Monday, February 5, 2018

City Life and Wider Spaces

 I'm finally feeling well enough to have started putting my fitness regime back in place, but with the nearly constant rain we've had, most of the moving has happened indoors. I woke up Friday morning desperate for some expansive natural space, some exposure to what an article in The Globe and Mail last month called "Vitamin Tree."
 So we headed south, through the city, out to where the Fraser River estuary spills out into the Salish Sea.  We crossed that turquoise bridge to Westham Island where here's a wonderful migratory bird sanctuary, the Reifel Bird Sanctuary with wetlands for all manner of waterfowl.  As far as exercise goes, we only put 3.5 kilometres on my iPhone app, but walking the trails through the various habitats worked at other aspects of health -- breathing became deeper, heartbeats slowed, minds settled, stresses fell away. . .
 I thought you might appreciate some of that as well, wherever you're sitting with your computer this Monday morning. . .
 Paul stretched out his arm to point to a hawk in a nearby tree. The chickadees assumed he'd brought them seed and was offering a snack, and he caught at least 20 landings. A huge grey squirrel climbed up a nearby stump, obviously contemplating a leap, but I quickly pushed Pater's arm down to discourage that idea. . .

 So many wood ducks! I love this couple, so striking, their eye makeup . . . .

 These colours -- so wintry, yet warming, somehow, all that tawny texture. . .

Not much warmth in the photo below, but if you've gotta have grey, this is the grey to have, right? That horizon!


 These photos were taken from the observation tower, 10 metres high. . .



 I love the way natural spaces like these offer an expansive view, so restful, but I also love the way they invite me to look more carefully at the smaller details, close-up. . .


 And finally, who doesn't love a rebel?
Hope you enjoyed that nature walk -- I used to be so very spoiled living for so long at the water's edge, with so many big trees on our property, and so many kinds of birds, abundant wildlife -- deer, raccoons, mink, otters. There's ample compensation in the city for having given that up, but some days, the missing gets noisy. . . Luckily, we don't have to go too far before we've left the city behind. (and, as you know if you've been following my Instagram, even right here in the urban centre, wildlife persists -- check out this video of the beaver who lives a ten-minute walk from our condo).

If you haven't yet read my last post -- on solo travel -- I'd urge you to check out the conversation that's formed in the comments section. This is probably my favourite part of writing this blog, the fascinating and lively conversations that sometimes build around a subject, the way we collaborate. I'm planning more posts on the topic and I hope that we will continue to chat about this. For now, I'm just trying to keep up with responding to all your thoughtful  and interesting contributions.

Where do you walk to get your Vitamin Tree? Or just to see some bigger skies than a city offers? Some of you are lucky enough -- as I used to be -- to walk out your back door and be immersed in a more natural world. Many of you perhaps live in suburban spaces with plenty of groomed green space, perhaps not so much left wild. Some of you, like me, are city dwellers and have the local restorative green spaces on speed-dial for those days when you really crave a good hit of Nature.  Which of those describes you? Are you able to scratch your itch for the natural world as often as you'd like? How? Where? I'm listening . . .


27 comments:

  1. I am very fortunate in that I live less than half an hour's trot from the top of a wild moor. From my front door to the windswept tops and astounding views. About the same time in a downwards direction and I can be alongside a beautiful river. Just ten minutes and I am in fields with sheep and little streams. Which reminds me that it is time to get out and about again. Today is the day. Hup!

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    1. You are lucky indeed! Enjoy your jaunt!

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  2. We do have lots of wild places within reach of home . North Yorkshire is not a densely populated area compared to the rest of this small island . Our usual morning dog walk takes us out of our drive , two minutes alongside the often busy road then down a quiet side road leading to a very old bridlepath . It must have been a major route to the city in olden times , we know we cross a buried Roman road on the way but it lies hidden . Our bridlepath used to have large medieval stone slabs laid down in parts twenty years ago but these are now hidden too . It isn’t particularly beautiful , very flat around here ,but there are deer , foxes , hares & lots of bird life . If we walked to the end of the public bridleway we would reach a neighboring village that has an excellent tea shop but we usually turn round halfway . We enjoy the little changes we notice around us each morning , depending on the season & the weather . it’s always nice to meet other walkers but I often think of the travelers of the past , pilgrims , peddlers , drovers, packhorse drivers & civil war soldiers ( maybe even a King or two ) , catching sight of the Minster towers in the distance & realising it was almost journeys end .
    Wendy in York

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    1. I have fond memories of that landscape, having visited my relatives in Middlesbrough, gone out into the surrounding area to visit the haunts of my dad's boyhood. . . and I've stayed with a cousin who lived in Yorkshire Dales Park. Truly, you live in a beautiful part of the world with a rich history.

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  3. Lovely photos-I enjoy learning about far away landscapes and wild life in one's life,too
    Salish sea-it is Hostesses Quaterdeck Cottage sea,too,no?
    When Paul and you were here,I seemed obsessed with our little lakes in the city :-),than there is a Zoo with the wood (we used to walk there from home some ten years ago),my orchard is in the woods,ten minutes drive......
    Dottoressa

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    1. Yes, the same sea that Hostess refers to.
      I was so glad you pointed out those natural spaces within Zagreb -- so important for all of us who don't have our own garden space...
      Your orchard must be very special. . .

