I woke up this morning with the smell of freshly cut grass drifting into my bedroom as I had forgotten my patio door open the night before. This allowed for the confinement of my room to mix with the elements of nature; whatever nature downtown Ottawa has to offer that is. Sundays are usually deemed a day of rest for most people. As a university student, Sundays meant I could sleep in, but the rest of my day would be partnered with several cups of coffee, books and the same snowflake printed pajamas I went to bed with the night before; a full study day.
However, this particular Sunday, I decided to join those who take an afternoon off to try and discover a little more of my city, which I must admit, I haven’t done much of in the 3 years I’ve been here. Ottawa, I discovered, has a lot to offer, especially when the sun presents itself with its warm blanket.
A friend invited me to join her for an afternoon in Strathcona Park, where a new initiative was taking place to promote musical
talents from the region. Talent it was indeed. A crowd gathered on bleachers surrounding a huge wooden platform where different artists would take turns to share their passion for music. The music drew a crowd of young musically inclined men and women devoting their afternoon to a pic-nic and beer in the park. Wait, is that what I’ve been missing to study in my snowflake print pajamas every week?
The atmosphere was very hipster, which isn’t for everyone. However, as this was the official “launch” of the music-in-the-park initiative, I think it’s worth giving it a chance. Hipster or not, did I mention there was beer? Sure, this beer has to be inconspicuously bottled up in an opaque bottle or container, but I’ll take any opportunity to participate in small doses of activities which are frowned upon. Beyond that, it’s a great occasion to lay down a blanket and bring a healthy concoction of snacks, like Edamame Hummus, which was newly appreciated by my taste buds today and puts up a competitive fright against regular chick pea hummus. Anyway, I digress.
What I also discovered on this sunny Sun-day was life, the being alive kind of life, really does revolve around our ability to appreciate the intangible things we overlook when we mechanically operate in 24/7 rush hour. Smells become more potent and we
can create meaning out of the sights we see, because we are taking the time. Walking along the river, I spotted a couple on the grass. I sat down a few yards away and watched them. As lurky as that sounds, I needed to observe love (that explanation can be left for another blog), or what seemed to be anyway. I later approached them to ask for a picture, as I wanted to share to moment with my readers. I think I’ll be throwing out those pajamas when I get home. Rest days are taking on a whole meaning to me.
At the southern end of Strathcona park, a quaint little home sits at the corner of the street. Though, the closer I get, I realize that quaint is probably not the word to describe this residence. “Dogmatic” is better attributed to this sight. This property was teemed with signs and trinkets clearly opposing our current prime minister and the entirety of his party. To that I say: “Bravo”. Bravo for finding a cause and supporting it fully. Bravo for making that cause a part of your everyday life (and the lives of your neighbors). Bravo for giving that cause a place to be peacefully demonstrated and bravo for making it so that people like me can be reminded of the collective amnesia that sometimes fog our political realities.
The point here is not to get into a political discussion about how deceiving our current government can be (see how I left no place for debate there?). The message I’m trying to convey is a simple one and lies within the concept of time. I was able to discover these sights, sounds and smells because I took the time to do it. After an afternoon in Strathcona Park, which I had never even heard of before today, I can now fall to slumber with thoughts of rising local artists, edamame hummus (A+), love on the grass (and why that wasn’t me laying there, entangled with my lover) and the motivation to feel so strongly about something that I am willing to offer my home, my abode, my retreat to support it. Sunny Sun-day didn’t rely on my wallet for it to happen. Sunny Sun-day happened because I prioritized time and friends, something we don’t do often enough. It is interesting to see what you can find when you take the time. I believe my every Sunday from now on will be accompanied by friends, time and rest. In the meantime, I am discarding my snowflake printed pajamas though will probably still be sipping on a warm cup of coffee, or two. I will be returning to Strathcona Park soon.