The Birds of Granville Ireland


The Birds of Granville Ireland
Vancouver, Canada

Vancouver, Canada

Today was spent largely in contemplation. I have a plan to spend a day walking the entire seawall around Stanley Park but not today. I want a clear day and today though warm, was a little cloudy so I decided to walk the ‘green spaces’ between my place and my evening destination in Kits instead.

I started by exploring a new little island that’s been constructed in south east False Creek as a mini eco-rejuvenation to foster wild life. It was well fertilised with goose-poo so it seems to be working! Back on the seawall I was joined by the beautiful people of Vancouver who seem to be constantly running, jogging, walking, skating, blading, cycling and even uni-cycling in ones, two’s, in families, with big dogs, small dogs, gangs of dogs – I think this constant patrol of citizens might be the secret to their happiness and security. I’m worried that if I stay much longer, I might start jogging.

But stay much longer is what I’d love to do. Now that I know I can’t though, I’m again feeling that anxiety of leaving home, of approaching another cliffs edge.

Luckily my Goose friends were around again today to cheer me up and spur me onto Granville Island where the omens of my evening started to gather… I stopped for coffee at a cafe where a busker played Irish shanty songs next to an amusingly titled glasses shop called ‘Granville Eye-land’ and then there’s all those green spaces…

I kept along the seawall to Vanier Park which is directly across the water from the apartment we lived in so long ago. An older First Nations man called out to me to point out a bald eagles nest high up in a tree with the eagle itself perched beside it. We chatted for a while hoping to see the chicks but not today. Further up the path I stopped to watch a raven attempting to prise some little sea creature out of its shell. She flew with it in her beak and dropped it repeatedly on the concrete until she claimed her prize. It’s only now that I’m writing this that I’m seeing another strong theme for the day – birds! Luckily it wasn’t of Hitchcockian proportions.

I then succeeded in what I had failed to do the other day by following the shore line around to Kits Beach which was scattered with people enjoying the warm weather. I walked its length, dipped my toes in the too-chilly-for-swimming water before heading back inland to Kits to forage for beer and make my way to the home of Barry Gormley.

Barry is the brother of my dear friend Ann back in Sydney by way of Northern Ireland. He lives in what can only be described as an Irish commune save for his lovely partner Cathy who had just arrived back from a trip to Brazil where she was working on a project to improve the lives of people living in the favelas. I was fascinated and made a bad guest of myself by asking way too many questions.

We sat in their sunny backyard having a few beers by Barry’s very impressive vegetable patch as various countrymen came and went. It was delightful to be surrounded by strong Irish accents which I almost entirely understood. Cathy made a delicious veggie curry which we enjoyed inside while watching the Canucks game.

And here I have to confess that having vowed to watch the remaining games downtown with my t-shirt on, I fell at the first hurdle and cost them the game! I hereby reaffirm my vow. I promise!

At one point in the evening Barry got Ann on the phone just as John had called Isabella when I visited them. It was so lovely to hear her voice and somewhat surreal to do so in the context of her brothers house in a city so far removed from both my homeland and theirs. When I first arrived, I was struck by the lack of resemblance between them but by the time it came to say goodbye, it was the similarities shining through in mannerisms, accent and an unmistakable generosity of spirit.

Although I feel terrible for my part in tonights Canucks loss, I was very grateful to have had the luck of the Irish all to myself.



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