• Lara

Squinting For the Good at Squint Lake (Burnaby)

Damn. 2020 reminds me of that time my husband was chased by a man in a tractor through a farm field till he tripped and fell. Terrifying. As he recounted that story of working (road construction) on a Sabbath day in a town that felt this was a tremendous sin, I felt a number of things. Anger, sadness and helplessness. 2020 has brought all those feelings back and multiplied it all as I have two precious children involved in all the crazy as well. That 2020 tractor just keeps getting closer.

It can, and has at times felt so overwhelming...juggling the intense challenges of our various businesses, carrying the weight of extended family in need and trying to do this thing called mom-ing with a much smaller village and more children than ever before. Where is all the good?

To cope, my husband and I have taken turns spending the day in bed hiding...hoping when we wake it will be sunshine and rainbows... only. Alas, here we are at the end of the year and It still takes a bit of squinting to see the good. Every so often, I come up for air and I see just how beautiful everything still is. The kindness from strangers oozing Christmas spirit has certainly helped. Along with that, the beauty found in British Columbia's parks certainly makes it easier for me to feel refreshed even in the midst of dark and dreary events. But, I still find myself squinting to see the good in many things.

Last weekend we had the opportunity to have a family day. We had come to the end of a long week and we were all squinting hard for the good. The child in our foster care was off for a visit with his relatives and we were left with just our little herd. I can't remember the last time it was just the 4 of us out and about. As usual, I was assigned the role of Curator of Fun and I couldn't think of a better place to take the family than a place called Squint Lake to match our mood.

Recommended by a dear friend months ago, this place was just what our little hearts needed. We took in the 14 degree December weather, sunshine on our faces and the peaceful stroll along a bubbling stream that is also a habitat for Salmon. Our children enjoyed the short walk with squirrels running up trees. Then they found themselves swinging on monkey bars and the miniature zip line on the playground attached to the parking lot. It was nice to see this spot also had proper washrooms.

I discovered Squint Lake was originally a beaver pond and named because if you squint... you'll miss it. It is now on the property of the Burnaby Mountain Golf Course but they graciously give the public access to the walking path as long as you stay off the greens. Complete with free internet to visitors strolling through, Eagle Creek flows into Squint Lake from the north and continues until it flows into Burnaby Lake in the south. It looked like you could walk for quite a while, but we just sauntered through a small meditative loop with the kids stepping in and out of the stream as we went.

We hadn't expected so many cute things to squint at as we walked through the forest trail. This beautiful walk had many hidden points of amusement along the way. It reminded me of all the highlights of our year that we often overlook. One highlight being the joy we discovered in our last camping trip along side the Pacific Ocean on the traditional ground of the Ucluelet people. This also became the inspiration for my first completely finished and professionally edited children's story; A dream I've had for too many years. I'd almost forgotten that wonderful achievement.

We got to see Christmas ornaments hung on a Charlie Brown type tree along the path. Stuffed animals balanced on logs looking for new or perhaps old owners. Further along the trail we came across a large log that was split and someone had taken it upon themselves to paint teeth and eyes on it and call it a "Gigantosaurus" adding to visitor's amusement. This was rather fitting since prehistoric fossils have been found in the surrounding mud in this area. The most unexpected things can bring the greatest joy.

We enjoyed the fresh air while watching our healthy and happy kids playing together- the biggest of all blessings. How could I have forgotten about that gift?

We ended our outing with lightness in our step and Chinese food on our mind. A little reset was had by all and we were grateful we had taken the moment to look up from the work and chaos that we often spend our days focusing on.

If you are finding you need to Squint to find the good in your life despite the terror of the year, take a stroll through this, or any forest trail and I'm sure you'll find everything you are looking for right before your eyes.

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