The Moment In Between

16 October 2021 – It has just rained and it will soon rain again, but, meanwhile, there is this moment in between.

I walk back east, in this moment.

A burst of nature’s own autumnal colour blocking on West 8th, climbing the Whole Foods wall near Cambie …

and a cryptic message, one block farther east.

It’s a study in contrasting response to the rain: the paper lies limp & sodden, literally washed out, while the leaves and pavement dazzle & dance in glowing colour.

Over at Alberta St. I angle myself off 8th Avenue, pivoting S/E around this blue-mural’ed building (artist Debra Sparrow, VMF 2020)…

into the alley.

I’d forgotten the march of murals down this alley, discover them again. Right here at the corner, Reclaimed, a 2020 VMF work by Carole Mathys.

There’s more than murals, marching down this alley! I salute the H-frames

and, out at the corner of Manitoba St., take in yet more colour blocking. Red/orange tree; grey building with golden window frames; bright blue utility bin; and a whole swatch of very angry black on the wall beside me.

You’re gone, graffiti! Though I suspect all that black makes a tempting canvas for a new round of aerosol cans.

Just east of Manitoba, a mural style I’ve seen elsewhere (notably around the Native Education College) but so far without an identifying artist name.

This is the alley that keeps on giving.

Approaching Ontario, here’s the back door to a doggie spa, with a so-cute cartoon on the wall and a real live client showing off his latest trim. Just groomed, his owner tells me, and very pleased with himself.

Opposite that, the antithesis of grooming.

Nearing Quebec St. by now, and I finally learn the ID of the artist for this powerful mural just past the Raven Song Community Health Centre parking lot. It’s the VMF 2017 work of “Morik,” as in Russia-born Marat Danilyan.

Out of the alley onto Quebec, pivot N/E past all this ivy, flaming with the impact of fall weather…

onto East 8th, where weather has no impact on the pace of construction. (Though it makes the ground a lot soggier.)

You often see their hard hats among clients at my own favourite café, just a few doors farther east on 8th.

I slide in for a latte.

Herewith an unabashed plug for Melo Patisserie: the refinement of Melo’s French culinary training, with the warmth of his Brazilian heritage. Plus a posy of fresh freesia on every table every day, and a trio of teddy bears in the window.

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  1. I love all of these photos! I would love to stop in at Melo Patisserie for a latte too!
    Thank you for a lovely post!

  2. What a colourful, interesting walk and then topped off by a visit to a patisserie. Wonderful!

  3. A truly interesting post and pix. Would that all graffiti be limited to big trash containers such as the red dumpster in the fifth photo!

    • I’m with you, but cautiously… in that I make a distinction between graffiti (defacing scrawls) and street art (skill, composition, adding to beauty, often but not necessarily commissioned)…

  4. Oh, I like this! “Stuff” was an excellent spot and it’s a great photograph. I’d be tempted to print that and frame it. The wall of autumnal plants is really nice, as are the murals, but what puts them into perspective are the H-frames. 😉 The color-blocking is another gem. I love the antithesis of grooming – the wooden palette and the fence are good mates and the view from inside the cafe looks lovely. Gotta catch those in-between times! It took me quite a while to get that when I first moved out here. 😉

    • Given the care and quality of your photos, I am wriggling with delight that some of mine snag your eye in return. Yes I loved “Stuff”, not just the immediate image but the later philosophical rabbit-hole about “it’s not what happens, it’s how you respond” with the paper limp and defeated, and the boring old aggregate up and dancing in sparkly joy. Glad too you felt the jolt and amusement of that cross-alley contrast: just-groomed dog, and ungroomed-to-collapse shed. But a beautiful shed even so, for all the reasons you point out. And oh yes, those H-frames! They, along with crows, have become silhouette icons for local artists. As for Melo… some day we can all travel again, and you can enter Melo, and enjoy the food and also Melo himself

      • There’s a lesson in subjectivity – your associations with “Stuff” are interesting. I was also thinking about some kind of ambiguity in the word, of it referring to the beautiful leaves, which redeem it. How cool that local artists are using the H-frames.
        There’s a nice French pastry place in Seattle but that’s about 2 hours away. Bellingham has a very small one with a limited menu, I think, but I don’t get up there much either. Yes, we can dream. I hope it’s not too far away.

  5. p.s. You just tortured me with the Melo website.


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    "Traveller, there is no path. Paths are made by walking" -- Antonio Machado (1875-1939)

    "The voyage of discovery is not in seeking new landscapes, but in having new eyes" -- Marcel Proust (1871-1922)

    "A city is a language, a repository of possibilities, and walking is the act of speaking that language, of selecting from those possibilities" -- Rebecca Solnit, "Wanderlust: A History of Walking"

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