July 31, 2011
Folks who sleep in – or dash about in their car – miss some of Penticton’s most lovely moments. 6 am Sunday morning was a perfect start to a beautiful summer day. The streets were quiet and peaceful. There were few people out and about, other than occasional dogs out walking their humans, and two or three paper-delivery folk. A flurry of pigeons enthusiastically swooped down onto a driveway to scoop up seeds scattered by a local resident. A moving truck backed up to a front door signalled that common month-end human activity. The folks at the Another Chance street breakfast were setting up their barbeque and coffee maker, and hungry people of all ages were gathering in.
A doe was out for a stroll with her two still-spotted fawns, and further along another deer was out for a meander. The latter appeared to have had a run-in with unfriendly humans in the past, as dark holes in chest and side indicated where a bullet must have passed through, miraculously missing any vital organs. Fruit trees, vines, and bushes hung heavy with ripening apricots, grapes, cherries, and wild berries. Beautiful roses pushed through narrow gaps in an old picket fence, bringing their beauty and lovely scent right out to the sidewalk for the enjoyment of passing pedestrians.
Summer, it seems, had finally arrived. The past week or so of sunny summer weather, though not terribly hot, had silently but surely tanned the landscape. Grassy spots on the edges of parks, where the sprinklers didn’t reach, suddenly had turned from soft green to dry crackly scruffy brown. Creeks were running more slowly than just a week or two previously, their waters clear, no longer filled with silty run-off. The hills overlooking the beautiful south Okanagan Valley had taken on their normal tan-colored summer hue, the last of the spring green finally fading away after an unusually long, cool, damp season. The far-off peaks, which had been snow-tipped long past their normal melt-time, suddenly were bare except for the odd stubborn spot. The early morning sun bathed the hillsides in a golden glow, and fluffy clouds in a clear blue sky bowed together toward the rising sun, promising a beautiful day. Even that normally depressing Penticton landmark, a long-abandoned, slowly disintegrating apartment construction site with a long crane rusting slowly overhead, had a kind of eerie beauty on this early summer morning.