Refuge: Stepping Out

by Zbigniew

With everyone in such a goddamn hurry, I remind myself that the trick is not to give in to such foolishness.

It’s Friday evening and the sky is clear and the light is slowly waning. I pass on the subtle pleasure of coaxing a ticket out of a Translink automaton and all that crowded bus transfer jazz and opt for the long walk –circa 50 minutes, plus dawdling time.

A few steps off the main road and the droning traffic suddenly drops off to background levels. By the time I reach Trillium Park, the big noise is the intermittent pop of cleat striking ball.

At the public works yard I wave for the security cameras and pause at the Malkin side when I spot a Ken Lum diptych –A Tale of Two Children: A Work for Strathcona. Did I know this was here? I take it as a surprise.

Walking east and now and then I’m reminded of the near-by chaos, as lead-footed drivers desperate to shave a few minutes off the commute roar past. Otherwise, it’s pretty quiet.

The park is apparently all but empty. I pause at the eagle’s nest. Last week a gentleman carrying a substantially lensed camera and a Hancock Wildlife Foundation affiliation expressed his concern for the resident eagles, then absent and a couple of weeks overdue. There are positive developments.

Strathcona Park Sunset

Strathcona Park Aerie

Strathcona Park Eagle

Further east, sandwiched between warehouses, a substantive number of skateboarders are doing their thing.

The path to the gap in the fence and a short cut across the tracks is marked by a concentration of consumer waste, from plastic cups and stained leather shoes, to used needles and discharged condoms, including one coloured a violent mustard.

I arrive at the base of the hill, at the edge of what was the inlet. East of here the road – framed by mini-forests of evergreens and power lines and bathed in copper- sweeps slowly and quietly upward.

But first I need to forge a raging river of glass and metal, six lanes wide. I trip the switch, and wait -for the light, and then the stragglers taking liberties. The waters stilled and parted, I step out onto the road, and take my sweet time crossing.