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For my nature walk, I visited the Nitobe Memorial Garden at UBC. It is a really beautiful spot to go and take a study break in. The traditional Japanese Tea and Stroll garden, is considered to be the most authentic Japanese garden in North America. After doing a little bit of research on the garden, I learned that it was named after Inazo Nitobe, a Japanese agricultural economist, author, educator, diplomat, politician, and Christian, whose goal was "to become a bridge across the Pacific." I think that the Japanese garden at UBC does particularly well in honouring his memory by creating a space that celebrates the Japanese culture and makes it accessible to anyone who is interested in experiencing it. What is particularly striking when entering the garden, is how peaceful it is. The lush plants and trees, the island, the calm waters, and the beautiful bridges and stone paths all combine to make a perfect oasis. The balance between the natural and the man-made within the garden reflects the harmony that can exist between nature and humans. I would definitely recommend a visit!
I wish I could include the picture I have of this glorious moment in time. I didn't have to walk to experience it. I stood on my balcony to watch an unforgettable moment. This poem has been a work in progress ever since:Stó:lō Speaks: Dawn on Sunday Morning in New WestminsterI am calling you, old woman. Look at me…See red flood my eastern sky; watch the golden glowof sunrise shape a halo of hope for this day’s dawningwhile the human-blight on my scarred shouldersremains hidden in the dark twining of night, day. Come. Share my reflections…morningorange-rose steals between silver grey clouds, the mirror of my surface-still waters glistens, snowwhite, the peak of Mount Baker gleams on the distant horizon. All is quiet. Gulls swoop, eagle soars.We have talked on countless days, you and I. Nowyou forget I am here…though you know me well.You witnessed my birthing, high in the north mountains, watched my tumbling waters grow,burgeon with icy streams dropping, draininginto the cleft of my bed as I went my way -northwest, south, west - ever seeking the ocean. You heard the freezing crackle-blast explosions of winter ice when it tried to block my path.You saw me rise, watched my spring run-off tear forests by their roots, hoist them on waves, stealthe rocks, the soil that bind them, then carry my loaddown, down through the roiling, relentless fury of Hell’s Gate - and farther, beyond Hope. After,you felt my summer sigh, watched me stretch between the broader banks that lead past your door.Come with me. Share this meditation - hushed matinsof morning -while we breathe in the daylight together.For now, feel the pull of my stream, remember the silver flash of salmon, rainbow trout, leaping up, over the flow of my current, the ghosts of giant sturgeon haunting the deep caverns of my muddied waters, the squall of gulls quarrelling over shimmering schools of spring eulachon, the flap of other wings, voices calling: crows, ducks, geese. Eagles wafting free on updraftsof wind, then spiralling down, down, their siege silent,their strike swift. Imagine cedar-red trees bobbling, lostin the tide’s back-current until they can right themselves, and once again, float westward. Hear one last eerie howl, a coyote’s lament for the loss of night’s black blanket. Embrace this moment, old woman. Loosen the weightthat you carry. Let it fall, fall….then float away with me.I will carry you downriver, show you the spread of my delta,its broad, greening gardens, fields ripe with summer/fallharvests: strawberries, raspberries, blueberries. Touchthem. Taste them. Let their juices dribble over your lips,revel in that fruit-rich aroma that mingles with the smellof earthy loam, the fresh river silt I gift them, salty gustsof tidal winds blowing over the land. Breathe with me and remember: my arms open widest just before I spillinto the ocean's vast waters - where the circle begins anew.
For my nature walk, I went on a stroll on the Vancouver Sea Wall. It was my first time taking the walk, as I'm newly to Vancouver this semester, coming from Calgary. My first impression was that I had never seen such natural beauty before. Coming to Vancouver and living in the area that I do, which is dominated by apartment buildings, old local shops, and high-rises, I never thought I would see what I saw. I watched the blue water wave slowly as the sun shone through the blue skies. It was particularly nice day out, and even as I observed the weather transition to clouds and a light drizzle, it was still beautiful. Going on this nature walk showed me that there are two sides to everything. One side being the day to day habits or work, school, etc. And on the other side, natural beauty, where we can go to escape reality and search for meanings, much like we do when reading literature.
