We spent a few days in the City of Vancouver last week. After visiting family...a truly wondrous time,where we all reconnected our souls...business called for Graham.
We stayed at the Bayshore Inn, on the twentieth floor. The panoramic view of Stanley Park, the Yacht Club and marina, the Mountains and the Ocean were what my heart needed, after leaving the family. Parting from them is not easy for me...and I was in search of solace.
I had been away too long from Vancouver and its Spirit. I lived here in the sixties, and a very different City it was. My landmarks are no longer there, having met the wrecking ball long ago. The buildings that survive are swallowed up in the long, tunnel like streets of a very large and vibrant City.
But the energy I met, as I walked along Robson Street, is a hard, driving energy...a very materialistic one...and I noticed many, many tired people on the streets I visited. It is a jungle of people intent upon their next appointment, their next payment, their jobs...the practical and logical sides of their lives. I found the energy draining me as well, shielded though I was.
Whereas, years ago, when I was young, I found it enervating, bright and bubbly. On my own for the first time, I found the City liberating, exciting, with opportunities around every corner. And there were many like me, young adults recently emerging from the family cocoon. There was a sense of community, a sprightliness in our sure knowledge...the knowledge of the young...that we could change the World.
But time passes; change has inevitably and inexorably marched on, putting its mark on everything. Me, included.
So many glitzy things! Tourists, piling bags upon bags, buying yet more souvenirs or shirts, loved the Spirit of the place, which urged them on to buy more and more. Bored salespeople, who greeted with forced enthusiasm for every visit, watched with glazed eyes, their minds on the hour.
I wandered along, trying to find the sense of community I had once felt, in this area. I found some hideaways, tucked into the corners of lots or buildings, where I remembered gathering, so long ago. But the community I was once a part of seems distant, the doors closed to me now.
I found a bit of it in a Whole Foods Market. The people who shop and work there are genuinely passionate about the products offered. And I love that. At the end of a long day of walking amidst goods I had no need for, wandering in this store restored my spirits.
I bought tea and bread and licorice. The smell of the bakery/cafe was heavenly... the whole foods goodness baking in those ovens wafted everywhere. And the people, as young and cool as they were, were friendlier than their compatriots who struggled so hard to be just so...these young adults were already following a different path.
On the way home, I mused about the way I felt about Vancouver, today, at my age. I realize the Forest is my home...and always has been, even in the years I spent away from it. I find the same sense of community here in the Cariboo I once felt for a section of Vancouver.
People lived sustainable lives here, long before it became popular. Vegetables are grown, hunters hunt and fisherman fish, throughout the different seasons. Wildlife is abundant, berries of all kinds are found growing wild everywhere.
Life moves at a slower pace here in the Interior. The strong, competitive, driving force of energy I met on a Vancouver street is not usual here. People are extremely hospitable, going many miles further in their aid to each other than warranted. Even clerks in big chain stores have a smile and a story.
I believe I like that. I don't find the door closed here in the Cariboo.
When we arrived home, to relaxed, exercised dogs and a yard which had grown at least a foot of grass and weeds, to a Forest in which all the deciduous Leaves had opened fully, enclosing us in a curtain of green, I gave thanks to Spirit, who knew exactly what I needed, at this time in my life.
Can there be anything more awesome than Sun filtering through young, tender leaves, than hearing the rush of Wind moving through the soft greenery, making a sound like waves upon a shore? It is mesmerizing watching the Leaves dancing with Wind.
Mesmerizing and meditative. Perhaps this is why I have always found a Forest when I am in crisis. After the crisis has passed, I will seek Ocean to wash the garbage left behind away. But in the Forest, Trees listen, Shrubs shiver in sympathy, Wildflowers lift their heads intently, upon hearing my woes.
Nature, in a Forest, offers comfort...and solid grounding.
A City's competitive energy and drive can't match that.