Down By The River

carLast weekend was so gloriously sunny and warm that we decided to get outside for some fresh air and vitamin D. We decided to explore Brownsville Bar Park, a sandy beach and pleasant walking loop on the Fraser River.

There were several groups of people relaxing with their picnic baskets, lawn chairs and beach toys, enjoying the view and the sounds of the rushing water. Their dogs happily running along the banks, trying to catch the clever gulls. The soft sand beach stretches along the shore of the mighty Fraser River, situated under the Pattullo and Sky Train bridges.

We walked along the grassy loop and then explored the beach, stepping amid the water-smoothed river rocks and washed-up flotsam and jetsam that only a flowing body of water can deposit on its shores. The high-rises of New Westminster beckoned us across the river, shimmering in the bright sunlight.

Among the bits of beach glass and driftwood, there lay scraps of metal and plastic, remnants of signs, boats, ropes and riggings. A rusty garden spade. The most surprising was a conglomeration of metal and rubber — tires and hubcaps — I’m convinced that an entire car was deposited on the riverbank.

A solitary man, wearing work gloves and gumboots, was picking through the debris, carting off large pieces of metal and throwing them into the back of his pick-up truck.

I thought about that car — how far did it travel down the river, why was it there?  I marveled at the mighty Fraser and all the stories it could tell us, if we only knew how to listen.