My nature walk wasn't intentionally reflective. I didn't necessarily set aside time to go for a walk for this class, but rather I recently went for a hike that resulted in unusual personal reflection. The strange thing was I have gone on this particular hike countless times growing up but it wasn’t until now that I truly saw its beauty. I'm from North Vancouver, specifically Deep Cove - an area that is constrained to the South and East by the Ocean and to the North by Mount Seymour. Now while my community a definitely a suburb, only a half an hour drive from the downtown core, Deep Cove is surrounded by the forest which can make it feel very isolated. Nature is simply ingrained in my being. I grew up running through ferns, climbing to the top of huge stumps, building forts and searching for crabs at the rocky beach. The forest was my playground and it had a huge role in the evolution of my identity. It wasn’t until recently though that I’ve come to reflect on how lucky I was to have these experiences as a child. Now back to my ‘nature walk’. A friend from UBC came home with me for the Easter long weekend. She’s from Toronto and is constantly gushing about the west coast, so naturally while she visited we took her to a local trail off Indian River Road. This trail isn’t official; mountain bikers ride it illegally, but the district has better things to worry about so they just let it be. It’s rough, and not kept up like the other manicured trails in North Van, but this trail is beautiful in its own way. Other trails like the Baden Powel or Lynn Loop get crowded, but this trail that my family calls ‘the fish’ (due to a taxidermy swordfish nailed to a tree near the end of the loop) is serine. I have never come across other people on it; it’s our little secret. I wasn’t always this affectionate to it though. I’ve always been a very suborn person and when I was little I complained endlessly about having to hike here. I wanted to go up Quarry Rock – it had a pretty view and was nice and smooth, ‘the fish’ on the other hand was steep and my mom always made us run down the second half. I was so stuck up in my ways that I failed to notice how special it is. The second quarter runs directly beside a river that opens up to a cascade near the highest point of the trail, and the forest was once affected by a lightning storm that resulted in scattered blackened skeleton trees that remained standing. It was on this recent ‘nature walk’ that I realized how the forest is such an integral part of my life and I often fail to recognize it. This walk gave me a whole new appreciation for my home.
Gosh Claire, you're so lucky! I go up to Deep Cove once in a while to hike and kayak and I've always thought it'd be a wonderful place to live. I get all envious when I meet people with similar childhood stories, like, you're telling me you got to run around in a forest?! This comes from somebody whose parents frowned upon her crossing the street alone...for quite a while (a consequence of city life I guess).
I agree with what Kathy said! I was lucky enough to grow up experiencing a lot of nature - we have trees and flowers, some parks, a ravine at one of the elementary school, and a small forest with a lake nearby - but since it still took a walk to get to the forest (and places like Deep Cove or Lynn Valley were at least an hour away), it wasn't until I was in high school that my parents allowed me to make those distances myself. I still envy childhoods filled with things like daydreaming in the forest or walking around the mountains, and I'm really happy you got to have those things as a child.
My nature "walk" ended up being a nature "cruise/downhill session" in Demo Forest (aka Seymour Demonstration Forest). My first time up there was about four years ago, it was raining and sort of slippery then and I ended up bailing and marking up my right hip. Fun times. Anyhow, it was sunny today so I made the trip up there. It's a wonderful feeling to be surrounded by nature. The trees, nicely packed, tall and thin. They all become a blur of greens, browns, and flashes of light when longboarding downhill. It's a really awesome feeling, and sort of takes you out of "thinking" about anything. You don't have time to consider much as you go by, it's just a wash of colours, shapes, the grey of the pavement beneath you, and all you know is the feeling of the wind and the sun. The hill will eventually plateau and I'll slowly return to an upright position (because when going down hill you bend over into a tuck, holding your hands behind your back). It's a moment of new-found clarity, like you're seeing everything again for the first time. It's hard to not feel incredibly calm in such a secluded area. I could only hear the soft crackle of grit under my wheels and faint chirping. Oh, I also saw some deer! It was pretty exciting stuff. We're inundated with information, deadlines, responsibilities, worries -- just a whole lot of stress and noise. It's worth taking a break once in a while, allowing nature's calm to be your calm, and clearing your head.
