A day for the ducks

This weekend Mr. M and I trekked out to the Reifel Bird Sanctuary, for an afternoon of water fowl and barnyard owls.

A swimming hole.

(Unfortunately, sightings of our flexible-necked friends were few and far between.)

We did however, espy a few swallows, a couple of herons, many, MANY ducks (mallards and otherwise), and a crap load of other birds I don’t know the names of, because who the heck do I look like people?

Ranger Rick?


(I kid, I kid. Except not at all about knowing anything about the different species of birds I encountered. About that I seriously do know squat.)

A little guy.

It was a truly gorgeous afternoon – blue skies, brilliant sunshine – although the wind was a little snappish; I could feel each gust of cold sea air nibbling at my ear lobes, nose, my fingertips, and toes.

I was super thankful for my last minute decision to bring my winter coat, but even with the extra layer, I walked around with my arms speckled with gooseflesh (how appropriate for the venue, no?) for the majority of the time we were there.

However, when you’re strolling around a nature reserve, surrounded by hilarious, chirping, feathered creatures, your “problems” are put into perspective pretty darn quickly.

I sometimes have a really hard time visiting places like this because I get so over wrought with need to SAVE ALL THE BIRDS the world over.

A little gal.

(This reaction is much the same to the one I wrote about last week. See: Ethel v. SPCA adoption website.)

It’s also intrinsically tied to the paralysis I undergo every time I take out my recycling and see, once again, that the tone deaf dirt bags that live in my complex have once again placed their recyclables in the bin, in a bloody plastic bag.

For serious, one day someone is going to find my body, dead, splayed about on the ground in front of the blue boxes, empty cans in hand. I will have passed over to the other side from a complete and utter rage out (combined with a complete lack of understanding) over why someone would do this.


Good grief.

Yesterday Mr. M found a broken toaster in the recycle bin.


Okay, I need to take it easy. My heart probably shouldn’t be pumping this fast.

Breathe in, breathe out.

Seriously though, what the heck is the point of “recycling” if you’re not going to do it right? Wouldn’t it actually be better if they just threw everything into the trash, because at least that way they wouldn’t be buggering it up for the rest of us that actually, you know, care?

I thought about these indolent bastards as I walked about the park (but just for a little while – I didn’t want to give them too much airtime, or the satisfaction of ruining my entire afternoon.)

But then I started to think about how if the people who already inhabit the earth don’t care, what kind of destruction will the planet oversee when we have an even greater population of (I’m afraid to even imagine) people who care even less?

And then I thought about how many species of birds will be around for my children? Or their children?

Will this amazing bird sanctuary be a moot point because we’ve annihilated everything that would be targeted to live and thrive within the reserve itself?

My heart grew heavier and heavier just thinking about it all.

But then M took my hand, and we say on a bench and ate some grapes, and I slowly started to feel better.


This heaviness I felt was gradually offset by a new set of competing factors and thoughts – indeed it became harder and harder to imagine such a dark world, because everything and everyone I was encountering at the park was the complete antithesis of that humanity and ecological peril I was fearing.

There were so many families out together – parents, children, grandparents, babies – teaching, watching, talking, learning about the different plant life, the insects, and course all the birds – calling out to the chickadees, and marveling at the swooping, circling falcons, feeding the ducks, and laughing at the geese.

There were exchange students with guide books, young couples on early spring dates, long-time husband and wife duos, and bird watching aces with camera lenses the width of my living room.

A married duck duo.

There were so many people, out enjoying the sun, basking in the beauty of the day, the park, the birds – the earth.

That it gave me hope.

And continues to give me hope.

It gives me hope that the Reifel sanctuary will be here for years to come.


And that out there people actually know how to properly dispose of toasters.

This swinging hot spot

Is it just me or is Wednesday the absolute worst day of the week?


I mean, Monday is a complete write off.  You know what you’re getting into when you wake up on a Monday – just getting through the day feels like some awe-inspiring accomplishment.  Tuesday is great because, well, it’s not Monday. Thursday is fab because it is the lead-in to Friday, and hell, Friday is the awesome appetizer to a wonderful and exciting entree called “The Weekend.”

But Wednesday?  Blah.  It’s uninspired.  It spreads itself so thin it’s practically a recommended serving size of peanut butter.  Even a Wednesday full of meetings doesn’t make the time go by.  Instead, the day still drags, and at the same time still gives me anxiety about all the stuff I have yet to get done.

