I’m Driftwood In Both Nature And City
My favorite part of the day was visiting Spanish Bank during low tide–the only time where I was actually in nature. I suppose I have a better affinity with just being in a natural place. It’s just totally different when you’re in a city filled with people. Much of the time, I feel very odd and not in synch with everyone else. Going against the flow, slightly out of step. Out in the clean, open air, I’m more settled and centered. It sounds zen, but it’s true. There’s no one else trying to fight for my attention and time.
Some people think that the only good weather is sunny weather. That isn’t true. There’s something mystical about a gray-silver sky overhead and a bit of drizzle. On Spanish Bank, a beach not too far from the University of British Columbia, the skyline is dominated by the snow-covered mountains cloaked in a veil of clouds. At low tide, I walked out onto the exposed seabed. Vancouver city is only a distant block of man-made steel, merely a strange blot on the mountainscape. Under my feet were broken shells dropped from the air by hungry seagulls wanting to get at the nutritious soft mollusk inside. Driftwood scattered on the sand stripped oddly by the retreating waves and dotted by the airholes of clams and mussels lucky enough to have buried themselves before the tide went out.
Closer to shore were rocks encrusted with purple barnacle and avian scavengers. Dogs and their owners played fetch–an innocent, carefree game. When the tide started coming in, the waters glided an inch over my worn hiking boots and I felt my socks dampening. The only mar were the obvious tourists cowering under umbrellas, afraid of the spitting sky. They tramped along a man-made path, their eyes ahead, away from the water.
Today was also the day of an Indian (South Asian) harvest festival, Vaisakhi Day. From 49th, Main, and Marine–Vancouver’s Indian district–white tent booths were set up and food (as well as other things) were handed out free for all. One of the local papers estimated that 80,000 would be attending the festival and the accompanying parade. Smells of fragrant Indian cuisine–spicy, pungent–tinged the air, whetting the palate. Floats and participants trudged up Main in a terrific, almost stifling crowd. I was a piece of debris caught up in a pleasant cacophony of brilliant colors and energetic Indian music. Part of the parade stopped for a bit and I was able to observe a ritualized fighting dance performed to the background of rhythmic drumming.
I ended the day by visiting Granville Island. So I’ll also end this post with a few pictures from its very crowded and colorful marketplace.