It started with a dream:
Last night I dreamt that my girlfriend and I jumped on our catamaran right from the shore, from our house, and took off with amazing windpower across the water.
It was amazing, it was beautiful. We were beaming with smiles. The sky was perfectly clear, the sun was bright and hot, and the wind was perfectly cooling, refreshing.
My girlfriend was steering as I moved about the craft, looking for the best place to hold on and enjoy the ride (seems even in the dream, I knew that I had no experience with water craft)
We bombed along the middle of the water, and within a minute or so, we were at our destination: downtown Vancouver.
This was some romantic version of Vancouver.
For one, the trip between our home and downtown wasn’t coated in rigs and cranes and transport ships, it was open clean water, with nothing but beautiful coastline and other boat owners enjoying the day on the water.
Then it continued with reality:
I awoke and looked outside.
Today the sun is trying desperately to shine through the clouds.
It’s admirable. The weather, considering that it is June 22 today, has been abysmal.
Normally I abhor when people go on and on about the weather, but I realize there is a reason: the weather directly affects us in ways that cannot be denied.
On the few clear, bright, and hot days we’ve had since April, my outlook on EVERYTHING is better. I feel like there is possibility in life. That my dreams are worthwhile pursuits. My body feels energized. I want to do things, I want to explore my physicality, and I want to challenge my mind.
I look around me, and I see the same. People are smiling when it is sunny. There is a bounce in people’s step.
When the sun is shrouded in dark clouds, as it has been for 80% of the days since April, all of those positive possibilities seem like dreams. The thought of challenging myself tires me. Physically exploring myself? That would be a waste of time.
I have traveled to a handful of cities in my life.
In Australia: Sydney, Brisbane, and everywhere in between, Bangkok and beyond in Thailand, all the way through Malaysia to Singapore to Bali, landing in Christchurch, New Zealand, and visiting many cities there, Manchester, London, and Leeds (England), Edinburgh and Glasgow (Scotland), cities in Ireland on a lovely spring road trip, Amsterdam, Chania and all over on Crete, Seattle, Los Angeles, San Fransisco, Santa Cruz and more in the US, and many more in Canada, including Halifax, Toronto, Quebec City, Montreal, Markham, Winnipeg, Edmonton, Calgary, Victoria, and Nanaimo.
The reason I list these to such extent is to prove that I make the following comment from experience, not purely opinion:
if there is anything that I’ve learned, it’s that no one city has everything.
You will always find the city you’re in lacking in some way.
For example, I lived in Manchester for 2 years.
Manchester’s music scene and nightlife is unbelievable. But the city lacks natural beauty and does not foster a positive physical active lifestyle.
Vancouver, which is the city I have lived in for most of my adult life, has so many things that I love: water, beach, music and arts (yes, it’s true, perhaps not as burgeoning as in Montreal or Toronto, but still…), a strong cycling culture (and a mayor who champions it so much he has created many bike lanes in his short 1.5 years in office), and easily one of the healthiest lifestyles in the world, with mostly everyone active in yoga, cycling, running, swimming (5 outdoor pools + 9 indoor), climbing, skiing and snowboarding – you are out of place if you are not active in at least one form of exercise.
Plus the healthy, organic, vegetarian/vegan options abound.
Even for a meat-eater as myself, many times, both at home and at restaurants, I choose vegetarian because there are always delicious options, rather than “the pasta without chicken” as tends to be the case in many cities.
But one thing is sadly disruptive to a happy existence in Vancouver, and it is the weather. For 3/4 of the year, residents put up with the rain.
I know the ceaseless rain is not Mother Nature simply being a pain in the ass; we live in a rainforest. This part of the world is lush with trees and grass, and it grows as it does thanks to the precipitation.
But after 7 or 8 months of rain and the accompanying dark grey clouds, we yearn for clear skies and sun – a little taste of warmth and brightness to recharge us for the coming Autumn.
Usually, the little burst of summer is intense, hot, and, as I said, recharging. I feel like a solar panel battery, not simply wanting, but actually NEEDING the sun and the heat for energy.
By April, I am at critical. I am at the stage of needing power or I’ll go to sleep to preserve my memory contents.
I hate when people complain about the weather.
I don’t think we should complain because even though we may be homo sapiens and we may have a god complex, thinking that we control the universe in the palm of our hands, we must admit that we are just a large colony of ants running amok on a beach ball. We have no right to say it should be sunny or not.
But, in order to exist, we need reason to exist. And if the skies remain dark and grey 12 months a year, how would we find the reasons? Without solar recharge, I fear we wouldn’t.
If I don’t have the equivalent of my ride aboard that glorious catamaran, skirting along the water, glistening from the bright sun’s rays, a beaming smile on my face, then I may shrink into a ball and forget that I’ve fostered some dreams that once had some life.