A summer post

Sun Jul 17, 2016

It’s a beautiful Sunday afternoon in the middle of July - a pleasant breeze blows and it isn’t sweltering like it was last summer. I’m leaning up against a log on the south side of Queen’s Park and writing this post on my iPad. The Patullo Bridge is closed this weekend for seismic upgrades, so this area of the park is unusually serene - the drone of traffic crossing the bridge into Surrey is delightfully absent.

The groundskeepers tend to ignore this part of the park because it is seldom frequented. It has a slightly unkempt, natural look - unlike the manicured gardens to the North where happy young couples take wedding pictures in the rose garden. I like it.

There’s nothing like sitting quietly in nature. I feel rejuvenated and at peace. Green spaces quench the thirsty soul and wash away the thick stench of the city. I couldn’t imagine how unhappy I’d feel if I lived in the middle of an urban wasteland. A concrete prison with an apartment window looking at a brick wall and a cubicle at work with no windows at all. I guess a lot of people live that way, which explains a lot about all the aggression and stress in this world.

On my lunch breaks I go for a run along the Pitt River. Halfway through, I stop at a small beach and sit for awhile. There is an uninhabited island in the middle of the river. It is blanketed in leafy trees and eagles spiral lazily above - guardians of a sanctuary where no people set foot. I gaze at this island and quiet my mind for a few minutes before heading back to work. I always have a more productive afternoon when I do this.

I feel lucky to be living here in British Columbia, where there are more trees than people and water is never very far away. The insane real estate in the Vancouver area is disheartening of course, but that is another conversation.

I apologize if this meandering post doesn’t seem to have a point. I’m not trying to write one of those self-righteous diatribes about unplugging and going on a tech detox. Because, as you’ve probably figured out, I love technological innovation and trying to suss out its impact on our society. And if you’re not into the outdoors, I can respect that - especially if you’re honest about it, like this outdoor-hating Canadian.

But the summer does give us all a reminder that moderation in our lives brings greater joy than either overindulgence or abstinence. So, don’t forget to create as well as consume. By all means read your Kindle on the beach. But also sit on top of a mountain and write or paint or whatever it is you do to nurture your creative side.

If you never drink, have a frosty beer on a patio. If you drink too much, then go for a swim instead. If you’re an introverted hermit, find an open space and fly a kite - look up into the blue sky instead of looking down all the time. But seek the shade of a quiet forest if you’re a gregarious sun worshipper.

Kids - I’m talking to you now. Have fun going outside to play Pokémon GO, but don’t forget to look up and smile at that pretty girl or handsome boy walking down the street. Also, don’t look for pokémons in sacred places, like Holocaust Museums. You have better sense than that - it isn’t up to the game creators to police your bad behaviour.

So, I guess that’s all I have to say this month. Let me take the opportunity to wish you all a glorious summer. Thanks as always for stopping by - I will see you in August.

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