Bees & Bears

22 July 2017 – The title is not inspired by A.A. Milne, but Pooh’s lament does come to mind. Remember? He is at the foot of a tree, the bee hive (surely dripping honey) is high overhead. If he wants that honey, he will have to climb.

It’s a very funny thought [he observes] that if bears were bees,

They’d build their nests at the bottom of trees,

And that being so, if the bees were bears,

We shouldn’t have to climb up all these stairs!

I am not thinking about bees or bears or stairs, as I weave my way home last Monday evening, I am thinking about the fun we just had doing an outdoor Taoist Tai Chi demonstration next to False Creek. I turn at random on a nearby street, pause to admire a series of raised planters, and wonder — very vaguely — what the little raised wooden structures are all about.

 

See? One per planter.

Then I see the signs on the wall. Big Rock Urban Brewery is not maintaining these planters for human enjoyment; they are bee habitats.

I like this. I like that they care for bees, and educate humans as well. I learn things about prudent behaviour around bees. I resolve not to “act like a bear.”

And that’s that, for a couple of days. I do not think about bees.

Until I am again wandering home in the early evening, this time from an Iceland presentation out in Kitsilano (“Kits” to its friends). Again a random turn, on a random street, in that golden pre-dusk light.

And look what pops up.

“Pop up” being the right phrase: I have stumbled upon the City of Vancouver’s 5th and Pine Pop-Up Park. Created in late 2016, it offers community meeting space with a large wildflower garden designed to attract bees & other pollinators.

Just look at all those bees.

And not just on the walls!

Those black specks among the wildflowers are, oh yes, real live bees. I remember the rules on that Big Rock poster. I keep calm, step back, and strive not to act like a bear.

It works. I walk through the park and around the next corner, unstung, and very impressed.

Only to be even more impressed. Now I’ve landed in the Pine Street Community Gardens. I stand there and laugh. How can you just turn a downtown corner, and, boom, fall into this kind of magic?

It’s older than the pop-up park, I later learn: founded in 2006, running parallel to disused railway tracks, with an Orchard Side (apples, pears, plums, etc.), a Garden Side (more than 40 plots), modest yearly fees and, not surprisingly, a waiting list of would-be gardeners.

There are vegetable plots …

and flower plots …

and a brightly painted storage shed.

With bee hives.

I again act not-like-a-bear. It again keeps me safe.

There’s a sign, up on that storage shed. I always read signs.

Yet more serendipity.

See that reference to the Arbutus Greenway? It’s very much a work in progress, early days for a trail that will repurpose the old CPR tracks to provide a walking/cycling/rolling corridor from False Creek to the Fraser River.

Temporary pathways are already open. One starting point is right here, in yet another pop-up park at the eastern end of the Community Gardens, at West 6th & Fir.

Frances & I have already decided to explore the Greenway in next Tuesday’s walk. I plonk my bag on the bench, and send her this photo:

“Bag marks the spot,” I say. “See you there!”

Consider this your Sneak Preview…

 

 

 

 

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11 Comments

  1. I love your posts, Ms Not-like-a-bear! There’s no predicting what next. I’m almost longing to live in a new place, so I too can be surprised – although surprises don’t actually stop with familiarity.

    Reply
  2. I love the library at the Toronto Botanical Gardens which has very comfortable chairs, and a big window looking out at bees working busily like, well bees. There is something very calming about watching them. I prefer the glass between us but now I know not to move like a bear…
    Wonderful post! Glad to see that Vancouver is fresh with new places for your wanderings!

    Reply
    • I know the library you mean – your description flashed me there in my mind’s eye, thanks for the trip. The TBG has become a wonderful space, do you remember its very humble beginnings? Anyway, bring yourself out here & we’ll stroll some other gardens together

      Reply
  3. Grateful surprises…enjoy your walks and new urban spaces Penny…fun post! 😀 smiles Hedy

    Reply
  4. Yes, the Big Rock Urban guys seem to be getting everything right – bravo! It’s been another enjoyable peek into Vancouver, and I’m left wondering if you yourself were presenting the Taoist Tai Chi demonstration, and if so, that sure would be interesting to hear about. And the Iceland presentation…
    In any case, looking forward to the next installment!

    Reply
    • I was not the Tai Chi leader, just one of the class — I practice with the group here quite faithfully. The Iceland presentation was so-so; I attended because I have visited the country twice, perhaps that’s why I didn’t think this aded much. Still — it caused me to discover the Pine St Community Gardens!

      Reply

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