final stages of kidney disease. No longer, for him, the bike rides of summer that he enjoyed right into his 92nd year. My partner Keith has been enduring pain and disability for years now—and just a few days ago, an arthritis specialist finally offered him the hope of life-changing medication. Another challenge is a complicated book editing project that has kept me under a high level of pressure and uncertainty.
In spite of the clouds, though, for the past two weeks I’ve revelled in the perfect days of August. Every one of them is a pearl. I’ll string them together on a necklace of memories. Maybe, on dark days, I’ll be able to pull out that necklace, and feel again, in the lustrous glow of those pearls, the bright, carefree atmosphere of summer.
What I give you here is the past six days, and a simple, yet extraordinary (to me) moment from each day—accompanied in most cases by a photo.
August 9, 2022: Two bears swimming in Mundy Lake
Laurie and I were doing a sprint workout in Mundy Park in the afternoon. It was hot! We were walking between sprints along the Mundy Lake loop when we heard VERY loud splashes—too big to be frogs—and saw two bears swimming in the lake, close to the trail. They seemed to be playing. I would guess that just like us, they needed to cool off! We chose not to join them.
We don’t run with our phones, so no photo. Instead, I’ll substitute my best bear photo from last year.
August 10, 2022: Caterpillar
I was wondering why my almost-new sunflower plant wasn’t looking very healthy. Then I noticed a fuzzy orange caterpillar on one of its half-eaten leaves. Aha! Into the garden trimmings with you, and down to the community garden bin where you can eat leftover foliage until you turn into a butterfly. I neglected to take a photo, so I’ll substitute one of my best bee photos from Edwards Gardens in Toronto.
August 11, 2022: Eagle hunting at Sasamat Lake
I was enjoying a blissful swim on a hot day and was quite far out in the lake, away from any other swimmers or boats. Taking a break from front crawl, I rolled onto my back. Directly overhead, I saw a magnificent eagle circling, hunting for prey. (No, not me, I’m too big!). I watched it make several graceful circles, and was thankful for the opportunity to be so close. No photo: I don’t swim with a waterproof camera attached. I’ll substitute a photo showing you how magical the lake looked that day.
August 12, 2022: High tide at Burrard Inlet after sunset
I went out for a refreshing walk right after sunset. The Inlet is at its most beautiful in the evening, especially when the tide is so high—the pull of the full moon.
August 13, 2022: The unicyclist
This day looked unpromising, with gray skies and a warning of light rain. Nevertheless, I felt like going for a bike ride, and I knew that by getting out early I would avoid Saturday traffic on both roads and trails. I was right; there were few people on the trails, but one of those few was a surprising sight: a guy riding at Colony Farm on a tall unicycle! We exchanges smiles, and he even managed to give me a wave as he rode by, but of course there was no time for a photo.
August 14, 2022: Deer at the Seymour Demonstration Forest
Today was a perfect day to be riding on the Seymour Demonstration Forest road, and there is a place at the bottom of the Hydraulic Connector trail with stunning views of the mountains. I got great views of this deer, too!