The weather this week has been exceptional. Warm, but not too hot; sunny, but with a soft breeze, and with grass and leaves and tulips springing up all around. Peanut and I have taken the opportunity to be out enjoying the season.
On Monday, we did a certain amount of ‘playing tourist’ in this capital city in which we make our home. We wandered up past Parliament Hill, and discovered that it was Music Monday, a day on which school children across the country hold small concerts. A large choir was singing on the steps in front of Centre Block. We listened to the end of their singing, then walked on, across the grass of the lawn, past university students enjoying a post-exam laze-about, and some kids playing ultimate frisbee. This happens on the lawn all the time. It’s a truly public space, right amidst the workings of our government, and Ottawans make use of it. I’m not sure that’s something you would see in most capitals. There’s even noon-hour yoga on the lawn during the summer. I’m sure Peanut and I will have pictures of us participating to share once that starts up.
We walked down Sussex, where the high-end shops in Ottawa are located, and up to Major’s Hill Park, hoping to see some tulips. This week marks our annual Tulip Festival, a tradition dating back to 1953, and one which is of particular importance to our church congregation, as it was our church that the Dutch Royal Family attended while in exile in Canada. Princess Margriet was baptised at our font, the same font where Peanut was baptised last August.
Unfortunately, there weren’t as many tulips at that park as I’d hoped, but we did spend some time in the grass.
Today was another lovely day, so we walked for hours again. This time we headed south from our house. First we hit the natural supply store for some baby-friendly sunblock (Peanut was a bit ruddy when we got home yesterday; she’s inherited my exceedingly fair skin, so it needs protecting!) and then stopped off at a coffeehouse for a sandwich. Peanut entertained everyone who walked by, grinning at them from her armchair.
Onward south we walked, through the Glebe, past Lansdowne Park and over the canal. We walked through Sunnyside, stopping in little baby and child shops and consignment shops, and generally just wandering. We found a pet food shop which sells the brand of food we like for Wembley (it’s harder to find than, say, something like Purina) and checked out the new Milkface location. Britt was in, so we got to say hello to her, and she got to exclaim over Peanut and how sweet she looked wrapped up in our babywearing wrap, Ulli.
Then back towards home. As we crossed the bridge over the Canal, I noticed how beautiful it all was: the grass and trees against the water, and all right in the middle of the city. And I thought, why would I ever want to leave? Some days, my heart fairly aches with love for this city, with all its grass and trees and water and arts and music and festivals and old churches and politics and activism and history.