Couldn't Have Been Nicer

Hilary and I took a drive to our downtown Victoria Park. Temperature and sun were extraordinarily "summery" for this October Saturday afternoon.

Sitting lakeside we marveled at the stateliness of the Canada Geese, their imperceptible thrust in plying the waters and their group dynamics. Several came over to visit us and to discover whether we had treats. One neck-bowed hissing bully took on the entire group of ten and intimidated them into the water.

Typical "Canadians" we thought; always avoiding confrontation; issuing pointless apologies and failing to set the wrongdoer in his place. Colourful mallards kept to the background and sea-gulls dropped down with their typical agility. Meeting and swooping away from their precision partners reflected in the surface brilliance.

Across the water a Victorian gazebo caught the eye, peeking out from behind the hissing drapery of one old willow. A pre-teen girl in shorts took a spin at ballroom dancing, thinking herself quite graceful. A young university couple seized a moment for a long clinging hug. Under the trees and about forty feet to the left two girls waved soap-bubble toys while a boyfriend worked all into some imaginative photography. Another middle-aged man was setting up a tripod for some close-up pictures, subject matter unclear. Obviously fascinated with the microscopic.

A seven year old youth in unlaced runners found it necessary to clomp in pursuit of all the geese sending them trouble-honking into the water. Tssk. Tssk.

This was Indian summer at its best. Only blocks away one of the booming beer tents of Octoberfest was silenced in the mid-day hiatus. Doubtless the night lights, the raised sudsy glasses, the ridiculous feathered caps, the accordian-accompanied line dances and the general foolishness would follow. In my estimation, autumn at its worst.

When will our region speak out against this troublesome headache? Say that it has worn out its welcome? No longer reflects the mix of the community? Fosters a spirit of substance abuse which racks up incalculable loss year-round? Embarrasses us at a national level. Raises a stench in the nostrils of God at a time meant for giving thanks.

Autumn offers so many other festive opportunities.


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