I think it was W.R. Spencer who said a man needed three things to count himself truly blessed - a good wife, good children and good friends. Having shared all three, I stand among those thrice blessed.
Good fortune had more to do with my well blessed life than any personal effort on my part. I took each blessing granted with grateful thanks and much joy. And I still do.
I know I'm one of the lucky ones as I look down what has been a long road of life and see a traffic light blinking amber warning that I'm approaching a major intersection. Having run into similar warning signals in my close to 89 years "on the road," I'm wondering if this latest amber will turn to green as I draw closer, or if it's going to flash a sudden red and end my journey.
My thoughts are not gloomy. The road already travelled has been a great one. A bit bumpy at times; one or two major potholes when loved companions or old friends could no longer walk with me. But by and large a wondrous journey - and one which continues wondrous - and joyful.
I remain truly blessed. I have a small enchanted garden I can sit in and smell the flowers while watching birds, drink, flutter and splash in a bird bath that welcomes them with fresh water every evening. Once in a while as dusk creeps in, a raccoon family pads silently and barely visible beneath the bushes, presumably heading for an Oak Bay beach and a lick of salt.
Each morning this past spring and early summer, I have patrolled the front garden and driveway and cursed, less than cheerfully I confess, the latest depredations of a small but voracious family of deer. One night they consumed all our carefully nurtured tulips, another every potted pansy and then, I assume for dessert, every rosebud as it emerged.
But even as I muttered curses on all fawns and their mothers I understood how blessed I was to live in a city where deer wandered the night streets - and were far less dangerous than the footpads lurking in the side streets of other cities. And I confess to being amused as I noted deer have no colour preferences for tulips, but dark blue was the preferred dining hue for pansies. And daffodils were left untouched and geraniums only nibbled by spotted fawns who didn't know any better.
I realize how blessed I continue to be when I take a walk along the waterfront from tiny San Carlos Avenue to the Oak Bay Marina and back. Not a marathon hike but, with well-spaced benches, not a bad stroll for octogenarians.
Benches become more important as time goes by. Willows Beach is great for that. A steady walk from one end of the promenade to the other with a mid-afternoon pot of tea and a side order of fries - or even a scone if you're diet conscious - at the Kinsmen's Tea Room.
I hope the Kinsmen know their efforts are missed when they shut up shop for the winter when hot chocolate or a mug of tea or coffee would mark the perfect end to a windblown walk.
Another favourite, well-blessed walk is from anywhere along Dallas Road to the breakwater where the Ogden Point CafÃ© serves the best soup in town. We time that walk for between 11 a.m. and noon with a $5 cup of chowder or the soup of the day for lunch. It's a blessing.
Then there's Beacon Hill Park, a year-round delight, rain or shine. At risk of being burned in effigy, I still think that great park would be enhanced with a tea room similar to Willows. An enhanced blessing for sure.
My pace is much slower than it was, but it is still a pace - and I'm thankful for my reasonably good health and my ability to still appreciate the blessings of my good fortune.
And to be still able to recite to myself a couple of lines from Tennyson as I continue to stroll - as slowly as possible - to a final exit: "So many worlds, so much to do, so little done, such things to be."
And I hope to be able to keep walking until I've crossed another item or two off my bucket list before the light turns red.
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