I didn't think to check the weather before we left for the fourth and final night of Vancouver's Celebration of Lights fireworks display competition. The slightly cooler, breezy, mostly sunny day seemed to suggest a possibly overcast evening and a need for extra layers or blankies at most. We left our apartment at around 6:30pm to reserve a spot on the beach for the 10pm show, toting a backpack stuffed with a beach towel, light rain jackets, travel-size Chess and Connect Four, technological goodies, water, and an assortment of tasty snacks. Rain pants and an umbrella would have helped a lot. Well, maybe not the umbrella/lightning rod.
After a comfy sky train ride and walk along the water, we arrived at the beach to find a reasonable crowd, but plenty of great spots. I planted our towel a bit close to the water, and wary of my choice, Waltson pointed out the rising tide. I reluctantly heeded the warning, although fairly certain that he was right, and pulled the towel back a bit. The risk of tempting beach chair groups with too much viable open space in front of us distressed me, buuuuut, I didn't want to be forced to move, or watch the show while submerged in the bay. I amused myself by "solving" this problem through coercing Waltson into a game of "toss the wood chips" anytime I perceived an invasion threat.
As the lapping waves centimetered their way toward our towel, and the walls of a sand castle, I relaxed on our beach towel, gazing at the horizon as fuzzies pummeled Waltson. Apparently some kid decided to "help" some planties by boisterously whacking their seeds onto a magical journey across the beach and into my hair. I watched the fuzzies land on the beach, and noticed that the sand seemed alive as tiny grain clumps trickled down mini dunes. A closer look revealed some fascinating, and unsettling bugs: some hoppy, some squirmy, and some crawly. I'd had enough of the sand and turned my attention to the sky instead. And I saw a really dark mass of clouds. Hmmm. I checked the wind. Looked like it was carrying those ominous sprinklers in a favorable direction....out of the deep gray rumbled a HUGE THUNDER CRACK! "Ooooooh, Aaaaaawesome!" I thought, until it started rain.
We threw on our rain jackets, packed away our towel, secured the electronics in a plastic bag, and watched as some hunkered down with towels over their heads, and others retreated. We decided to sit on a now vacant log behind us and wait out the storm. The front of my pants got soaked, but I mostly enjoyed the storm, catching a glimpse of lightning and watching a giant swoosh of rain travel gradually further from us. The rain subsided, and the log's previous occupants returned. Although it was a pretty long log with plenty of room for their group and ours, we decided to return to the sand, but a bit further back than before. This time, I strategically positioned us behind a sand ridge, littered with shards of bark, about the length of our towel, still close enough to the water to deter other groups from blocking our view, and far away enough to stay dry(as long as the rain didn't return).
The sky grew lighter and I began to relax, and realize that I was pretty hungry. Waltson and I split a Coffee Crisp candy bar, then played some Connect Four. When I'd had enough of his pwnage, we switched to checkers, but didn't finish the game because I thought I'd felt rain. It was a bit after 9:00pm, and I thought it best to just chill until showtime. The beach was packed, more so than the other 3 nights, and I did not look forward to fighting the crowd back to the sky train station. However, I was thrilled to be on the beach with an unobstructed view of what turned out to be yet another night of breathtaking fireworks.
As the last sparkly smithereens faded and the crowd cheered, I jumped up, quickly and vigorously shaking the towel, hopefully leaving all tiny members of the sand community behind. We scanned the hoard for openings and darted between bodies, carefully avoiding towels, shoes, and beach debris in the dark. The scanning, dashing, and sometimes leaping continued as we reached the paved path, keeping one another in view, speed walking and running into open spaces when possible, soon leaving most of the swarm far behind. Our slightly scary, but exhilarating strategy soon brought us to the station, where we caught a train in less than a minute. For the first time in weeks, we had to stand, but at least we didn't have to wait. Some weirdo terrified me on the ride home by giving the train door a random beating, but we made it home, safe and sound. Except that my camera now displays this tiny pixel in every shot, and on the view screen, which is no big deal, as long as its not a symptom of something worse...