Wild Vancouver nights

Black bear near the Seymour forestLast night I went for another run and skinny dip in the Seymour River. This time I went down the Twin Bridges trail, which is closed for trail work. I felt worried as I ran down the trail and saw that they are widening it and gravelling it. The sign said they would be replacing the bridge as well. I was worried that they were planning to allow vehicular traffic on this wild woody trail, bringing noise and air pollution to disturb the magnificent stillness of the forest. I was also concerned that the traffic would disturb the wildlife. And that this would be one more enroachment on a wonderful wild place that we are fortunate to enjoy near the heart of Vancouver—it’s just an 11 minute drive to the forest and river, from my house in East Van.

I thought about the arguments I would make against this work they are doing. That we need wild, untouched places. We evolved as a species among other animals in the wilderness, and we need wild places to go to. In fact, we need the wild places to be there even if we don’t go to them! I worried about this for most of my run, and noted the web site and email address to use to raise my concerns.

The site says:

Twin Bridges Replacement Project  The first bridge to cross the Seymour River was built in 1907-08 and was dismantled in 1992. It carried a water main across the river and provided east-west access for pedestrians. A second bridge was built in 1926 and is the only bridge remaining on the site. This bridge will be removed and replaced this summer and will thus continue to serve as an important southerly crossing for both utility operations and public recreation.

Huh. That sounds pretty innocuous, but are they going to allow general traffic on the trail? I will still need to check this out by contacting them.

So after I memorized the web address and decided to follow up on my concerns, I was nearing the end of my run and I stopped to give Reiki to two of my favourite trees near the top of the Homestead Trail. I was worried that these two friends might be cut down, the way that a whole stretch of trees had been lower down on the Twin Bridges trail. It had hurt my heart to see the trees gone, laying as stripped logs beside the road.

As I gave Reiki to the two trees that I have often visited with and used to stretch against, I heard a twig breaking. I thought it must be a cyclist, though that didn’t really make sense since it was almost dark. I turned back onto the main trail, and guess what I saw… A black bear loping across the trail! What a blessing. What a confirmation that these woods are precious and I must do what I can to help protect them. As I paused by the path, looking in the direction where he had gone, I heard bear rustling around in the nearby underbrush, and sent some Reiki to him too. I was so happy to have this brief encounter with bear people.

When I got back to Lynn Valley Road and started the drive home, another magical visitation occurred as a long-tailed weasel crossed the road in front of me and then disappeared into the woods. And as I turned onto the road leading to the freeway entrance I smelled skunk. What an amazing city, to have so much beauty, with the buildings and people and machinery all coexisting with the awesome natural world that cradles Vancouver.

To top off the evening, the Vancouver International Fireworks were happening when I got home, and I did my post-run yoga on the deck overlooking the Burrard Inlet, watching the fireworks erupting over the city, and the stars emerging overhead. Wild Vancouver night!

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