Overall, a pretty bleak experience.  So, in order to combat the evil Wednesday, I have developed certain coping mechanisms to get me through the day: going for an hour long walk at lunch time if the weather is nice; trying on all the beautifulbut painfully expensive clothing at BCBG if the weather is crap; eating all the leftover baby shower cake; etc.

The most important step though, to surviving a Wednesday, is the way I start my morning.  In the ten minutes I have between getting off of the skytrain and turning my computer on in my office, I stop by the Second Cup coffee shop underneath Bentall 4, make small talk with the lovely baristas who work there, and order a small, non-fat, vanilla bean latte.

These drinks are lifesavers – I never used to drink coffee before I started my new job, but now that I am Ms. Tired McTiredmeister all the live-long day, I rely on this magical combination of espresso, steamed milk and vanilla extract to wake me the heck up in the a.m.

This morning I was flipping through the The Province (investigative journalism at its finest), waiting for my drink, when I came across a story about a young skunk named “Bubbles” who had recently undergone surgery at the Burnaby Wildlife Rescue Association because she had become ensnared in a bubble tea lid.

Well folks, reading this story, on a Wednesday, without having ingested my daily nectar-of-the-gods NEARLY DID ME IN.

I was enraged.

That poor baby skunk.  How scary that must have been for her.  How utterly helpless she must have felt to be trapped in something so foreign, so toxic and so destructive.

Seriously, I cannot stand people who don’t properly dispose of their crap.  I mean, how hard is it to carry that drink cup for what, five more minutes until you come across the correct receptacle for disposal?  YOU ARE KILLING BABY SKUNKS YOU HUMAN PARAQUAT.

People are so bloody spoiled, ignorant and complacent about these things.  And hearing about the plight of young Bubbles only destroys me even more.  I have so much respect and admiration for the people working for organizations such as Wildlife Rescue because I don’t think I could ever handle a job like that.  I think my heart would break over and over again and that I would either 1) go completely mad and turn into an incensed, insane wildlife protection vigilante or 2) run away to become a hermit who lived in the wilds of the Yukon before being eaten by my pet bears (and inevitably have a film made about my life narrated by Werner Herzog.)

When I was living in England two years ago, I was walking home from campus one night and the fellow in front of me stuffed his Subway garbage in one of the university’s hedges.  I grabbed the plastic bag out of the hedge and sped up my gait, hoping to catch up with him and publicly shame him.  He happened to see me retrieve the garbage, and noticing my enraged approach, quickly took of up the hill at what was pretty much a run.  Not to be outdone, I took off too, matching his pace.  When we reached the top, he paused for breath and I yelled out, “YOU CANNOT JUST STUFF YOUR GARBAGE IN A BUSH!”

Shocked that I had actually ended up saying something, he looked over at me and muttered with derision, “Bloody American.”  The he took off again.

I was so shocked that he would try to use my (perceived) nationality as a comeback, all I could think of for a reply was, “I AM CANADIAN!!!”

To anyone who witnessed this, I must have looked quite a sight – just blithely yelling out my nationality to an empty street, what with the hedge garbager having escaped into the night.

So let this serve as a warning: while I may not be at option 1 (see above) status yet, I have no problem outing those who don’t treat Mother Nature, and her lovely animal friends with respect.  TRUST.

On a more positive note, here are some of the lovely animal friends my husband and I met whilst in the U.K.:

This is Saffi, a rescue dog with a big smile and a bushy tail.  M and I met her whilst walking along one of the canals that connect Warwick with Leamington Spa.  The canal network throughout England is really something to behold.  You can walk all the way from Birmingham to London along these waterways.

This is the swan that stepped on M’s foot while nipping at his fingers because the bread wasn’t coming fast or furious enough.  Kensington Gardens was beautiful that day.  Its vast, but inviting green space was speckled by frost and snow; whispers of tourists blown to its far corners, drinking hot chocolate to stave off the cold.  M and I fed the swan until our sandwiches were gone; as hard as he tried, the taste of our fingers were just not to our web-footed friend’s liking.

These are three of the sheep friends I made on a day trip out to Baddesly Clinton, a medieval manor house in Warwickshire.  When I think about this day, all I can think about is how vibrantly beautiful it was.  I felt as though I was living inside of a prism.