Cold Remedy

7 March 2023 – “Not COVID,” announces that welcome single bar on the test strip. My snuffles & sore throat are just plain old snuffles & sore throat. But however ordinary they may be, I am probably infectious (as well as unaesthetic), so I cancel my lunch date. Which leaves me with a mild and not-raining day to fill in, responsibly all by myself.

Uncrowded ferry ride and open-air walk along the Burrard Inlet Seawall, I decide. If not exactly a cold remedy, at least a cold distraction, and posing no significant risk to others.

Perfect size of Aquabus pulls up at The Village dock, here in False Creek’s east end: large and empty, with fresh air blowing through.

I’ll be transferring to another ferry at Granville Island, but there’s a whole art tour en route, courtesy of current and legacy Vancouver Biennale installations. Here’s Proud Youth (Chen Wenling, China), just off the foot of Drake Street…

and here, as we approach the Granville Island dock, the six working silos of Ocean Concrete that together comprise Giants (OSGEMEOS, the composite name of Brazilian twin brothers).

We pick up one other couple along the way — visitors delighted to learn they can effectively tour False Creek just by buying round-trip tickets. They’re settling back, all bright-eyed for the next leg of their tour, when I switch to a much smaller ferry and make the hop across the water to the Hornby St. dock, just east of the Burrard Bridge.

I salute the bridge as I disembark. It’s semi-demi Art Deco, opened in 1932, with the bravura flair of entirely ornamental galleries that contain nothing but hide horizontal supports with style.

A brief detour up to Beach Avenue gives me a whole new angle on the Vancouver Aquatic Centre — quite Great Pyramid, don’t you think?

Barge on the Beach” is gone, finally broken up and hauled away, but there’s still plenty all along the Seawall to captivate the eye. Another Vancouver Biennale installation here at Sunset Beach, for e.g., one of my favourites. The name, 217.5 Arc X 13, tells you the story: Bernar Vernet (France) offers us 13 arcs, each curved to 217.5 degrees.

Not into rusty metal? How about spring daffs?

I pass repeated outbursts along the slopes, with red cones by this one to warn east-bound walkers of the construction ahead, upgrading a pumping station.

And then I veer away from the Seawall path to explore this grove of Wishing Trees. Make a wish, says the placard, physically or online, and donors will contribute a further $10 to the 25 X 25 project. It’s an initiative of the BC Parks Federation, with ‘big, hairy, audacious goals” for creating/protecting 25% of BC’s environment in parkland by 2025.

Did you notice that long, sinuous horizontal wall, there in the background behind the left-hand Wishing Tree? It’s the Vancouver AIDS Memorial, created in 2004 by Bruce Wilson, with some 20 panels of more than 800 incised names. “With you a part of me hath passed away…” runs the George Santayana quote across the top, and current tributes dot the panels.

Yet in the midst of death, we are also in life, and when I rejoin the Seawall I stand captivated — as do others — to watch a very hippie-style wedding take place, right down there by the lapping waves.

A moment later the groom swings his bride in a joyous 360-twirl, and we all break into applause.

Just a little hug of a cove, after that, with all those freighters in the “parking lot,” awaiting their turn to continue up-Inlet into Port of Vancouver…

a storm-thrown stump, so sharply striated it deserves art installation status of its own…

and then a sentinel crow atop a pole in English Bay Beach, just opposite Alexandra Park. Those poles are either volleyball supports or boat hooks — whichever, they await the new season.

I’m about to leave the Seawall for Morton Park and all the activity of Davie Street.

My mouth is set for a salmon burger, surely that will be on offer in one of the spiffy local restos? But I am distracted — I “squirrel” (to use Susan’s wonderful word for the moment when your intended thought/action is highjacked by something else — I am distracted by a food cart advertising 100% pure Alberta beef hot dogs.

My Calgary Girl self rises up, and I’m on for a hot dog.

It is wonderful.

Happy tummy and I then cross the street into Morton Park, to rollick along with the 14 bronze figures that comprise A-maze-ing Laughter (Yue Minjun, China).

My cold has not exactly been remedied, but I have amused myself while also managing to keep my germs to myself. And — back to Susan’s wonderful word (you’ll find it in her comment on my previous post) — I have very successfully squirrelled my cold.

Still on the subject of words…

Another friend, one who was part of that splendid day in White Rock, has explained to me that Wetsuit Guy was kite-surfing, not wind-surfing. Still a maniac, but armed with a kite. I am pleased to learn this, even more pleased by what lies behind her comments and Susan’s as well: the great, rich depth and camaraderie of friendship. Lucky me.


    "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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