The sun sets on another Vancouver bagpiping season

Northumberland Strait PiperFall can be the best of times, and the worst of times.

For many, there’s nothing quite like beautiful, crisp, cool fall days; an opportunity to take long walks with family and friends, hike mountain trails without trudging through snow packs or relaxing in the waning strength of our dwindling summer sun. It is a joy to live in the northern hemisphere during this time. Across Canada, deciduous trees are starting their evolution to crimson and yellows, salmon are making their life-sustaining runs up BC rivers and thoughts are turning to rakes and snow shovels. However, before we face Old Man Winter, we have some final outdoor enjoyment.  This past Sunday, during a rare break from the incessant rain and clouds that have enveloped BC’s lower mainland since early September, the sun made an appearance. It was a (final?) opportunity to shoulder the pipes and head to my favourite outdoor practice Riverview Hospital treeslocation under the ancient oak and maple trees of the Riverview Hospital complex grounds. Despite the traffic noise of nearby Lougheed Highway, the privacy of the location is unbeatable. It reminds me of Piper’s Glen at Columbus Field in Antigonish – a beautiful, treed location where pipers from around the Maritimes have competed for almost 100 years.  Alas, the elm trees are gone from Piper’s Glen and soon the sun will be gone (or so it will seem) from the lower mainland. True, we do not have to concern ourselves much with ice and snow, and the shoveling we normally do is to clear dead leaves from the gutter, but for easterners, it’s always a struggle to endure the months of rain and clouds. Those days of freezing temperatures and ‘severe’ clear skies of Edmonton and Goose Bay (two communities I have lived and worked in) are in the past. Now we Maritimer’s must suffer through the cold and dreary days, dreaming of the sun and preparing for next spring when the flowers reappear and the pipers are once more able to venture outdoors.

 

About Mike Chisholm

Bagpiper, writer, fisherman and father born and raised in Nova Scotia, now living in Vancouver area.
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