“I only went out for a walk and finally concluded to stay out till sundown, for going out, I found, was really going in.”
-John Muir, Founder of The Sierra Club
There are many vantage points from Stanley Park’s Bridle Trail where the city of Vancouver seems almost emptied. Outside of the rhythmic crack of gravel and twigs under my shoes, there are only oversized leaves catching dapples of sunlight and tree limbs that seem to stretch out in an attempt to block out the urban noise. Oftentimes, I’ve spotted a few slugs making their imperilled way across the wide path, even a chipmunk bouncing swiftly up ahead, but mostly the trail is entirely peaceful, a far cry from the city only five minutes away.
For me, for a long time, Stanley Park was little more than a skyline of trees surrounded by the city, however much of a mecca it was. I spent a lot of time running along the seawall after I came to Vancouver in 2006, but it was there my interest stopped. I was the quintessential city girl – all heel and purse, intractable face – and I likely represented the most familiar of archetypes. Though I had little to no interest in the corporate ladder climb or the material things that go along with it, I romanticized city life and had an affinity for the skyscrapers; the flashing lights that scale the sky have long been a sight that has entranced me. It’s in the time since that I have come to realize that most of the things that go on within those towers are not aligned with dreams and their actualization, but rather the persistence of many well-guarded illusions.