January 29, 2006

Flat Ben Tours Stormy Burnaby Mountain

My nephew arrived in the mail from Los Angeles the other day in the form of Flat Ben. He will be traveling all over visting his relatives and friends. Here's his story on his first day outside in Burnaby, BC.

Flat Ben was getting impatient. "When are we going outside?" he cried. "I'm tired of hanging around with this sleepy cat."

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"Well, it's been raining for days," said Uncle Paul.

"And the forecast is for another week of rain," sighed Aunt Yumi.

"I don't care," Ben said. "I thought you guys are streamkeepers! Are you afraid of a little rain?"

"OK," said Uncle Paul. "Lets go to Burnaby Mountain Park, no matter how hard it rains. Lets rig you up a sandwich bag for a raincoat, and off we go!"

As they drove toward Burnaby Mountain, they saw it was enshrouded in mist. Soon they were gaining elevation as the road wound its way upward, and the slanting rain began turning to sleet.

"Wow!" said Ben. "I remember that you can usually see the North Shore Mountains from here, but I can't see anything..." He sounded a bit deflated, but defiantly shouted: "Let's go outside anyway!"

Uncle Paul and Aunt Yumi groaned, but they zipped up their coats, put on their hats, and unfurled their umbrellas.

"Let's see the crane mural first," said Uncle Paul. "Aunt Yumi and I helped install it last summer. It commemorates the 40th anniversary of the sister-city relationship between Burnaby and Kushiro, Japan. The Stream of Dreams Murals Society taught schoolchildren in Burnaby the story of the Kushiro marshland and how it was preserved by volunteers to bring the Japanese tancho crane back from the brink of extinction. Then the kids painted about 2,000 cranes, most of which were installed on the mountain, and some in Japan."

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"How about we take a look at the Kamui Mintara 'Playground of the Gods' next?" said Aunt Yumi. "These carvings by the Ainu people of northern Japan were sent here years ago as part of the sister-city relationship."

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As they began walking back to the car, Ben suddenly spied another kind of totem pole. "Hey, lets go see that one, too!" he said, pointing at the West Coast First Nations carving.

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"All right," said Uncle Paul, "I'm cold and wet. Back to the car!"

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Flat Ben, Aunt Yumi and Uncle Paul warmed up inside the car and then drove home. If the weather is a bit nicer tomorrow, they plan to have Ben help out with some streamkeeping activities.

Posted by Paul at January 29, 2006 03:32 PM