sketchbook: Tuesday 20 September 2011


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.

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2 Responses to sketchbook: Tuesday 20 September 2011

  1. carol says:

    Hello Paul: I was there in Vancouver at the time of your birth because I am your mother’s very best and oldest friend, Carol. Your mother and I met in high school in Orillia when we were about 15 years old and have continued our friendship all these years. Your mother has given me your website address and I am totally in awe at this moment, having just checked in!!!! I have a great deal of reading to do I see. You were a beautifu baby and your mother was and still is the most beautiful woman I have ever known. Talk about class, she has it in spades. Oh, the stories I could tell you! I hope you don’t mind this little persoanl note. It seems that I have known you all my life so I didn’t think it would be too “forward”. to drop a line. C

    • Paul Vitols says:

      Hi Carol. I’m delighted you’ve stopped by and left a comment here. Please feel free anytime.

      Yes I remember you–not from my birth, but from later when you came out for a visit with Janine (if that’s the spelling). I think I was about eight years old. Mom has told me that she corresponds with you and has told me about some of your adventures back in Orillia.

      As for the website, I welcome you to read as much as you can stand. If you’re a glutton for more of my writing, there’s also my old blog which has a ton of material that I posted between 2005 and 2008.

      I didn’t know you were on hand at the time of my birth. I’d like to hear more.

      Again: excellent to hear from you.

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