How the pandemic made me rediscover the outside world
By Craig Allan, Staff Writer
The pandemic has led to a world of closures—restaurants, community centres, and entertainment venues. And while some of these places (like restaurants) are reopening, the world still feels like it is in the midst of rebooting. With months on end of nothing to do, I struggled to find things to occupy my time in these doldrum times. However, with the sun coming out more and the weather getting better, I realized that now may be a good time to reacquaint myself with nature. While the stores may close, nature never does.
I first started with the animals outside of my home. Being stuck inside all day has left me with a lot of time to look out my window. Doing so, I was amazed by all the activity happening on my front lawn. Orioles pecking into the ground, crows flying about, and squirrels scurrying across the street to get into my neighbour’s bird feeder. The highlight though, was a couple of orange tweety birds (canaries) that had built a nest in a nearby bush. Their tweets were so cute.
I then decided to get out and take in this nature away from my house. For 18 years I have lived behind a greenbelt that borders the Coquitlam River, but I have rarely gone through there. I ended up finding a whole new section of the trail I had never been to before. It had waterfalls, areas near the river, and beautiful sightlines. Considering my future will likely consist of living in a small apartment with my only exposure to nature being a nearby park where dogs go to do their business, I really should make it my goal to go through this forest as much as I can.
One day when walking through the forest, I stepped over this long thing that kind of looked like black liquorish. As I stepped over it, I saw it wriggle. I jumped back in fear. Turns out it was a snake! I didn’t know what kind of snake it was, and I have not been able to find out since. (Though it may have been a common garter snake—the most widespread snake in Canada.) It was small (probably no bigger than a pencil), black with white lines, and it had a worm in its mouth as it slinked off the trail. I had never seen a snake in the wild before, so it was a thrill!
With so much nature to explore, I decided I wanted to branch out farther from my house. I have a lot of parks around me with lakes and pathways so I thought it might be a good idea to pack a lunch and enjoy the world. So, I would go to the park with a lunch and just sit and watch the world. It was much nicer than simply eating at my kitchen table or inside my car. One memorable lunch consisted of me going to Rocky Point Park in Port Moody, ordering from Pajo’s Fish and Chips, and eating it while overlooking the ocean. Doing things like that got me more in tune with the world around me. I really appreciated the beauty of the park as I ate in the sun with a cool breeze—making it comfortable—or the beauty of eating those flaky fish and chips with the accompanying smell of the salty ocean air. I’ve experienced so much more, from the buzzing of bees to pollinate the flowers blooming with colour, to the woodpeckers tapping Morse code on every tree. Nature is always open, and it can have some interesting surprises.