The Walk: A Short StoryThe strong wind tickled the girl's features as she made my way to the beach. This was one of those days where she enjoyed the solitude of being alone. She was not ready to tell her friends about the break-up. She needed it to sink in first.The hike to the beach was long and peaceful. It was always fun coming down the trail but it took more of an effort to come back up. The enjoyed the smell of lush trees and damp earth. The warm July air left damp droplets against her skin. The girl was thankful it was not a busy day. She felt ashamed about breaking down in public. The girl wondered when she would open herself to love again.The hot sand felt comfortable beneath her feet. She walked along the body of water, a single set of footsteps marked the sand. Ever since the girl was a child, she loved collecting shells. The rough texture of the shell pressed against her skin. She put them in her pocket and continued on.A tiny hermit crab did his funny walk along the beach. Seagulls flew by, making loud noises. Tiny creatures which looked like tadpoles raced in the ocean. Sea creatures fascinated the girl.The sun began to set. It was as if the sky was painted with fire. It wasn't long before the darkness descended. The tide grew higher and powerful waves crashed against the shore.Nature walks were comforting to the girl. For a moment, just a split moment, she was thankful she had forgotten about her troubles. She left the beach, read to embrace reality.
I love this poem and read it just before taking a walk, which made me think about the nature around me in a very different mindset. As I soaked in the sun, I pondered creation and the amazing perfection of all that is nature. In further contemplating Angela’s questions, you as an observer become aware not only of your surroundings in general, but their relation to creation and the intricacies within the design.“God the Artist” by Angela MorganGod, when you thought of a pine tree,How did you think of a star?How did you dream of the Milky WayTo guide us from afar.How did you think of a clean brown poolWhere flecks of shadows are?God, when you thought of a cobweb,How did you think of dew?How did you know a spider's houseHad shingles bright and new?How did you know the human folkWould love them like they do?God, when you patterned a bird song,Flung on a silver string,How did you know the ecstasyThat crystal call would bring?How did you think of a bubbling throatAnd a darling speckled wing?God, when you chiseled a raindrop,How did you think of a stem,Bearing a lovely satin leafTo hold the tiny gem?How did you know a million dropsWould deck the morning's hem?Why did you mate the moonlit nightWith the honeysuckle vines?How did you know Madeira bloomDistilled ecstatic wines?How did you weave the velvet diskWhere tangled perfumes are?God, when you thought of a pine tree,How did you think of a star?Source: http://www.familyfriendpoems.com/poem/god-the-artist-by-angela-morgan#ixzz3Vphf0gzn
A few weeks ago I decided to set aside some time to go on a walk in the trails near Camosun. I often forget how lucky I am to be living near such beautiful nature. Sometimes I can even take it for granted. Most of the time I forget that because of all the rain in the city, we’re able to have such a beautiful green and lush place to live in. It makes me want to complain about the rain a little less. I was reminded of this while on my walk. The trees towered above me, their branches still wet from yesterday’s rain. The sunlight made each drop of water sparkle. The ground was soft beneath my feet. There was a smell in the air that you can only really experience when inside a forest. It’s the perfect combination of the scents from the beautiful coniferous and the wet dirt on the ground. Moss paints its green lushness everywhere it touches. In the forest I feel so small but a part of something that’s whole and so much larger than my own being. The sounds of the forest are quiet, birds singing in the distance, tree branches rustling in the wind. That day I felt completely at peace and allowed myself to really enjoy what the forest had to offer.
For my nature walk, I walked from Wreck Beach to Tower Beach. Since I lived on campus last year, it's a walk I did many times with friends, but this time I went by myself. It was cold, and rainy, but in a good way. Sometimes I like the ocean better when it's grey and cloudy, because it means the beaches are more or less deserted. Everything smelled like rain, and the sand was scattered with broken pieces of shells. It reminded me how amazing it was to be close to the water - growing up in the prairies, I always used to wish I could live in a place surrounded by the ocean. While I was on my walk I thought about how stressed I was - from school, work, keeping up with family and friends, and figuring out what to do for the summer. It occurred to me that I was going round in circles, constantly worrying but not doing anything positive. So, I took the time to stop at spots that seemed the most beautiful to me, and just stood and stared at them. By the end of the walk, I felt so much calmer. I was able to sit and think without feeling anxious or stressed, and it was a powerful reminder of all I was missing out on by not spending more time outside.
