Opinion

Quiet reading spot at Campbell Valley Regional Park proves to be popular

Sunday afternoon the sun popped through the clouds, just after the Blue Jays lost. I had two hours before the Lions game and I had three chapters left to finish the book I was reading. I was close to finding out if she jumped or was pushed.

I took my book out to the deck but the neighbourhood was buzzing with a summer day’s activities, and I thought about finding  a perfect spot to read. I remembered a quiet place I had seen on one of my walks through south Campbell Valley Park so I grabbed a lawn chair, a jug of ice tea and my book and headed south.

There were lots of cars in the lot but my spot was peaceful with only a slight murmur of the poplar  leaves whispering to each other. I placed the chair so the angle of the sun through the trees fell across the pages of the book. I found my place and walked alongside the detective for a bit.

A young couple came around the corner carrying a blanket and a picnic basket. They seemed surprised to see me and carried on across the field. As they spread their blanket I thought of other summer picnics. Some intimate and secluded like theirs, others boisterous, with multi generations consuming too much food, playing softball and talking until dark.

I started reading again and realized I had read that page and searched for where I had left off. The conversation of the trees was rudely interrupted by a WestJet aircraft flying low and slow on descent to Abbotsford. It seems this perfect spot is on their flight path. I watched it disappear and thought about friends I have returning from holidays and friends I have leaving. The breeze has flipped the pages and I again have to find where I was.

Then I heard a voice over a microphone from behind me telling the guests to be seated, followed shortly by an organ playing the wedding march. Someone has chosen a beautiful day to be married in the park. My mind wanders to outdoor weddings I have attended in scorching heat and driving rain and I recall hearing that sun, or rain, on the bride is  good luck.

The detective and I are heading down an alley when a Mom and Dad and two little girls walk by. The smallest falls down  and says she is not walking anymore. Dad says he will leave her there but every kid in the world knows they won’t ever be left behind. He picks her up and doesn’t yet realize he will pick up his daughters every time they fall, no matter how old they are.

Suddenly there is loud conversation and laughter and a woman’s voice says. “Right over here, the light is perfect this time of day.” A photographer leads  the wedding party into my spot for pictures. Guessing they don’t want someone in shorts and sandals and T-shirt  in the background, I smile, wish them good luck and pack up.

I have read a total of nine pages that I will have to read over. Not a great spot for reading, but there seemed to be lots of memories falling from the branches that afternoon.

The great thing about fictional detectives is that  you can walk away from them anytime  and they won’t do anything until you get back. At least that’s what McGregor says.

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