meet Stanley Park & Jack White

I was twenty feet from the door to exit international customs when I handed my declaration card to the cute woman of Indian descent. My warm smile waned though as my eyes felt her coldness pierce me, and the interrogation started.
“Why are you coming here for just one day?”
She is unsatisfied with my response. I sense she feels as though I’m lying to her. This feeling is justified with the next round of questions.
“All you have is your backpack?” “What if I bring over the dogs and other agents? ” Will they find marijuana?”
I hate cops. Add customs agents now to that list.
“When was the last time you did drugs?”
Bitch, are you kidding me? I felt completely stereo-typed, being judged on my appearance and reason for being there alone. It was horrible, but I kept my composure and started to slide my backpack off my shoulders for her to search. I figured the white gloves would come next…..
“Put your pack on. You can go…”
The air outside was fresh and inviting in Vancouver B.C., but the sour taste in my mouth would take time to dissipate.

*****

As I start walking the city, I find this poem etched in glass outside a restaurant :

The Waking
I wake to sleep, and take my waking slow.
I feel my fate in what I cannot fear.
I learn by going where I have to go.
We think by feeling. What is there to know?
I hear my being dance from ear to ear.
I wake to sleep, and take my waking slow.
Of those so close beside me, which are you?
God bless the ground! I shall walk softly there,
and learn by going where I have to go.
Light takes the Tree; but who can tell us how?
The lowly worm climbs up a lonely stair;
I wake to sleep, and take my waking slow.
Great Nature has another thing to do
To you and me; so take the lively air,
And, lovely, learn by going where you go.
This shaking keeps me steady. I should know.
What fall away is always. And is near.
I wake to sleep, and take my waking slow.
I learn by going where I have to go.
-Theodore Roethke

I’ve never been to city that has so many of their building all in glass. With the beautiful views from every direction though, you can see why. Wandering aimlessly around, I find a bike shop renting by the hour. The exercise is just what I need to clear my head and put me in a better mood. Stanley Park has vistas and trails that smooth my temperament.

I encircle the park, then head to the dirt trails of the interior. One can easily forget you are in a metropolis. Signs of coyote warning hikers and bikers alike, but all I see are more of Canada’s strange black squirrels.

Some time later, I emerge to find a hidden lake. I rest on a park bench, soaking up the afternoon sun. Ducks of various types and a curious goose keep me company.
Exhausted, I head to get some rest before the show later in the evening.

*****

The Queen Elizabeth Theatre is the perfect venue to see Jack White. Ever since I heard the White Stripes in 2003, driving through the lonely and barren Northern Arizona landscape, the music has been a constant staple. When they broke up last year, I thought the opportunity to see them was lost. But with his new solo album came a tour, and although it was in another country and it broke the piggy bank to go, the night was completely worth it. Jack wailed and shredded guitar riffs with ease. His band consisted of six women, all holding their own degree of sexiness and musical genius. Amazing.

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Wench, bring my ale, what say you?