During one of our lunch breaks, my friend and I decided to visit Wreck Beach since none of us had gone there yet. Upon arriving, I found it to be surprisingly serene; I had thought that there would be a lot of people there especially considering that it was one of the first warm, sunny days of the month. Although we didn't stay long, it gave us an opportunity to finally de-stress. Unfortunately, because we weren't wearing suitable shoes, we couldn't explore too far and so decided to just talk and watch the horizon instead. Aside from being absolutely beautiful, the view was really calming and I think that had to do with the fact that it looked endless, and thus kind of invoked a sense of permanence in time. By creating this illusion, it allowed us to temporarily escape and not think about the anxiety-inducing quick pace of our lives -- no deadlines, no exams, no limitations placed on and of time. Additionally, since I am not much of an "outdoors person" and hadn't gone to a natural place in a while, this excursion let me re-connect with nature again and appreciate living in a place surrounded by such natural beauty.
I took this opportunity to write about, what was perhaps the greatest impact nature had given me. I went on a camping trip to Joffre Lakes, located near Pemberton BC. It was around a two hour drive from Vancouver, travelling well out of Cellphone reception area. The provincial park consists of 3 stunning lakes: the first located at the base of the mountain, the second an hour hike up and the third at the peak, surrounded by massive glaciers and boulders. A highlight of the park is the turquoise blue waters of Lower, Middle and Upper Joffre lakes, all three of which are located along the trail, and each more stunning than the last. Their striking, saturated blue colour is caused by “rockflour” – or glacial silt – that is suspended in the water and reflects green and blue wavelengths of sunlight.When I finally reached the peak, I sat in front of the gatorade coloured lake drenched in my thoughts for a straight hour. For a rare moment, all the negative energy inside my body disappeared, replaced instead by gratefulness. It was simply a blessing to be able to experience such beauty first hand. After an hour of silence I looked at my friend sitting beside me, equally silent. Her eyes were still teary from the overwhelming emotions emitted from the striking beauty of the lake. Its difficult to describe the scenery with words, let alone describe the emotions.
For my nature walk(s), I often like to walk around the UBC campus because I spend the majority of my day here. My favourite part of walking around UBC is whenever I spot a small animal like a squirrel. Sometimes I see the coyote, and I wonder if it’s plotting some sort of mischief like Coyote in Green Grass Running Water (haha). However, when the flowers were in full bloom back in mid-February, I actually managed to catch a glimpse of a hummingbird flitting about the cherry blossom trees near the Lassere and Music buildings! At first I didn’t believe my eyes, but when I walked a little closer, it definitely was a hummingbird. Its wings moved very quickly; too quickly I might add, because my eye blinking could barely keep up. I got a good glimpse for about 10 seconds before it must have sensed my presence (also I decided to try and walk closer to it) and it flew off. It was very fascinating to see, because that was the closest I had ever been to seeing a real live hummingbird feeding from the flowers. It made me feel glad I had stopped to admire the cherry blossom trees in full bloom because then I would never have been able to encounter this hummingbird. It was a very sunny day too, I might add. After telling one of my friends (who majors in Conservation Sciences) regarding this encounter, he speculates it might have been the Anna’s hummingbird, which is native to the west coast of North America and most commonly found in this area of British Columbia.Here is a link to a picture of the Anna’s hummingbird:http://www.comoxvalleynaturalist.bc.ca/assets/images/birds/annas_hummingbird_m.jpgUsually I just encounter squirrels digging through garbage cans around UBC, but seeing this hummingbird that day was definitely a unique surprise!
For my nature walk, I wandered about the Nitobe Garden for some time. It's a place that I've visited before, inspired by the content of the many Asian Studies courses that I take. In these courses, I learned about Japanese literature since its conception. Much of the classical literature (approximately 800-1200), was written by aristocrats during a time of unprecedented peace, which meant that they had the luxury to heavily focus on topics like love and nature. I find nature to be a bit of a paradox in Japanese culture/literature. The people are extremely connected and inspired by nature but they also don't seem to appreciate nature in its natural form. To explain, let me use The Nitobe Gardens as an example. Every single tree and rock is placed with extreme precision to mimic an ideal form of nature, rather than allowing it to flourish on its own. There are records of this gardening from the classical age as well, showing that it is a tradition/habit that has been passed on.I absolutely do find the Nitobe Gardens to be beautiful, and a worthy memorial of Inazo Nitobe, whose works I have read. What really catches my attention is the reflecting koi pond, which I feel lends itself greatly to the theme of our class. In this reflection, we can think about who we are. The area is extremely quiet and allows for utter peace of mind when thinking. Some of the thoughts that occurred to me are now written in my journal, where I hope to look back on someday and remember.The beauty of this garden is in its subtlety. It is not extravagant, like the gardens of Versailles, which is beautiful in its own way. However, the is a sense of tranquility, difficult to achieve, that permeates the area. It's an ideal place to escape from the busy, everyday hum of life and just think.
