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Monday’s brief fun in the sun

March 15, 2016
Vancouver's idea of a spring snowstorm near Cambie Street and 16th Avenue.

Vancouver’s idea of spring snow near Cambie Street and 16th Avenue.

Monday morning started out overcast and rainy but unlike today (Tuesday, March 15), it at least gave us a brief respite—a preview, as it were, of the warm, sunny weather forecast for later in the week.

All Tuesday morning has managed was short-lived thinning of the cloud cover around 8:15 a.m.

Admittedly, Monday was also back to overcast by early afternoon and quickly became a torrential write-off but that just made the glorious bit of morning all the more precious.

Look up in the sky!

Forget faster Internet in the near future, new fibre-optic lines mean faster squirrels now!

Who cares about faster Internet? New fibre-optic lines mean faster squirrels!

On Monday, rather than starting my day with breakfast and then going out to look for returnable beverage containers, I changed up my routine (as I do occasionally) and charged right out into the alleys for two hours of binning more-or-less straight in the direction of a recycling depot in East Vancouver.

The clouds were parting by the time I’d made a 13-block swing, west to Granville Street, south to 15th Avenue and then due east.

It was about 8 a.m. when I reached Heather Street and the sun really came out from behind the clouds. It was my imagination but it seemed as though nature came out to greet it.

It is tough being a squirrel, just not at this exact moment.

It is tough being a squirrel, just not at this exact moment.

All around me the trees rang with birdsong. Directly over my head a pair of squirrels were seemingly playing high-wire tag with one another, dashing back and forth along the transmission lines strung between wooden utility poles, jumping off onto intersecting tree branches and back again onto the smooth black coated wires.

It was enough for the trailing squirrel just to touch its nose to the tail in front of it and the leading squirrel would be spurred forward as if by a little shock. I can’t say if the lead changed hands but it looked like fun, whatever the two of them were doing.

A black-capped chickadee sits still just long enough for one photo.

A black-capped chickadee keeps still just long enough for one photo.

At Ash Street, a small group of five or so black-capped chickadees (collectively known as a “banditry” or a “dissimulation”) seemed to be playing a game of their own, flying at ridiculous speed back and forth and back and forth between a tree and an overhead wire.

Mount Pleasant at 8:30 a.m. Monday. The wisps above the scar fence on the left is steam.

Mount Pleasant at 8:30 a.m. The cedar fence on the left is steaming from the sun.

At 8:30 a.m. I was standing on the crest of Alberta Street, just south of 12th Avenue.

Spread out ahead of me, looking east, was the urban woods of a Mount Pleasant back alley—the clapboard-sided single family homes, the drooping wooden single-car garages, the cedar fences and the utility poles, made from ramrod-straight remnants of western red-cedar and lodgepole pine trees.

The clouds had fled and the sun was a force in the sky. The cedar fencing and the wooden utility poles—even the wet cardboard in the blue recycling boxes—all was steaming in the hot sunlight.

This was a lot better than sitting in a restaurant on West Broadway Avenue checking my email (I was too caught up in the moment to think).

A reminder of the earlier morning rain on a tree blossom along Manitoba Street.

A reminder of the earlier rain on a tree blossom found along Manitoba Street.

Everything, as they say, was downhill from there. Down the slope northward from 12th to 8th, a zig east to Ontario Street and a final zag to 7th Avenue and the bottle depot to cash in the returnables I had collected along with my sightseeing.

From the depot, I made my way straight back to West Broadway Avenue, to go to a restaurant, have my breakfast and, yes, to check my email. Click the images to enlarge them.

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2 Comments
  1. Hmmm…that sounds like a great morning indeed.

    • Thanks! It really was. I suspect that in a place like Vancouver, British Columbia, it’s harder than usual to have a bad day. Certainly, whenever I’ve thought I was having one, it has almost always turned out to be, in actual fact, a bad mood.

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