Morning, J. I just looked at Environment Canada hourly forecast. Chance of showers is “medium” (whatever that means!) during the time we’ll be at the Gardens. What do you think?
Tix are nonrefundable, right?
I’d still go. I have an umbrella.
Me too. If I have to stay in the house one more day, I’ll scream!
So, meet in the parking lot at 11 am with rubber boots, and rain jackets and bellies.
Er…brollies. Stupid autocorrect.
When my friend Judy and I arrived at the Devonian Botanic Gardens, a University of Alberta-owned site about 15 minutes southwest of Edmonton, we knew we were in for a COVID-altered experience. Like so many other tourist attractions, the Gardens had many new protocols in place. Entry by timed reservation only. All food kiosks closed. Picnics prohibited. Benches roped off with yellow tape. Signs telling us to social distance from other patrons.
This last reminder wasn’t really a concern the day we were there, because the gardeners easily outnumbered the visitors. It also gave us the grounds almost to ourselves.
A quiet wander in a natural setting might be one of the most peaceful things we can do for ourselves in this summer of uncertainty. Flowers keep blooming, birds sit on nests, creeks flow, oblivious to the virus which has changed almost every part of our existence. Somehow, there’s a hopefulness in seeing this continuity in nature, a sense that one day, we’ll get that flow back in our own lives.
And so as the clouds leaked intermittently onto our umbrellas, we ambled, pouring our tears in each other’s ears, speculating what the world holds next for us, trying to make sense of the losses we’re experiencing. The backdrop of flower drifts, Japanese water features, and Canada geese herding their little ones along an almost deserted path replenished me, and offered reassurance that other, less challenging summers are still to come.