Homeless in Vancouver: Rising and shining on a late summer morning

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      At 2 a.m. this morning (August 13) I woke with a start in my parkade sleeping spot to the ringing and clanging of two or three glass wine bottles in an otherwise empty steel shopping cart—arguably the closest thing to bells that a person is likely to hear in the Fairview neighbourhood.

      It was three weeks from the last welfare cheque and still quite comfortable overnight.

      So it was no surprise that at least one binner was in the area on the early leg of an overnight bottle run; hungry to find returnable beverage containers in the garbage that they could get cash for.

      The sound of their questing and clattering passage rang for blocks through tidy alleys lined by recycling bins, Dumpsters, and flat-walled, brick and stucco condos.

      Do not ask for whom the bottle tolls, I thought, as I drifted off back to sleep—a bike trailer that was full of returnable beverage containers sitting next to my shoulder.

      The sun gets in your eyes—or is that smoke?

      Highrise balconies in the 1500 block of West Broadway catch the fire of sunrise before it is visible from the street.
      Stanley Q. Woodvine

      At 4 a.m. I again woke up briefly, this time feeling a slight overnight chill—the first in over two months.

      And when I finally got myself up and out of bed at 6 a.m., it was with a slight tickle in my throat.

      I didn’t even need to see the haze over the North Shore mountains, or the bloodshot sun rising in the east, to know that smoke from one or more of over 600 B.C. wildfires was settling over Vancouver.

      All of which pointed to this being a typical mid-to-late-August morning in Vancouver; still summer and still warm, according to the angry-looking sun in the sky but not for long, the darkness had whispered.

      Looking down from the alley on the Esso gas station Dumpsters in the 1300 block of West Broadway at 6:57 a.m.—not the tidy ones I referred to earlier.
      Stanley Q. Woodvine
      Stanley Q. Woodvine is a homeless resident of Vancouver who has worked in the past as an illustrator, graphic designer, and writer. Follow Stanley on Twitter at @sqwabb.