20 March 2017 – “You’ll have to climb a big hill,” warns the little girl, her eyes very wide. “Then that’s what I shall do,” I promise her. And I do.
The sun is out, and so am I.
I decide to visit Bloedel Conservatory for a hit of instant summer, and seek further directions from passers-by when I alight from the bus. Turn right at that corner, they tell me, and then right again. And up the big hill, chirps their daughter.
Puffpuff-pantpant indeed. Made all the puffpuff-ier by my decision to portage more or less straight up, cutting across the roadway’s gentle (but lengthy) topographical S-bends.
All worth it. Like every other visitor, I pause for a photo before I enter — rounded honeycomb dome of the Conservatory up close, jagged mountain peaks ‘way out there, and a bright flag in-between, snapping in the breeze.
In I go. Instant steam all over my glasses. It clears. I peel off my jacket & relax into the warmth.
Tropical vegetation & waterfalls …
and tropical birds, flying free — though some of the more spectacular ones are sufficiently habituated to their own perches that the Conservatory can post signs telling you who each one is.
Which is why I can so confidently introduce you to Mali — their Greater Sulphur Crested Cockatoo.
Doesn’t he look pleased with himself? He has just watched a Conservatory employee tidy up beneath him, and he is as cavalier about it as any aristocrat being pampered by the help.
By the time I leave, I’m eager for cool bracing air. I find myself breathing it in deeply & gratefully as I wander downwards through one of the quarry gardens.
White-tipped snowdrops along the path play visual call-&-response with white-tipped mountains to the north …
local birch play against all the tropical plants inside …
and our own sturdy mallards & Canada geese swim peacefully about. A crow plays Tease-the-Tourist with me for a while, always flying off before I can take his picture.
I’m down at the bus stop now, but with all this sunshine on offer, why would I hop back on a bus? Especially when the route home is downhill all the way?
So I hoof down & down, and down some more, piling up block after block on Main Street.
And I am rewarded by one of those sidewalk signs I so dearly love, the ones that toss a hit of Philosophy With Attitude in your direction, all in a few lines.
The only thing wrong with it is … I can’t go in and order a latte.