My nature walk included a walk to Wreck Beach which included my thoughts of specific rocks which I created into a poem:Descriptive RockThese steps lead your way For decades people Have ignored you as you layMotionless, unable to advanceYou, coated in green furSitting, watching the waterBubbles springing and squirting freelyAll to catch some warm raysIt is all the sameThere is no changeNothing but history Not the next day, but next yearHow did you get hereWhat have you seenThe Sea meeting the forestYou desire a home but cannotYou seem lostYou seem damagedYou seem dividedYou are between the hyphenThe sea breaks you downThe forest gives you lifeCivilization gives a cold-shoulderWhile you are nothing but matterSome view heaven has a planA plan for everything and everyoneWhat is your plan I ask?Where will you be when I’m goneI want to learnYour wisdom is beyond othersIf only you could talkIn your thick green coatSadly, you will turn to dustSwept away by the fuel of lifeThe sea brings life and darknessIt is now, that I can see how God can be so wasteful But who am I?Who am I talking to?Why does it matter?Why does anything matter?As it is all matter.Does God really have a purposeWhen half of all we seeWe don’t know its reasoningThese are all questions I want answeredIm curious and wanderlust People all say to believeI will when I believe in purposeAt the end of the day, aren’t we all lost in the hypen?I'm questioning God and his purpose for nature, as aboriginals view God to give life to nature. Is there a purpose for part of life in our nature? Why are we all here? Are we all lost in the hyphen? Just like this mossy rock sitting motionless, somewhat pointless. Why believe in God when we don’t know what to believe in...
For my nature walk I went to Garry Point Park in Steveston. Garry Point is a large waterfront park that has a pretty awesome view of the South Arm of the Fraser River and the Gulf Islands. I've lived in Steveston for my entire life and every time I visit Garry Point the memories come flooding in. As a kid I used to spend afternoons there playing with friends, going to family BBQs, or just going for evening walks with my family. As I got older my visits to Garry Point continued but the purposes of the visits changed as it became a regular place to hang out and have bonfires on warm summer nights. On this particular visit to the park I spent most of my time looking at the Steveston Fisherman's memorial which is a giant fisherman's needle engraved with the names of fishermen who were lost at sea. I remember as a young child my grandpa brought me to the memorial and showed me the names of some of the fishermen who he knew and worked with. As I stood at the needle I thought of how tough it must have been to be in that line of work knowing the risks involved. The needle really is a beautiful sight and I would definitely recommend checking it out if you find yourself in Steveston.
For my nature walk I went hiking at Buntzen Lake which is on the outskirts of Port Moody. I ended up writing on my experience and some of the things I noticed and thought about.The lower mainland, where urban sprawl boarders nature’s mysteries. Go a few more steps and you escape the day to day demands of the city. Met with freedom and peace, but also isolation and insecurity. Away from the constant pressures put upon by others, and especially yourself. In the city, you can go all day without someone acknowledging you.You can feel alone while surrounded by thousands, all intently staring into their devices. In nature, the face of another human leads to enthusiastic greetings as you pass by.Cities show us how much we crave privacy. Yet nature shows us how much we crave interaction. Both lend to a feeling of being so small in such a big world. In the city, it is felt as inadequacy. In nature, it is felt as humility. Lost within the giants of the forest and sounds of the wild.Invigorating yet calming, strange yet familiar. These green spaces on the edges of society are a lifeline when we are drowning.But lifelines get cut, just as trees do.We build up cities that tear us down. And just like our souls, nature gets destroyed in the process. Chantel Wright
The destination I chose to write my “Exploring Canada’s Wilderness” journal entry upon was Kitsilano Beach, the backyard of where I fortunately live. To be honest, I only walk down the street and into the beach area during hot summer days, so having the opportunity to do so on an early March afternoon is quite a treat. I decided to study the washing of broken seashells by the bay, and I will relate the action and the entity (broken pieces of seashells) to the masks I wear every day: Renewal. Revival. Resurgence. These are the words that come to mind when I watch the soft crashes of saltwater land and break into the depths of the sand. Broken and shattered, pieces of once-attached seashells scatter across the bed of sand. It doesn’t remember who or what had broke them, but it sure knows that they are broken. There may be the slightest success in scouting for the rest of its remains, but the effort almost seems useless when you think of all its loose pieces floating and landing wherever it likes, never in one place. The