I Like That

I Like That
See, hear, taste, touch and inhale the wonders of the world.

Friday, September 28, 2012

Bonnie The Birch Gets A Makeover

At first a stranger, now a friend, Bonnie the Birch was surrounded on September 26, 2012 by companions of like mind who care about the condition of this once abandoned tree. Her recovery started with my plucking a pop can from one of her outstretched branches. Afterward, I felt a cool sensation come over me, as though she was saying thanks.

Since then, my husband and I, along with a few Adopt-A-block volunteers, have cleared away rubbish, weeds and grasses that were encroaching on her, obscuring her beauty. To prepare her setting, first, we gathered various size boulders and placed them in a sturdy circle around her base. Next, we poured two bags of soil on her exposed roots. A generous neighbourhood garden centre owner donated the topsoil.

My excitement was peaked when others came to observe our project.
“It looks great! Look, there are little evergreens exposed now that the weeds have been cleared,” one man said.

The sun beamed brilliantly, illuminating Bonnie’s small green leaves, her crisp white bark and us. We stood for a while, silent, staring at her exquisiteness. I was left with the impression that she was grateful.

If you happen to be travelling on Dogwood Street in Campbell River, give her a glance or stop at the northeast corner of the Campbell River Curling Club to have a closer look. Her leaves will be waving at you.

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Fell To My Knees - Twice

The first time I fell that day was from a wooden bridge. Frank and I were hiking the Quinsam River Trail located a short drive from our home. I was feeling invigorated surrounded by the massive tall trees, some with canopies that blocked the warm sun, others slim, some covered in green moss. We heard the gurgling river beside us and stopped to watch the fish jumping and splashing. They seemed excited to be engulfed in the clear, fast moving stream.
I stomped over a wooden bridge, came to its end and jumped off. The distance proved too much for me. I crashed to my knees; pushed out my arms to keep from falling flat and felt rocks sting my hands.
“Are you okay?” Frank said. He rushed to my side and helped me stand.
I was embarrassed, hurt and angry at not being as agile as I used to be.
I lifted my trousers and saw blood on both knees. I let the fabric fall and pressed forward along the path.
The chirping birds, acrobatic fish and pleasant forest fragrances calmed my nerves as I strolled cautiously along the trail. I drew in a deep breath and let it out slowly. I didn’t want the tingling sensation in my knees to detract from adventures on the second trail. We turned off the Quinsam Nature Trail onto Beaver Pond Trail. It took us away from the river, deep into the forest and onto Elk Falls Provincial Park road. A massive log on its side that had trees growing from it attracted me. I stepped closer, my left foot twisted on its side and I fell to my knees. I landed hard on both hands.
Frank lifted me to my feet, put his hand on my back and a guided me to a nearby concrete barrier. He sat me down and prepared what he called a field dressing. He tenderly applied tissue held down with duct tape on my aching knees. We laughed and hugged.
“Third time’s the charm,” he said. We laughed louder and left for home.

Quinsam River Trail Head

Bridges, Obstacles and Precious Views

Trees with curious features

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Plot Gets Adopted

I LIKE THAT Doug A., one of our Adopt-A-Block volunteers, devotes his time to managing a plot of land at the intersection of South Alder and South Murphy in Campbell River. The property belongs legally to the City but in our hearts as citizens of this fine metropolis we would rather see the little junction kept free of weeds, long grasses, rubbish and rodents that love to hide in the mix.
As you walk, bike, hike, skateboard or drive by the connection, stop to have a look at the improvements Doug has made. He’s exposed the two proud evergreens that stand side-by-side and has rescued two precious clusters of yet-to-be-identified yellow flowers. He regularly cuts the grass which, much to its dismay, doesn't receive the water treatment it needs to look as spectacular as it should.
Doug A., is an Adopt-A-Block volunteer who walks over 1400 metres on a regular basis to remove trash from the sidewalks and boulevards in his neighbourhood. He’s a humble man who cares deeply for the environment.
Anyone can take up the challenge of cleaning the sidewalks and boulevards or small territories of Campbell River. If you are interested, contact Susan Black at cleanlivingcr@gmail.com to receive an Adopt-A-Block volunteer package.

Corner of South Alder and South Murphy

Doug A.'s masterpiece

Friday, September 14, 2012

Bonnie the Birch Has a Guardian

I LIKE THAT for the first time in a long time, I awoke with an absolute mission in mind. Today, I would be clearing the weeds and debris around my newly adopted Birch tree. I’ve claimed her as my responsibility and have named her Bonnie.
Initially, when I spoke to the property owners on which she stands, they took no ownership of her and suggested that I speak to the City of Campbell River authorities. Their representative told me that the tree didn't belong to them and that I should speak to the property owners. I smiled and knew that she was mine.
This morning, Frank and I piled a rake, clippers, a shovel, a garden claw, work gloves, a bucket and my garbage tongs into our wheelbarrow. We strutted our way down the alley and across a parking lot to where Bonnie stands.
Frank cut back the tall grass and wild weeds while I raked the clippings away from her base. We worked diligently until we felt she had some breathing room. Bonnie looked spectacular. Her white bark sparkled in the morning sunlight and her leaves seemed to be flickering with pride. “Look at me!” I felt her say.
I stepped back to admire her resilience. Still, her roots are exposed in the sandy soil and she could certainly use a fresh heap of nutritious soil. I will do my best to provide for her.

