Having lived in Vancouver for six months now, I’ve had a chance to experience many wonderful West Coast life experiences. The seawall, Kits Beach, Whistler weekends, backcountry skiing, hip-hop nights on Granville Street, cocktail hour at the Pacific Rim, and the list goes on. But when I’m asked what my favourite thing about Vancity is, the answer is simple: It’s so GREEN here!
As a trail runner I spend a higher amount of time than most in Vancouver’s ‘green’ areas. The trails near Grouse Mountain are absolutely stunning. The tree canopy in Pacific Spirit Park is a quick escape from the heat of the beach. And Deep Cove is surrounded by a maze of trails that appear to never end. I often feel like someone who’s never seen a mountain before appearing at Mount Everest for the first time: wonder, awe, amazement are all accurate descriptors for how I feel about some of the terrain here!
And yes, it’s Vancouver and therefore yes, and it rains a lot. How else do you think it gets so green? I’ve found that on the days it’s pouring rain the best place to run is a trail (any trail) under the protection of a giant vast canopy of trees. A rainforest, if you will. There are no cars splashing you with dirty water as they drive by. No icy patches to contend with. It’s a full-circle green situation and nothing a pair of luon shorts and Gore-tex jacket can’t handle.
I had a conversation with a yoga instructor once about meditation. Mainly, how hard I find it at the end of a yoga practice. The second someone says “quiet your mind” I start thinking about painting my baseboards a new colour or why I should invent a coffee press that keeps coffee warm once pressed (don’t steal that idea – I’m going to check if there’s a copyright on it). My instructor told me something that completely opened my mind about meditation: “when you try, you do.” A few minutes later, talking about a long run I did that lasted 9 hours, she asked me what I think about during those runs. And I replied, “nothing.” She pointed out to me that those hours in the green, surrounded by trees, away from pavement – THAT is where I meditate. It blew my mind a little bit to hear that.
So thank you, green lush beautiful Vancouver – you’ve finally taught me how to meditate