Monday, November 12, 2012


Dear All,

Please go for a walk somewhere outside where you are close to the natural world. Spend some time doing nothing - just enjoy the world around you. Then choose a phenomenon or object or being that you feel close to and observed him/her/it for a while.  Try to define it/him/her in an unique way. Then write an interesting narrative about that phenomenon/thing/being or about your encounter with it/him/her. Share you definition and/or your narrative with the rest of us if you wish.

Please repeat your walk whenever you feel stressed! You will encounter many amazing beings....



  1. The streets in Dunbar are lined with trees. Large oak trees, that stretch their branches up to the heavens as if though the top most branches can reach its heavenly gates. There is a tree in Dunbar. It is one of the only trees with leaves still on it, although it stands much lower than the others. Its branches stretch nowhere near the gates of heaven. The bark is gnarled and worn and looks somewhat forgotten and large patches of moss cover the bottom. However, if you take a minute to glance upwards, the leaves are a vibrant orange. It almost looks as if it is ablaze, glowing in the gloom of leafless trees. It is not forgotten at all. The leaves are golden against the overcast and grey Vancouver sky. The entire street is illuminated by the halo that surrounds the top of the tree. Even if it is much shorter than the others, it is not unworthy. In fact, its size and flame colored brilliance make it unique and beautiful. The branches spread wide instead of tall, like a haunting melody stretching out its song. The leaves sway methodically in the wind, like the bows of a hundred violinists. It’s branches stretch across the walkway, creating a covering-a protective covering, as if to shelter travellers from the harsh and unyielding world. It is perfect in all its loneliness, beautiful in all its loneliness.
    I’ve never noticed this tree until today. Usually I just walk under it in passing, on my way to ‘important’ things. I’m almost always in a rush, hurrying too and fro, juggling a busy schedule. But today, I took the time to stop and to noti

  2. Edmonds skytrain station is where my journey begins. Following the bike path outside of the station I hop on my longboard (walking is much too slow for me) and begin my ride through nature.
    The ride begins on a paved trail in the forest filled with curves and green as far as the eye can see. It's peaceful and serene with the only sounds being the birds and my wheels rolling on the ground. I stop at a point where the path meets another. It is the crossing between a school-ground and nature. It is where humanity meets mother earth. There is a tree on the corner with branches as long and as wide as the fork in the path. It covers the entire area acting as a protector of those who wish to venture from their busy buzzing schoolyard to the tranquil nature path. If Gaia ever took hold on earth as a singular form it would be a tree like this. Completely and utterly at peace with its surrounding, fulfilling its duty with nothing in return. So strong and quiet with no one to question its presence. Cracks in the pavement show where the tree has reminded you its there but not big enough to be obnoxious about it. I have ridden past it many times but today I did not and today I found some greater inner clarity.

  3. Raincouver,that's what they call it. Being a commuting student, it's easy to build a distaste and resentment toward nature. Waking up every morning in the cold,and having to walk through all the rain can become quite deterring. Just before I become consumed by the frustrations of transit and wet weather every night on the sky train ride home, I see the glare of the city night lights of Vancouver against the night sky.It's views like that one, that actually make me look forward to commuting rather than being stuck inside of a campus dorm studying. This leads me to my next point. In recent years, especially in the summertime, the number of people I see at parks and outside are decreasingly quite rapidly. The superficiality of technology and appliances has spoiled today's youth, and kept them from learning that life's true riches lie outside.

    1. This topic reminds me of an episode of one my favorite childhood shows. The episode involved a character getting injured while playing outdoors, and then he was too afraid to ever go outside again. A short clip is here :

      The short clip actually conveys a bit of irony and was intended as sarcasm. The episode actually motivated children to go outside and explore rather than live life inside of a box, or should i say indoors.

