I wake up early this morning, which isn't hard. The comfort level of sleeping in the half reclined driver's seat of a Sunfire is fairly low, and I'm used to waking up at 3:45 a.m in a half panic of what to make for camp breakfast, weeks after plant has ended. I live lifetimes while the world sleeps, me and the fisherwoman on the seawall who casts her line out into the oncoming tide again and again and again. After a few days outside of Merritt, camped in a silent campground in the lower Nicola, a night spent parked in Stanley Park is foreign. The largest city I've been in since April is Vernon, a pretty benign Guelph sized city of sports bars and fast food strips where we go from the orchard to devour chicken wings and splurge on cider at Monashees.
I go to Motion Notion a few days prior with some plant/picking friends, having forgotten how sleazy and grimy music festivals/raves are. We're partied out and head back to bed in the shared tent shortly after midnight and lie there together one last time playing 'Fuck, marry, kill' and listening to a baby wailing somewhere in the vicinity, audible even over the bass that reverberates through our bones and hearts and the piercing airhorn stylings of Neon Steve. "I wonder if that's what he wears, like, all the time," I say. "To the grocery store even." Ravers I knew back in the day possessed a certain level of commitment to the aesthetic and fun fur leg warmers, platform boots, huge pink hair and excessive kandi bracelets were not unusual everyday fashion. Now, alone for the first time in months, it's a pleasant surprise to be able to find a friend in the city and go out for a few beers. A treeplanter, of course. "The world's not getting smaller, the family's getting bigger."
I spend some time walking around Stanley Park and it's so early its just me and some seagulls that skulk around conspiratorially, holding their black eyes on me as they scuttle away. There's the odd cyclist, a single ambitious runner, and the fisherwoman. The tide's coming in rapidly and I'm startled by Carnival Splendor, a cruise ship that rolls silently in with the rising waters, bearing an uncanny resemblance to the highrises on the city shore. In the reeking Pacific waters, a seal peers up at me with its sad sea-dog face before bobbing under, not to reappear. My startled cry of "Seal!" may have scared it off, or maybe the oncoming boat traffic that has materialized out of nowhere. I miss the cathedral silence of N'kwala, where even the river is quiet. City quiet, in the small hours of the morning, is different- there's a constant electric hum, a dull background white noise that I'm no longer accustomed to, the metallic rattle of cars on Lion's Gate bridge.
I wish I had some photos to share with you, but my car charger isn't working and I need to find a Tim Horton's to indulge in a steeped tea (and more importantly charge said phone) before heading to Nanaimo to look at a van. While currently technically homeless and unemployed, the potential van has a bed in the back and ample storage space and is roughly the size of my first shitty bachelor apartment in downtown Toronto. I'm not totally concerned about job prospects yet as something always materializes and my cost of living is extremely low, particularly if I snag this old Econoline and make it home. Horse farms, kitchens, WWOOFing, apple picking, barista, bakery; these are all viable and ample options.
Another fisherman has joined the woman on the seawall and she's annoyed that he has almost instantly pulled up a catch and delivered it into his bucket. She glares at him as she reels her line in without the same methodical zen she possessed earlier. He's packing up his folding chair and reel and I think it's time for me to go, too. I've got a ferry schedule to figure out and some more downtown Vancouver driving to tackle and a Tim Horton's location to track down.