I wrote a poem the first day on my job working for the Vancouver Board of Parks and Recreation as a paper-picker in Queen Elizabeth Park. It was in the mid-1990’s, during the wintertime. The job kept me active, walking miles each day, spent mostly in nature, in a beautiful park setting. And I made more money doing that than teaching kids writing after school at a Sylvan Learning Center in North Vancouver. It was what I needed at the time. But that’s a whole other story.
The park attendant would leave each year to go to California for the winter. Some friends who had done the job for him the previous winter introduced us. A fellow poet and a meditator (not TM), we shared common interests. He offered me the job and said I could stay in the caretaker facility he lived in across the street from Q.E. Park in Hillsdale Park. In exchange I would cover his utilities. I just had to get his boss’s approval, who did hire me, but wasn’t happy about the arrangement. He said there were people ahead of me in line for such a hard-to-come-by job. But it worked out well and he later hired me for the summer in Stanley Park when the caretaker returned from California.
I was lucky to get that prized job, doing simple work, like cleaning the park facilities and picking up trash. I also appreciated the beautiful park settings and composed poems as I walked the grounds. I actually amused myself that first day. I thought of how things grew from seed to tree, and their interrelationships with the animals. Dark berries turned white in winter and the birds who ate them caught my attention as I thought of the cycles in nature.
My inner child loved composing and hearing the sounds and meanings of the words. Every time I shared this poem with kids, they’d squeal with delight! Maybe the child in you will like it too.
Berries are meant to be eaten by birds
who poop out the seeds contained in their turds
this process prepares seeds to sprout in the spring
’til one day they’re trees and in them birds sing
© Ken Chawkin
Read Park Poems from Ken Chawkin for more details on this story and other poems inspired from Q.E. Park and others I visited in the Greater Vancouver area.
Tags: appreciating nature, berries and birds, interconnectedness of all things, nature, nature poems, our inner child, outdoors, park job, parks, poems for children, reciprocity, reciprocity in nature, sustainable nature, trees and seeds, Vancouver Parks