Sunday morning. I’m on my way to church on a warm, sunny, spring day. David, the owner/driver of the “Driving Miss Daisy” service, and I have been chatting. We come to 16th Avenue, and turn onto it. My sentence ends mid-stream and I gasp in wonder. Ahead stretch blocks of cherry trees in full blossom. Last week there was only an occasional flower. People were saying then, “This is far too early for spring. If it turns cool again the trees will be damaged!”
These comments run through my mind as we drive past tree after tree, all dressed in their spring best. Apparently nature has its own schedule and doesn’t consult the weather forecast! My spirits soar. Joy and happiness fill my heart. I shake my head and say, “I’m new to Vancouver, David. Perhaps one day I will take all of Vancouver’s beauty for granted, but I’m not there yet.”
“Better than the prairies, in your opinion?”
I ponder his question. An answer does not come quickly. As we turn into the church parking lot the matter is dropped. My mind does not leave the topic immediately. I still feel the joy and happiness roused in me by the sight of those trees.
The days roll by. Periodically jogged by the question, my mind pulls up many memories of the prairies. The meadowlarks singing from their perch on the fence, the endless rolling lands, wild sunflowers in the ditches, sweeping blue skies with puffy white clouds. I was born, raised, and grew up on the lovely, open lands we call prairies. Are they beautiful? Yes. Better than Vancouver? Not necessarily. Can you equate apples and oranges? My reactions to the beauty offered in Vancouver, and on the prairies, are the same – joy, excitement, bursts of energy, and appreciation for all nature spread before me.
Memories of past beauty are vital to how I handle the present. Beauty is beauty. Regardless of time or place or kind, it enriches my life forever. And so I strive to be aware, to see what exists. The gifts are mine for the taking.