Details

19 April 2021 – First you widen your eyes, and stare at the big picture. Then you narrow your eyes, and start to wiggle in among the details.

For example, here at the entrance to this alley, just south-west of Broadway & Main. Wide eyes for a whole big chunk of space and structure, whirling with styles & textures & purpose.

Semi-narrowed eyes for the joke of this temporary art/context juxtaposition: look! a pink Coast Salish whale diving into a Mercedes-Benz!

Then properly narrowed eyes for the steps/ledge tableau to the right of the whale.

Steps & railing lead up to a bouquet of flowers …

with an artisanal No Parking sign beyond that …

and beyond that, another painted bouquet on the wall, with tiny sprigs of real plants in various containers on the ledge below …

and ‘way over in the corner, where the ledge triangulates with right-angled walls …

a modest little chunk of log, with a spiral shell balanced on top.

There’s lots more going on in that alley, macro-to-micro like crazy, and I whirl around with it for quite a while. But then I leave, and I walk on south & east for a further while, right up to Prince Edward Park, where I notice a shoulder-height wooden fence bordering one of the homes opposite.

There is a big, hand-lettered sign hanging on the fence. I step closer for the details.

You know the next detail for my narrowed eyes, don’t you? Trying very hard to avoid touching the fence (do steadying elbows count?), I peer over the top.

And there they are. The hens.

I don’t want to keep hens myself, but I love knowing that somebody else does want to, and can, right here in the city.

Same way I don’t find tree-trunk faerie villages at all appealing, but I really like the fact that other people enjoy them, construct them, and make them their contribution to civic good humour.

So I am benign about the grass-level example I see over by West 10th & Alberta, and I’m actively intrigued by whatever-it-is jutting out from the tree at shoulder height.

In closer for the details.

I’m still not sure what it is! Purple light-bulb, fine, got that — but the rest of it? Snowmen? Michelin-tire men? Don’t care. They’re unexpected and they’re fun.

And, big bonus, they cause me to stop, look around, and notice the purple sequinned cat over there in the flower bed.

Is that not terrific? (Yet another example of something I don’t want for myself, but am delighted to see cherished and put on display.)

And on I go, dropping down north toward False Creek, through Charleson Park and finally eastward on the seawall.

The path skirts the Heather Civic Marina — definitely a moment for wide eyes, and the big-scene stare.

So I do, I stare.

Then I narrow my eyes, and wish — for the umpteenth time — that I’d remembered to bring my binoculars with me. However — again for the umpteenth time — I have not remembered, so I must make do with narrowed eyes.

Which pick out a detail.

Look, up there, among all those masts …

It is! It really is a human being! A human being having a Cirque du Soleil moment, atop a mast on a boat in the Heather Civic Marina in False Creek.

I am so pleased that I noticed it — and equally pleased to have my own two feet on a solid path right here on the ground. Stomp-stomp-stomp, all the way home.

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5 Comments

  1. Such great diversity, and yes, it’s that people can, not necessarily that others would want those things for themselves. Trying to impose our personal choices on others is often where we go wrong.
    Great post. πŸ™‚

    Reply
  2. Some great finds on this walk, Penny. I love the sign with its admonition about the hens who will never be friends with doggy passers-by. I think we already agreed that we weren’t fond of the little faerie deals but we get that they make people feel good so we can’t be too curmudgeon-y about it – but I too loved that bizarre string of oddities. πŸ™‚ And what an ending! Terrific shot of that brave soul! πŸ™‚

    Reply
    • yes, what on earth was that guy doing ‘way up that mast??

      Reply
      • Fixing that rigging…in 2012, two tall ships, the Lady Washington and the Hawaiian Chieftain, stopped in Kirkland, WA, where I lived. They had a fake skirmish with cannons out on Lake Washington, with all the sails up – it was so much fun to see. Then they sailed in to a dock in Kirkland and several members of the crew climbed up the masts to work on the sails I don’t know exactly what they were doing but it was very exciting to see. πŸ™‚

      • Exactly! one has no idea what they’re doing, but damn, it is exciting to see.

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  • WALKING… & SEEING

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