Letter: A perfect night in the park

Editor: I recently had the most surreal experience at our neighbourhood park. It was beautiful and sweet and glowy, just before dusk.

People were happy, satisfied after a day’s work. It reminded me of Italy 30 years ago in a small town outside of Florence.

Everyone left their houses and cares and strolled to the village square just to be together.

That day, for a moment, all of us at the park were not strangers in the big world, but we were friends brought together by this little patch of grass and dirt known as Routley Park.

In an age when we all abide by strict rules of personal space and live largely disconnected from one another, it was a beautiful thing to see people entertaining each other as humans have done for centuries.

I didn’t see one person on their phone. Instead, they were playing, walking, talking, listening and reflecting. Sometimes we are so plugged in that it is difficult to gear down and just be in the moment. It felt like a delicious meal that was being enjoyed by everyone in attendance.

It somehow felt almost sacred. It awoke longings of something deeper and more human. We were a group rather than individuals. I met a woman and her family who had moved to Canada from Russia. I asked her if she would be willing to teach our son Russian and she was thrilled! Who knew we had someone like that right in our own neighbourhood. I observed a wonderful human interaction between a young man who was a new farmer, eagerly preparing the soil of his newly acquired garden plot and and elderly man who spoke little English who was an obvious master gardener.

Smiles and handshakes and a new friendship was born. I saw dogs of all sizes enjoying the best time of the day — when their masters were reunited with them.

I sat down and listened to acoustic guitars and new songs written and sung by local musicians who thought it would be fun to share their talent with the rest of us. No mikes, no equipment — just a barbecue, a blanket some hand drums and guitars. Friends taking turns listening to each others’ new creations and expressing encouragement and support. They were brave to do that in public and we were the richer for it.

It always costs something to really give something. I found out that they are from Bez Arts Hub right down the street and they have an open mike every Thursday night. I had no idea. Maybe I’ll write a song to share, it’s been a long time. I saw a lone woman up on the hill with her classic pedal bike parked behind her. She was just sitting and absorbing the scene before her.

It was a serene view all the way to the US border. She said that Routley Park was her favorite destination in the area.

Of course there were kids on skateboards and excited children chomping on freezies and playing tag on the playground. There was a full-out volley ball game with lots of humour and fun and a young handsome couple attempting to play Frisbee who didn’t seem to have a care in the world. Everyone was accessible and open for interaction. We were all family, enjoying a single experience. Dads and moms were trying to wear out their toddlers to ensure a better bedtime.

There was a tennis match, and hockey in the basketball court.

The young man said he had bought the hockey net with his own money and dragged it up to the court for the whole community to enjoy. It looked like people had taken care of it.

I can’t explain the deep satisfaction that I felt about what I witnessed and experienced that night. I entered my townhouse feeling nourished somehow, like I had really lived. It hadn’t been expensive or inconvenient or complicated. It was like breathing. I am thankful that six years ago residents of the Township of Langley came together to dream about what Routley Park could be. It was worth every penny that was spent to develop it. It’s perfect.

Chonna Munnalall,

Langley

 

An evening in Routley Park developed into a harmonious community gathering, complete with music, food, games and gardening, says resident Chonna Munnalall, who pulled out her camera and recorded the event for posterity. Chonna Munnalall submitted photos

Just Posted

VIDEO: RibFest kicks off in Langley

Free event features barbecue ribs, chicken, pork and brisket from Canada’s top rib artists

Langley woman’s graduation marks expansion of PTSD service dog program

Delta-based B.C. and Alberta Guide Dogs Society and Vancouver Island Compassion Dogs merging to service to more veterans

For a 20th year, golfers memorialize Surrey business owner killed by cancer

Annual tourney pays tribute to Howie Blessin, who wasn’t an avid golfer but employed people who are

Langley City Terry Fox Run in need of volunteers

Route marshals, event set-up and take-down on list of jobs that need filling

Take-home naloxone may be replacing 911 calls in parts of Lower Mainland

Naloxone kits handed out up 29% over 2017, ambulance calls and emergency visits down 22-24%, deaths hold steady

PHOTOS: B.C. city wakes up to darkness under wildfire smoke

The rest of the province also dealing with thick haze as smoky skies continue

VIDEO: World of Magic coming to Vancouver

Seven magic shows will appear at the Vancouver Playhouse from September 7 to 9

Safeway union urges prejection of mediator recommendations

Says mediator asks for too many concessions

Fire chases B.C. crews out of their own camp

Crews in Burns Lake had to leave after a wildfire reportedly overtook their sleeping quarters

To address peacock problem, B.C. city moves ahead on trapping plan

Surrey’s new bylaw focuses on ensuring people no longer feed the birds, ahead of relocation

Hospitals to see ‘delays’ in care after losing Saudi students, health group says

About 1,000 Saudi residents called back to kingdom after suspending diplomatic relations with Canada

Bernier diatribe against ‘extreme multiculturalism’ boosts Liberal coffers

Party spokesperson Braeden Caley says online donations doubled, social media engagement quadrupled

‘Disjointed’ system hinders British Columbia First Nations in wildfire fight

More than 550 wildfires were burning in B.C. and crews were bracing for wind and dry lightning

Castlegar bridge designed by architect of collapsed Italian bridge

Riccardo Morandi designed the Kinnaird Bridge, which is part of Highway 3.

Most Read