When I transferred to my current school in Ladner, I had lofty goals of commuting to work, by bicycle, along the Boundary Bay dyke. I wish I could report that I was a biking machine with the fortitude of an Ironman triathlete, but I wasn’t. However, I was struck, on the few autumn and spring mornings that I did ride, by the peacefulness of it all. There was something very mystical and calming about being out there in the early morning before the chaos of the day began. Not that I was alone. There were lots of people around, and most of them seemed happy. By the time I arrived at school, I had exchanged “Good mornings” with a dozen or so strangers, and I felt energized. I wondered whether or not my experiences were typical.
Most mornings in the summer, I get up with my husband at 6 a.m. We have breakfast together before he goes off to work. Many of my friends think I’m crazy, but I have trouble sleeping any later, and it gives me a reasonable excuse to have an afternoon nap. On Monday morning I decided to go for a walk down on the dyke. I wanted to be there on a non-work day when I wasn’t on a schedule.
In the hour and a half that I spent moseying along the trail to 64th Avenue and back, I encountered fifteen cyclists, twelve dog walkers, three runners, five walkers and one Corporation of Delta employee. I neglected to count the dogs, but considering that most people had more than one pooch, I’d say it was about twenty. The dogs were carefree, yet well behaved. Most people were friendly and receptive to exchanging greetings. They had an aura of happiness and energy about them. Amazingly, out of all those people, only one person was plugged into an electronic device.
In spite of the others, I felt very attuned to my environment. There was nothing to do, but observe and absorb. The sun was streaming through the clouds; the tall grasses were blowing in the wind. I saw a bunny bounding through the potato fields. The sounds of the songbirds were first and foremost, but off in the distance, I could occasionally hear the traffic on the highway. The tide was high, but on its way out. Then there is the smell of the ocean. When you live here, you become so used to it. It is only when you are away, that you realize it isn’t there.
I am not often surprised, but I made a discovery that delighted me. It is called the John Deere cutout. It is a place to stop and rest. It is a place to water your dog. It is a place to pause and reflect. In the plastic container attached to the table, there is a journal. I spent a long time sitting and reading through it. Most of the entries are an appreciation of this special place, a celebration of the gift of nature.
Our lives have become so busy and so scheduled that we are stretched too thinly. We need to practise mindfulness. We need to make time to enjoy the beauty of our surroundings. The people, who walk, cycle or run on the dyke, know this. The next time you need to clear your head, make your way down to the Boundary Bay dyke access in Beach Grove, and share in the magic.