A friend, Vera Martin, was so taken with Bonnie the Birch that she wrote a poem.

There was a little tree a forsaken little tree,
surrounded by garbage and weeds,
It stood there all alone not a thing had been done,
To tend to it's multitude of needs.

Then along came Sue who thought what can I do,
To help this little tree grow big and tall,
It seemed to her the best option was arboreal adoption,
So she went to see the folk at City Hall.

The City said it was okay then Sue departed on her way,
To clear up all the mess around her tree,
She gave it lots of TLC and pretty soon this little tree,
Flourished there for everyone to see.

Sue named her wee birch Bonnie a name that suits her well,
With her pure white bark and shiny leaves of green,
Because of her "friends" care soon people everywhere,
Will say "that's the prettiest tree I've ever seen".

The prettiest tree I've ever seen.

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

The Traveller And The Tree

'Ye are all the fruit of one tree and the leaves of one branch.'
 ~ (Abdu'l-Baha, A Traveller's Narrative)

IT TOOK ME TWO YEARS OF TRAVELLING by a small tree in my neighbourhood to notice her and  to realize how desperately she needed my help.
During the summer months the Birch would flick her little leaves at me in an attempt to get my attention. I was too busy making my way south on Dogwood Street in Campbell River, British Columbia, to pay proper attention. In October, she stopped calling out to me. All of her leaves had fallen to the ground and the only ornament on her during the winter months was a plastic cup stuck forcibly on one of her outstretched branches and the odd covering of snow. I glanced up at her a few times, but didn’t feel it was my business to remove the unflattering adornment.
My travels took me past her several times a week by foot and by vehicle. I glanced her way every once and a while but I felt no connection to her. My absent-minded attitude toward the Birch tree carried on through the spring while she did her best to blossom bright green leaves. Her absence of energy was a direct result of being bullied by yellow broom as it encroached upon her and the greedy water-guzzling short and long grasses at her roots.
Finally, after several seasons of doing her best to survive, I noticed that the Birch was also being chocked by discarded crumpled chip bags, sipping straws, cardboard pizza boxes and a notorious number of cigarette butts. It was the rubbish that caught my attention.
I moved closer to the tree, working diligently at removing the trash with my garbage tongs and noticed that she was more beautiful than I had imagined. Her bright white bark was as familiar as that of the Paper Birch, a native of North America and the official tree of Saskatchewan, or that of a European White Birch. The poor thing had obviously survived a life of adversity. Although I have never trained as an arborist, I knew she was in need of water because of her shallow roots. Most of all, she could certainly use a friend, a protector and some company.
I’ve been looking for the property manager, to ask if I can adopt her and tend to her needs. I am waiting patiently for a reply.
I’ve named her Bonnie The Birch.
8:14 p.m. update: The property manager has given me permission to adopt Bonnie. I'm blessed.

Bonnie the Birch

My Adopt-a-Tree Target

Sunday, September 2, 2012

Campbellton Walking Trip

OUR 3.6 KILOMETRE WALKING TREK started from the 300-block on Dogwood Street in Campbell River. We headed north and very soon our side-by-side handholding habit took a quick swing by my husband who slipped me behind him so that the low hanging tree branches wouldn’t whip my face. The sidewalk and boulevard along the 600-block have merged into a narrow footpath but widens as you near the corner of Dogwood and 7th Avenue. At the edge of the alley that runs east and west, is a cross with a stuffed animal nailed to it. It’s an inquisitive site and actually caused me to shudder. The house behind it is a relic meant to scare off the curious type. Signs on the residence say, “No Trespassing” and “Private Property.” The windows are blocked with cardboard and there is a small stuffed ghost hanging by its neck at the front door.
As we continued north toward 9th Avenue, I noticed graffiti splattered over a large advertisement banner and a pair of sneakers hanging from the hydro wires. According to the local Royal Canadian Mounted Police, these two messages are signs that there is a drug dealer in the area.
We crossed the street at 9th Avenue and headed down the road onto Homewood Road, which brought us to Campbellton.
Three emergency vehicles rushed by us; their sirens blaring. They turned into the nearby trailer park. We followed the action and found ourselves in a very quaint and clean neighbourhood. The homeowners have obvious pride in their property and the abundance of flowers shows off the gentleness of the place. We didn’t stay to watch the emergency medical attendants; instead we walked to Perk’s, a popular donut shop that serves the best chili in town.
After a satisfying meal, we toured Maple Street. On the north side of the road there was more evidence of how the boulevards and sidewalks are treated in our fair city. The long grass, weeds and bushes had been hacked down but they still lay there giving me the feeling that the area isn’t cared for by the City itself. Directly across are the manicured grounds of Kal-Tire.
Walking east along 16th Avenue, we arrived at Nunns Creek Park. I only know it as a large wooded area. We made our way to a bus stop on Ironwood Street and there we caught a ride home.

Dogwood Street to Campbellton

Campbellton Sites