shards glisten under the cool March sun, and I just sit there, observing the ways in which these pieces willing go with the water, and come back up in the next wave. When you look at it as a whole, these pieces really don’t go anywhere. Sure, they float back and forth, getting washed up and down the seashore, but at the end of the day they remain by the shore. Unmoved, broken and almost seemingly lost. A sudden rush of sadness came over me. And if a stranger had come over and asked me why I was crying, I wouldn’t know how to answer. What I did know was that these tiny pieces of broken seashells are the very masks that I willingly choose to bring up and wear. Each shard has its own separation story from the rest of the shards, which also reflects the individualistic stories each mask displayed on my face holds. These masks bear meaning, withstand multiple blows and represent a different Sandra to very different people I choose to share them with. And just like the broken seashells, my masks can’t exactly remember why I have them in the first place or why it is so deeply engraved in my mind and to my heart, but it simply knows that they are just masks. At the end of the day, I take all the various masks off and let my real self breathe. I let myself go and enjoy the moment … Until time calls again to wash these masks up to shore and put them on again.
Not long ago my two roommates and I decided to go for a walk down to Wreck Beach to watch the sunset. It was during a time where we were swamped with midterms and essays so we were all feeling uptight and stressed out. It had been a clear sunny day so the concept of being able to watch a beautiful sunset seemed promising. We headed down to the beach about an hour before the sun was supposed to set so we would have some time to just walk around the beach in the daylight. When we first got down there the beach was decently quiet. A few people here and there but not at all crowded. We walked around for a while, looking at seashells and feeling the water. Then we found a log in front of the water to sit on and watch the sunset. This is when people started flooding to the beach from all directions. Students ran down with Frisbees and footballs and other people came down with hula-hoops and drum sets. Crowds of people started dancing and making music and cheering the sun on as it set. The sky was painted beautiful reds, oranges, and pinks. I don’t think there was anyone on the beach at that moment that wasn’t smiling or having fun. This happiness stuck with my roommates and I as we walked home and throughout the entire night. As I began to work on my essay again that evening I was feel so much more relaxed and creative. It was so good for my physical and mental health to get out for that walk when I did. I tend to get writers block when I am sitting at my desk working on an essay for long periods of time. Knowing how much that walk helped my roommates and me, I think it will be something we implement into our lives more often.
For my nature walk I decided to write a poem; but I wrote it in Chinese as I am still learning the written language to challenge myself. I wrote this after walking around the seawall one windy day. Here's a rough translation into english but doesn't really capture the word play I was trying to achieve in the original unfortunately. Also the html formatting didn't really work so I've linked to a screenshot of the poem in word form.http://bit.ly/1bxotac
My nature walk was done in perhaps one of the most common places people have gone to in Vancouver. It was in Stanley Park since I had not visited it before. I went with a couple friends since they were amazed at the fact that I had not been there yet after I have been living in Canada for a year already. The lasting impression I had was that the park is huge. Not only is it nice to be able to see so many trees, and the ocean at the same time, but it is a huge walk around the car. We decided to walk the park rather than ride bikes so it took unexpectedly long. It certainly reminded me of my time in South America so a great sense of nostalgia overtook me. It was a very nice change of pace since I had not seen anything that reminded me of my time there yet. Being able to visit the aquarium at the same time we were there was a nice bonus too. I can't even remember the last time I had been to an aquarium so being able to see the belugas was a huge surprise for me. I was able to be reminded of my past and also able to meet something new I had never seen before in my life.
I took a walk along the trail to the beach. It was quiet, serene. Shadows from the trees with streaks of sun peeking through. When I arrived to my destination, the sun blanketed over, the bright blue sky filled my vision, and the ocean beaconed for me to visit. There wasn't another soul on the beach.... well, except for a large, yellow dragon. It roared ceaslessly, spewing smoke, throwing the remains of trees long dead around its nest. I watched this site... the tractor moving logs around the beach, digging up sand, dismantling and re-arranging what the ocean had arranged. It was fascinating and sad to see on such an otherwise beautiful and abandoned beach that day...
