Most days my husband, Richard, and I, follow our lunch with a walk. Today was no different. It is gloomy and threatens to rain with the odd droplet, but raincoats donned, out we went.
Recently we moved from Ontario to British Columbia and thus our walks are adventures in meeting a new challenge: making it up and down formidable hills! We encourage one another with the dangling carrot of "that hill added yet another day to our lives!" (We will undoubtedly continue walking as long as the old fellow we passed the other day - 80 if he was a day, walking poles in hand, he made his way down the steep 45 degree incline that is our street. And earlier a fellow passed us on bike, peddaling up another steep hill that I, at 57, would be yet unlikely to bike up. Clearly we have catching up to do!)
Today we meandered through a park that is remarkably wild given its location in downtown Nanaimo. Dissected by a rushing river-let (it's definitely a river by Ontario standards and yet is small by B.C. standards), it delights with waterfalls, ferns that fan out several feet and stand as tall as I (five foot), and trees that hover so high over us and have a girth of such indescribable measurement ... it is hard to share what impact all this nature has on our well-being and attitude!
Other days we wander through city trails to the harbour where we can see starfish, watch seagulls pick up clams and drop them on the rocks in low tide to feast over and over, watch deer following the river to the ocean, and with time we will see otters, dolphins and even sea lions we are told.
All this in a city of some 70,000 people - people who walk, smile, stop to chat and are otherwise clearly happy to live in their chosen home. What an adventure!
We finished our walk today by choosing to take a long, long staircase up to an adjoining road. Almost up the 100 or so steps, we stopped to let a class of kindergartners pass as they took that path to the swimming pool. Mind, this path has a steep cliff on one side, unprotected by fencing or other barrier. And that's another thing about B.C.: you acquire safe judgment and exercise caution - there are simply too many wild bits to protect its inhabitants from every potential danger.
And such was our walk today. Perhaps next time I'll take you by the ocean and describe that view, if I can find words that are up to conveying that spectacle!