I regularly deliver food to an old Chinese couple on the edge of Chinatown and the DTES in Vancouver. The husband can just about communicate with me in English to coordinate timing; his wife less so.
The post photo is the view from their second floor window. You will notice the blossom of colour from the graffiti; maybe the semi-naked man in the corner, who was gesticulating in some distress, in an area where distress is commonplace.
I sat in my car for a moment thinking about this juxtaposition, and took the photo from a position of hope and gratitude.
I wondered about the lived experience of this older couple in this place that was once brand new and alien, half way around the world from home. A place that had become home, but with this distress all around, perhaps no longer. The gentleman waits nervously outside his building with shopping bags awaiting my arrival, and hurries back again quickly with a wave and a thank you.
I wondered about the lived experience of the man in distress on the street corner. I wondered if he could see the colourful blossom of graffiti behind him that so caught my eye. Was he able to see hope and happiness amongst the stresses and strain of the street?
And here was my lived experience, a rare foray out into the community during pandemic under-employment. I saw the colour, I took the photo. I exhaled slowly, I took it all in. That was my privilege. I gave thanks to the artists who brightened up my day; who said through their craft, this place has life.
This Much We Know.