For my nature walk, I walked along Garry Point Park, trying to get to know my soon-to-be neighborhood. It was actually my first time walking along the park in the daylight since my friends and I usually go for a run around dusk, or attempt to go stargazing when it’s darkest. First of all, I found out that the Fisherman’s Memorial is actually a compass and I felt my heart drop to my stomach because of its reference to this story that I’m trying to write, where the compass is a huge part of the protagonist’s identity. I also found out where those group photos I was so jealous of (of my friends in grade 8) was taken-- alongside the large slabs of rock and logs beside the needle. I realize I have found my new "park". What I found interesting, actually, was abundance of white feathers in patches of land that looked like crop circles. I almost ran towards them, had my friend not told me what they are (she has a better eyesight than me and I have an irrational fear of birds, or any part of them for that matter). Being a science student, she explained to me that the crop circle looking things are a result of the varying amounts of water absorbed by the soil and the feathers are probably from all the seagulls that rest there at some point during the day, because the soil is very humid. Just because I have mentioned having a "new park", I thought I might as well talk about my "old park", the one that I live across from right now. Garden City park represents a lot of my high school memories since it's the park my friends would always hang out at after school, when it's nearing summertime. The park isn't very well-maintained in once you've gone past the play ground, but there is a hill that slopes down into a mini-forest that my friend showed me. The last time I went there, most of the trees are cut, but the short bushes still arched around lowly over my head when I crouch down, forming a tunnel that I would try to pass through to reach what we call "Sector Four", otherwise known as the shortcut to my friend's previous elementary school.
I take regular walks to Wreck Beach, often between the hours of 12am and 2am. This year I have finally achieved my lifelong goal of becoming nocturnal. I usually go to sleep around 6am, and wake up at 12 for my 1pm class. It’s hard to find time alone in a university. I live in campus residence. I have 5 roomates in my unit, and I live in close proximity to another 1200. I’m often in one of those other thousand dorm rooms. Even when I’m alone in my room, I’m chatting with 2-6 people on facebook at any given period of time. My midnight walks to Wreck beach are pretty much the only times I’m disconnected. Just me and my iPod full of Indie pop. There is something soothing about an empty beach. The waves just make it past my headphones with my music on the lowest volume, and the stars shine something gorgeous. Some people contemplate their own insignificance when they look up at the night sky, I tend to just think about the weather. Wreck beach isn’t far from civilization—Place Vanier is just a hop, skip, and 500 stairs away—but it somehow manages to give the aura of isolation. Besides the porta-potties, on the beach you can imagine that you’re standing on untouched land, where technology and your looming exams don’t exist. It’s a nice peaceful sort of place.
One day a couple weeks ago, after having brunch I walked down to Kits Beach in the rain. There were a few dedicated owners with their dogs, and one or two runners, but for the most part the beach was pretty empty. I walked west for a little while along the seawall until I stopped in front of the pool where some ducks had caught my eye. Despite having grown up on the west coast and having lived here my whole life I am embarrassed to admit that I am a combination of too stubborn, poorly prepared and vain to dress properly for the rain most of the time. I always tell myself that the sun will shine and that I won't really need rain gear and as a result on far too many days of the year I end up with wet feet, a grumpy mood and a hatred for rain. However, on this particular day I was well prepared with my rain jacket, boots and umbrella. A funny thing about rainy days is that I think many people relate rain with wind and storms, but as a sailor I can tell you that more often than not in Vancouver, at least in the spring and summer, with rain comes peace. Though this aggravates me to no end when I find myself wet and at a standstill in a wind-powered vehicle, while walking along the beach (dry in the rain for once) I found myself appreciating the peace and the rain in a way I hadn't before. It brings quiet to everything, shushing the world and making everything feel a bit smaller and cozier.
A caged bird will singIt will sing for you It will sing you a song and cry out words like they mean the end of the world A free bird does not sing for youA free bird sings for no one but the wind who carries its voice like a mother carries her childthis is the earth, and this is you do you feel the wind?search for all the lost voices in it breath in their song let the cold air tear at your throat as it finds its way into your lungsFeel the rain on your skin revel in the tiny pin pricks, marking your nerves but never leaving their markthey mark you but they'll never own you This is the world