The Great Escape…..
Last evening I went to a community BBQ in my residence at North Park Manor senior’s housing. During the meal I sat with a woman I have met occasionally in the elevator and hallways. I told her I was walking to Spring Ridge Commons at 6 pm, if she would like to come. At ten minutes before six, we left the building. Rosheen and I described this walk as our “great escape”. In the seven years that Rosheen has lived in North Park Manor this is the first time she has walked more than a city block after 3 pm. At seventy-two pounds, better than sixty-five years, and full of life, Rosheen marvelled as we walked along Caledonia Street. She spoke of the names of businesses, apartment buildings, and the sports field she recognized from reading the newspaper and the internet. She talked about how she imagined them as being ten miles away and laughed at them actually being only mere steps. As we walked, arm in arm, I talked about my first times at the commons and my ideas for making it more accessible to the residence in our building. When I mentioned widening the paths for wheelchairs and walkers, Rosheen explained, she had been so excited about our walk she had forgotten to bring her walker. LOL No worries, a remarkably tiny but robust woman, Rosheen walks daily with a cane. However, she relies on her family members to accompany her and therefore is restricted to their availability in mornings and afternoons. Usually she spends her evenings watching TV and knitting.
As we entered the commons, the two people sitting on the bench in the gazebo talking, quietly left, so Rosheen and I could sit. During the hour we stayed, people came and went, always giving us respect and space to enjoy the environment and evening. I mention this because when I suggested evening walks to the commons for residence of North Park Manor, the assistant manager of my building asked about security and safety in the commons. Not to say I would not still appreciate a responsible volunteer to be there for us, however, the experience was important and worthwhile.
As I showed Rosheen plants, birds, fruit, she was very impressed by the cleanliness of the leaves I picked to eat, the maturity of the fruit trees, and the liveliness of the birds.
The commons are lovely in the evenings now that it is early summer. Drop by, watch the bees,smell the mock orange flowering for the next while, see the birds taking dust bathes along the paths or catching insects to feed their newly hatched chicks. Nestled in the middle of a bustling city, birds and bees thrive in our little oasis, the jewel of Victoria, Spring Ridge Commons.