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  4. I walk on the dyke in Richmond. I particularly like the stretch from 2 Road to Finn Slough. If the rain stops, I would like to get in the habit of walking in the park after school one day a week. When it opens again, you might like to visit Westham Island Herb Farm. In the autumn, they have huge displays of squashes and gourds.

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    1. We used to walk on the dykes in Pitt Meadows, years ago, but I'm not sure I've ever done that in Richmond. I love that kind of landscape, opening up, with all the wetlands.

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  5. Ah...three hours ago I wrote and sent a comment, checking I am not a robot. Then, it disappeared. Just wrote another comment. Same thing. This is the fourth time in a few weeks it has happened.
    I am sending telepathy in response to your latest, lovely post and photos. I trust it will reach you soon.
    A.in London

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    1. I'm so sorry this is happening, A. I know I once I had your email address, but I can't find it now (nor remember your full name). If you want, you could Copy the comment before you try to send it -- and then if it disappears, simply email it to me (fsproutATgmailDOTcom) and I'll post it for you. We want your voice in these conversations!

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    2. I have the same issue, A in London, when I comment from my iPhone, but happily the robot doesn't take against me when I do so from my laptop. Maybe you will find the same?

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  6. I'm lucky to have lots of open countryside not far from where I live and a relatively quiet green area and river just a few minutes walk away. Given the opportunity I walk everywhere in preference to going in the car. I simply love to walk ... whether in a busy city or (preferably!) in the countryside, mountains or by the sea!
    Rosie

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    1. Me too! I'd much rather walk than take a car, although obviously that's not always practical. And you are very lucky to have that countryside so close by.

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  7. There is nothing, nothing like a vista to calm the mind. I have been feeling the need myself, just recently, to get over to the ocean.

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  8. It's so lovely to live in a place where wild expanses like the bird sanctuary are within easy reach of the city. Nature is so restorative.

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    1. I know you're very lucky in the proximity of wild spaces...

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  9. Love "Vitamin Tree." Circumstances have left me lacking in Vitamin Tree, and I long for it soonest. It's extraordinary how even your photos are relaxing. Evidently, my lizard brain doesn't know the difference, though I do need the smells and the dirt under my feet. Thank you for taking me along on your excursion.

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    1. Isn't that a good term?
      And you're very welcome. I have read that even looking at screen photos of nature effects positive physiological response. But yes, even better with smell and tactile engagement.

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  10. I love that term Vitamin Tree, or trees is my case. I walk down our driveway and follow our road, turn right....very little traffic. In about ten minuites, I see Vancouver Island and a busy little ferry crossing back and forth. This morning I spied snowcapped peaks and heard ravens calling. I wore sunglasses and carried an umbrella, because it is the Wet Coast, and the weather does change rapidly.
    Ali

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    1. You are so lucky! And I'm finding the same thing lately, better bring both the sunglasses and the umbrella -- I often need both within an hour.

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    2. I’d like to join you on that walk Ali , whatever the weather .
      Wendy in York

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  11. Just down our street is a trail spur into Forest Park. Have you been in it during any of your visits to Portland? Considered by many to be America's premier urban forest, Forest Park is one of the largest urban forests in the U.S. It has more than 80 miles of soft-surface trails, fire lanes and forest roads which offer the opportunity not only to explore a gorgeous forest but also to views overlooking downtown Portland, Northwest Portland and the convergence of the Columbia and Willamette Rivers. Daily hikes in Forest Park, with our dog/s, have been part of our lives for the last 32 years. The proximity of Forest Park to our home is the number one obstacle to the "downsizing" that, sooner or later, we must execute...and which almost certainly will require a move far from this park. (Sources: my own experience and http://www.forestparkconservancy.org/forest-park/) Not sure what we'll do without a daily dose of what this glorious park offers us, Leslie

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    1. Sorry to say I've never made it out of the city when we visit, probably because my husband is always busy during the day and there's enough to do on foot from the hotel. But it sounds wonderful, and I hope I get to it someday. I can easily understand why it will be a huge wrench moving away from such a treasure.

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  12. Thank you, Frances and thank you, Ceri in Bristol. Good ideas, both. Shall give them a try.
    ♡A.in London

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  13. Oh how I love your marvelous photos which capture such a sense of space and quiet beauty. We have wild and natural areas near by, a short car ride, but I don't go out to them often enough. By myself I tend to just walk around my manicured neighborhood. Perhaps that is another horizon I need to conquer as the weather warms.

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    1. I've been the same way, quite honestly, since we've moved here, but needing to get out a bit more. . . glad you enjoyed the photos.

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I'd love to hear your response to my post. Agree, disagree, even go off on a tangent, I love to know you're out there, readers. Let's chat, shall we? I apologize, though, for the temporary necessity of the Word Verification -- spam comments have been tiresomely numerous lately, and I'm hoping to break that pattern.

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