Reifel Bird Sanctuary, May 1, 2021

The sun was out and the birds were in abundance.

Crowd restrictions meant we went surprisingly long stretches without seeing anyone else, so it felt very tranquil at times. Except for the constant honking of geese in the distance.

The gallery:

A trip to the George C. Reifel Migratory Bird Sanctuary

Nic and I went to the Reifel Bird Sanctuary on Saturday and I took a bunch of pictures with my iPhone 8…and my 12-year-old Canon Powershot SD1100. Why did I have my Canon digital camera with me? Because the battery on my iPhone has gone bonkers and barely lasts an hour. I also took a power bank with me and pretty much kept it tethered to the phone.

As a result, I have a lot of duplicate photos from both devices and the Canon held up quite well, given its age.

I also didn’t dress for the weather. I would have been fine, as it was clear and sunny and not too cold–around 8C–but once the wind picked up, I became jealous of the ducks and their down.

We didn’t see any snow geese, which was a bit of a bummer, but more reason to go back, especially since I now know to wear 15 layers.

Photos of the Day, Late Edition

These were taken over the past few days, but I was too lazy/indolent to post them right away.

Fun fact about the first shot: I used Pixelmator Photo on my iPad to remove an out of focus telephone wire from the sky. Yes, this image is not true to life.

But it looks nice.

These will probably grow into horribly sour crab apples or something. I’m not a fruitologist, so don’t quote me on that.

Delicious* Rowan berries!

* If eaten uncooked, the parasorbic acid will actually cause indigestion or, if you’re especially lucky, kidney damage. Per Wikipedia. (I didn’t sample any.)

Nature walk: Stress reliever, stress inducer

I booked today off and went for a walk in the afternoon because it was pleasant out and I like pleasant things.

In The Truth Equation Neil Pasricha suggests doing one of three activities every day, for 20 minutes:

  • write in a journal
  • read fiction
  • walk among trees

Each activity is supposed to put you in a positive frame of mind, with the tree one working apparently because trees secretly spray you with feel-good chemicals or something. You know, like the spores in that episode of the original Star Trek, but les evil.

I ended up doing a full loop of Burnaby Lake and am a little pooped as a result, because I am soft and flabby. But it was nice.

And unnerving.

It was nice because the weather was warm but not hot, the breeze gentle and inviting. I stopped and took pictures (see below). It was everything Pasricha had promised in his book.

But of course, we are in the middle of a pandemic right now, so there are still signs all over asking everyone to stay 2 meters apart, don’t sneeze into each other’s faces and so on.

For stretches, especially the first few km, it was fine. There were few people out–it was a workday and most people, despite all the closures, are still working. But it is also a long weekend and others like me were obviously getting an early start. All good.

So, the walk was relaxing. Except when other people came by, because of the ones who passed me, there was exactly one small group of three that made an actual effort to make as much space as possible between them and me. Everyone else just walked straight by, as if we weren’t in the middle of a pandemic.

Realistically, the chances of catching the virus while walking past someone outdoors is exceedingly small. I had no real need to be concerned. But it still created a tension that began to wear on me as I progressed around the lake. I even diverted temporarily onto the Freeway trail at one point just because I knew there would be few if any people walking it (there were a few cyclists, it turned out). But the Freeway trail is not very scenic and, being next to the freeway, is noisy. It’s the kind of trail you walk on if you have to, not because you want to. I returned to the Burnaby Lake loop at the second opportunity to do so and finished my walk.

Overall, it was fine. I get it, people are tired of walking on virtual eggshells, and of being cooped up all the time and being asked to stay home. