Monday, February 20, 2017

Everywhere a sign

John and I saw a couple of unusual signs during a trip to Britannia Beach and Squamish on Monday. They got me thinking about how we're constantly surrounded by signs -- some direct, some indirect -- giving us messages about the world around us. Sometimes the unwritten ones are more meaningful than those that are spelled out. Here are some signs I noticed during the day's travels:

This is the sign on the stained-glass window of the Galileo Coffee Company in Britannia Beach, our favourite coffee stop. The words may be ordinary, but the multiple hearts, in different colours and materials, endow them with playfulness, good cheer, and maybe even . . .  love!  What a message to customers!

The sign in the Squamish public library says everyone is welcome, but you must be "awake, sober and not disturbing others" or you'll be asked to leave. Visitors not au courant with local affairs are naturally curious about what transgressions would have prompted such a sign. 

This sign reads: "Trail continues, private property, trespassers welcome." In a world full of "no trespassing" signs, how unusual is this?  The trail led to the Squamish estuary reserve on the periphery of the city.
Not only did the "trail continue" as promised, but there was a friendly blue bench along the way. A sign that the private owner, whoever it is, meant "welcome."

Further along, another bench, this one making imaginative use of driftwood. Located at a viewpoint overlooking the nature reserve, the message this bench was sending was both of welcome and creativity.

A front view of the driftwood bench, which is clearly well-used.

This boat anchored along a waterway we passed is embellished with elaborate woodworking, including roofs front and back shingled so as to evoke the gills of a fish. The boat has a clear hippie vibe in a non-hippie era. The message: it's okay to work hard at being really, really different.
On the boundaries of the estuary, the inevitable condominium has been built and another is on the way. The message: Even this far from expensive Vancouver, condos are going up everywhere.  In downtown Squamish  I noticed a sign advertising three-bedroom townhouses for $499,000. 

Across from the road from the condo development, water and bush signals the start of wilderness. It's a sign that people understand some areas just need to be saved for plants and animals. And that people, especially those packed into condominiums, need access to nature themselves.

Waterways crisscross the estuary.

Sometimes a bit of water is more important than a straight path: John stands on the rocks that make up a detour.
Still in the estuary, this sign says the area is bird habitat and not to disturb it. 

Bulrushes, backed by mountains, provide a peaceful view.

Snow signals that winter is still around, at least in the Squamish estuary.

Meanwhile, in Britannia Beach, an opposite signal: A pink viburnum blooming outside Galileo Coffee announces spring is here.

Inside the coffee shop, the tops of the tables are covered with bills and coins from all over the world -- protected by Plexiglas. The currencies from places like Ghana, Malaysia, India and China are a sign of the international travellers who stop here for coffee, probably on their way to Whistler. 

A scrap of paper under the glass includes an unknown script along with the words in English: "We are from Regina." There are two names linked by a heart, so probably a couple on their way to Whistler left this. Let's imagine it was a sign they were on their honeymoon.

Another view of the bills and coins on the table top.

At the top of the coffee shop's steps, a water bowl for a dog and two leashes, so you can just clip your dogs in. The message: Dogs are welcome here!

Squamish is thriving, full of young families driven out of Vancouver by high housing prices and attracted by the availability of outdoor recreation there. But its streetscape sends a clear signal that town planning isn't its strong point and that cars are still king. 
Vehicles, parking lots, mountain backdrops: That pretty much says downtown Squamish.

Coming back to our car after our walk, John noticed the wind deflector underneath dangling, likely because of the snowdrifts the car has bumped over in the last while. We spotted a Lordco sign in a mall in downtown Squamish, and after buying some zip ties there, John took care of the problem in the parking lot. A sign of somebody who knows something about cars! 

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