Updated: May 16, 2020
As with most of our favorite outings, this one was completely unplanned. I had just rolled over in bed and as per my usual wake up routine, to delay adulting, I was scrolling through Facebook notifications. The sun was shining through a slit between the two white curtains that hung across the patio doors separating our bedroom from a breathtaking view of snow capped mountains in Vancouver. The piercing light was reminding me It was already 1pm. I was grateful I had slept in so long after working night shift with VIPkid. Our queen sized bed felt like a King size when I was alone in it. There was no heat radiating from my husband's side. He had crept out long ago. I removed the chunks of kleenex I had stuffed into my ears before going to sleep and untangled my eye patch from my messy bun.
The house was strangely quiet even without my make-shift ear plugs I used to drown out the morning sounds of the house coming to life. My husband, Mark had taken on the job of keeping the kids happy, fed and fight free while I rested. I wasn't really wanting to break the bliss of the moment and after catching up with posts by friends on how it hailed this morning, I found myself scrolling through Facebook Marketplace. I had been looking for a pair of boots for my oldest son Denzel. He had outgrown his last pair and had taken to wearing his new running shoes on all our adventures.
The problem was, they were white shoes. Or at least, they had been at first. The scuff marks and stains had been an expensive life lesson for my husband and my son on the importance of practicality with children's apparel during their annual shoe shopping / male bonding expedition. He needed a different pair for wading in streams and clomping through the forest. But, to him, shopping for shoes was akin to having teeth removed without anesthesia.
I had to blink twice when I saw two black pairs of shoes in his exact size, great condition and just $4 a pair. Thank you Facebook!
I flung the blankets back and got dressed quickly. With new found motivation, It only took 10 minutes to drive from our place to the porch pick up. A quick email money transfer of $8 was sent and we had footwear to last us till his feet grew again.
I climbed into the car...now what?
Here I had hustled 3 kids out of the door for this shoe shopping event and the thought of going straight back home while the sun was shining seemed unnatural.
With the kids fidgeting in the car from having a morning indoors, I pulled out my GPS and scanned the area for green. That's how we do it.
We don't google names of places, we look for the closest patch of green on the GPS and follow the roads that lead to it.
Without even knowing where we were going, we followed the zig zags of roads to the green patch and discovered we had arrived at Forest Glen Park. The kids wanted to bike, but I convinced them today wasn't the best day for that. The truth is, I hadn't planned to stay very long at the park...just a quick break to stretch legs, let them run around while I took a couple of deep breaths of fresh air. I figured 15 minutes and we would be piling back into the car and heading back home. I was wrong. We had arrived at a beautiful park.
We parked at the top of an open field. We were welcomed by a carpet of Cherry blossoms painting the walkway a vibrant bubblegum pink. Jazlyn and G took off running down the hill with the energy only a 3 & 4 year old can embody and I scanned the area for things to photograph as I usually do. I wondered how this beautiful space could have been minutes from my door for the last two years without my knowing. To the left was a playground and a wading pool. Both were fenced off as a reminder of the Corona Virus Pandemic that was pulsing through the city. Denzel found a few large trees with low outreaching arms that stood as though waiting for the next person to hug. "Come here", I thought I heard them say and found myself climbing into the trees' embrace as well.
The park consumed us for the next two hours and it felt like hardly a minute had gone by.
The kids ran around, aware of the social distancing rule to keep space from others. A sprinkling of people sat in the sunshine across the field and some strolled by on the sidewalk. My pulse was already beating slower. Mother Nature always works her magic on my mood.
Denzel took off like a bullet racing across the field
We had parked on the street and the park began with a wide and luscious green field on the top of a hill. It rolled down into a thick forest and into a slim winding trail that disappeared into darkness.
The kids begged to go. How could I say no to nature's embrace? And so the walk began. A green canopy enveloping us, like we had just walked through the closet of Narnia from an open field. Moss kissing the trees, and sunshine begging to caress our faces between the branches.Even the birds were whistling hello!
I was so surprised, delighted and calmed by our unexpected walk. I was happy we hadn't brought our bikes since the trail had a gradual decline which means what goes down must come up! I could see myself carrying at least two extra bikes on the way back if we had brought them. Jazlyn doesn't have the leg power to get over most bumps, and certainly not for going up hills. We saw a sign that indicated this trail links to Deer Lake. Who knew!?! Although we only walked about 10 minutes into the forest, it took us over 30 minutes. The younger kids breaking off the path and wandering to find slugs in the forest, my eldest pretended to be a Ninja doing battle with invisible foe and pausing briefly when a fiddle head was found.
We went from quiet pacing, to conversations, to exploration.
We could have spent the whole day there. But, alas, dinner time and hungry bellies called us back to the car. We paused to cross the street as bus number 110 pulled away from a stop right in front of the park. The kids had their romp, I had the sun kiss my face. Today was a beautiful day.
Today the price of peace cost $8
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