    2. I’m a commuting student myself, and I have to agree, it’s not very fun when you have to wait for the bus in the cold and the rain with all the school stuff you had to bring with you that day.
      But I agree that it’s sad more people don’t go outside anymore. We are spoiled and I think being outside is important, especially for children who now spend all their free time playing video games or watching TV. In retrospect, I’m glad I was forced to be outside so much as a child, though I certainly didn’t always like to back then. Of course, looking back, I remember having so much fun being outside when I wanted to be outside. But what I remember hating was being forced to go outside at school during recess or lunch when it was cold and pouring rain.
      Still, I think we should spend more time outside, especially when it’s nice out.

    3. I like rain as much as anyone else in Vancouver would. It pretty much keeps us indoors and forces us to study -especially during the exam periods in December and April. During the summer months, when the sun comes out, it is time to have fun (for most).
      I agree with your comment about the decreasing number of people in parks. Even though there is a park right behind my home, I hardly ever take the time to go out for a stroll. Mainly it is because the park is relatively small and in every way you look, you can houses or roads rather than the typical aspects of nature. Since now that I have a Upass, I can explore more of the nature around Greater Vancouver. :)

  4. No matter how advanced technology becomes, it will never be able to substitute or replace the fullest and greatest experiences of life that can only be "lived"(for lack of a better word) outside. It may seem quite lackluster that I've chosen to write about a view from a sky train ride, but I think it shows how inspirational, and motivating nature can be. The city lights and towering building of the lower mainland appear very inviting and innocent in a way. It's like all the hustle and bustle and stress of getting ready in the morning, or completing assignments during the day seems to disappear when the train zooms through that segment of track between metro town and Joyce Collingwood.

  5. The door of a hospital is always a fascinating place. In a class, one hour might be a simple lecture or an analysis of a text but seating at the branch near the UBC hospital, I experience more than a simple lesson. I see parents caring their new born baby out from the hospital. I see child holding their father out from the hospital. I see ambulance bringing people who are injured from a car accident into the hospital. I see people who are walking out the door in tears. Just an hour, I see birth, death, love, and miracle. I actually feel every breath I have and I feel what is life by seeing how it is started and how it is ended. Again, I know that I cannot simply live, and I need to do something so that I will not disgraceful the life that God gave me.

  6. While walking through the trails at the base of Mount Seymour, I got to experience nature at it's fullest. It's picturesque beauty still a vivid image in my mind. These trails that are close enough to be my backyard always send me in a different direction than before. Every journey becomes an adventure and I recently found myself by an isolated pool offsetting the Seymour River. This pool, so quiet and peaceful, quickly gained all my attention. Every summer the water would lower and, come winter, the water would return, continuing the ongoing cycle. But no matter what happened in the outside world, the pool would always be present. Calm and stress free. It didn't worry about education or a career and it didn't dwell on the past or focus on the future. It was, and always will be, just a pool. It will always be just a pool, as part of a river, hidden in the forest, on the bottom of a mountain. Although filled with insects, minnows, birds, plants and various other life forms, it will still be just a pool. A leaf may fall in from a nearby tree or a passing dog might stop to drink its water, but, at the end of the day, it is still a pool. As it was and always will be. Calm and stress free.

  7. My nature pheonomenon was of one that had always been familiar to me. It is my usual route home. It is the casual walk by the park that I always had to take. Spending a few minutes at the park, I admired the surroundings and all the tiny life forms with it. I stood at the center of the park under my purple umbrella. It was the perfect opportunity for me to be alone.

    I watched the green forms of bushes, trees and grass soak up life. They looked more outstanding in the gloomy, wet weather, almost close to magnificent. There were piled up wet leaves raked on the side of a maple tree. The pile consisted of various colours. Each leaf colour symbolized their lifespan on the tree but the season has fulfilled all their faith to part the tree.

    Each maple leaf were wispy on all three of its edges. A closer look showed me the different pigments of the same colour for each leaf. Their original crisp form were still prevalent from its deformed structure due to the water.

    I smelled the fresh and moist cold air, even though its coldness is slightly painful to the nose. An ambivalent feeling of like and dislike of the natural frosty air took over my relaxed state, yet the sounds of the trickling rain would always find its way to calm my senses.

