Watson in the Rain

30 November 2021 – Raining still, expected to intensify, sombre warnings about the coming 48 hours.

I go out for a walk.

Watson runs parallel to Main Street, feels and mostly behaves like a lane but is just slightly too wide for the anonymity of lane-hood. It is officially street width, and requires a name. I do not know which Watson they had in mind; I can only think of clever Holmes barking an exasperated “Watson!” at his befuddled colleague.

So. That voice in my ear, and all this in my eye: drizzle & chilly air & sodden leaves & garbage bins & garbage in and out of bins & hand-lettered notices about missing dogs, cats and oh yes human beings.

But also, here at East 14th: a share-bike rack; Andrea Wan‘s vintage VMF mural (2016) peeking through the foliage; and the literal and emotional warmth of the Main Street JJ Bean café, one of 22 outlets of a fourth-generation Vancouver dynasty that offers quality to customers and better than Fair Trade prices and other support to its suppliers.

And also, one block farther south at East 15th: Phil Phil Studio‘s 2021 VMF mural opposite Heritage Hall; and Heritage Hall itself, currently shrouded for its seismic upgrade and re-roofing project — only the latest stage in a history that began in 1915 and has taken the building from post office to federal agriculture facility to vacant and derelict to restored as a community and cultural centre. I don’t know if it has remained open for events throughout this latest refurbishment, but I do know it will be open December 15-16 (obeying all virus protocols) for Music on Main’s Music for the Winter Solstice.

So much, all around us, that is uncertain, worrisome, just plain sad and wrong.

And all this as well.

Leave a comment


  1. Alan Williams

     /  30 November 2021

    Soggy Vancouver weather has a history of playing on our emotions. In 1984, or thereabouts, I wrote:

    Vancouver Overcast grey sky heavy air and churning clouds a tear falls to earth.

    Pretty ordinary haiku, but you get the idea. I think I was feeling something similar to your closing thoughts. But there have always been sad and wrong things in the world. And the future is always uncertain and worrisome. We need to see the beauty of lanes, (and those that are officially street width). I know you have, I know you do, and I know you will. The sun will come out again. Thanks for sharing your walk with me.

  2. I hope you get several days of, at worst, rainless skies, or at best, undiluted sun.

  3. Blane Hogue

     /  1 December 2021

    As someone who is heavily engaged in built history conservation on the east coast, I am delighted to see the work being done on Heritage Hall. So glad it wasn’t just demolished which happens too often in our large cities.

  4. It’s quite a mix lately, isn’t it? And now the latest variant may be a little less worrisome than we thought at first, but really, it’s still up in the air. Good for you for getting out no matter what, my friend!


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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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