TUE 20 SEP 2011 2:25 pm LIBRARY PLAZA NORTH VANCOUVER
Sunshine on the concrete plaza. Water splashes in the fountain behind me and burbles up from the crater cut in the gray stone block beside me, rough as a meteorite. There is a diesel-engine surge from the telescoping crane behind the flatbed truck parked on the plaza. A blonde girl in a bright yellow hardhat drags away the fluorescent-orange plastic stanchions that ring the truck. Another woman has just called her name: “Anna!” They’re loading them into a new white Ford pickup to my right: Mar-Tech Traffic Control Ltd. Now it’s started up, growling gruffly, driver’s door standing open, ready to go.
Three flagpoles stand before me on cylindrical concrete bases. The central one is tallest: the Canada flag. Sunrise flag of B.C. to the left, white civic flag of 3-masted ship on waves to the right: City of North Vancouver. They stand guard to the flat plaza directly before the green glass of the 3-story library: a brand-new snap-together toy.
Not many people, but a steady traffic of individuals: old man in ballcap on an electric wheelchair of candy-apple red; Chinese woman sauntering in a soft white sunhat; middle-aged Iranian man walking with a slight stoop, in black sweater and shades. Old woman pushing a 4-wheeled walker/seat; another man in shirtsleeves and a panama hat; young man in T-shirt with rucksack slung over one shoulder.
Both engines are still idling.
The shadow of a bird flapping its wings passes over the plaza.
A sharp double-honk from the pickup, and now the insistent beep of its backup alarm as it creeps backward into the alley.
Beyond the plaza and the trees: pale misty blue-white: a gap where the sea lies off West Van.