    I think the highlight of my nature walk was my observation of how the changing season affects living things. They are able to adapt quickly to the process of change due to their nature. I, personally, do not like the rain but I felt that my specific nature walk was surprisingly quite relaxing, almost therapeutic.

  8. The truest form of raw beauty is nature. Raw sunshine shining off green leaves and limbs of trees. A crisp breeze slithering through bushes. Nature is just great. Or would have been great if I had a chance to experience it. My main focus was on dodging the onslaught of rain drops hailing from the heavens. Just as I started my nature walk through Stanley Park, the skies opened up and drenched me from head to toe. The teachers used to play a trick on us in elementary school and say to go outside and count how many raindrops you can dodge. This would get the entire class outside twirling, dipping, rolling and attempting to dodge the falling drops. Obviously each of us would make up random numbers and the next person would always have a number that was larger than yours until shouts of infiniti and infiniti and beyond could be heard. The walk through Stanley Park brought back some fond memories of the past and even though I couldn't sit on a park bench and take in the beauty of the forest, the experience was a good one. I will be sure to partake in a nature walk again and hopefully the weather will be on my side.

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  10. I’ve been able to see many scene and many beauties of nature. Rain is only the most beautiful and relief giving moment in the time of dolefulness. I can’t forget the rainy day that I spent with my friends some days ago.

    I still remember each of its moment, and I don’t think that I would forget that fascinating moments. That day I came from attending my classes, back to my home and was much tired because of continuous full length papers. I was too much depressed because of my performance, which was good but not excellent, even after continuous and hard struggle. I came back to home after relaxing few minutes, washed my face with addition to ablution and took a bath. Even the water was too much hot that even after taking bath I didn’t feel too much cold. That day was a summer day with burning heat.

    After bath, I offered prayer and ate something. When I was free, I really thought, as if it would have rained. That thought was too much adorable that was enjoying a cold water rain with no more heat. After that I look to the sun with its full light and sky with no clouds, this made my thoughts crushed into the garbage.

    That time, I realized that rain is not just water; rather it is a big relief and a great blessing of “Waheguru” (the Almighty), in the burning heat of summer. The burning heat, hot shinning sun and no clouds in the sky were the proof for no chances of rain.

    Even at that time, I didn’t know why but I still wanting to enjoy the rain, as if it would rain because I’m saying. I shunt off my thoughts and went into my room and started thinking that why is there this much heat and un-reliable time? Why there is no rain and why we are not being able to see the heaven’s most beautiful eyes? And why we are not being able to enjoy the beat part of the beauty?

    Suddenly, it rained and millions of drops of water fell on me. I was smiling and I don’t think anything else. This moment brought a smile on my face, that day. All the heat was gone and I was just thanking God for this blessing with a feeling of gratitude. All that time it was looking like that now even the earth was thirsty for water, flowery buds were waiting for many season to came and then to bloom.

    I’ve experienced many other rains in my life but it was the most memorable because it came in the need of hour. This rainy day was most memorable for me and after the rain I was able to enjoy even more due to open, dairy, and cold weather while I was seeing the rainbow formed by the rays of the sunlight. Then the fair weather came after the rain which made me to rejoice even more and enjoy life.

  11. Nature is one of the greatest remedies to a stressed out student. Going out into the natural world even when you are not stressed is great too. For the moment, I’d rather stay in the cozy warmth of my home. Snow is great and all, but I’d rather keep all my fingers and toes.
    I find the best time to experience the outdoors is when the temperature is moderate and there is no precipitation. You would not have to worry about losing your coat or losing your umbrella. In my encounters with nature, I spend a lot of time sitting still and observing my surroundings. Pretty much doing nothing. Our everyday lives are busy enough that we do not have to time to do nothing. In the times we do nothing we can get the most done. Our bodies can regain the energy its lost and our minds can reset to begin at full speed. Nature is part of our origin and it can be a great restart button.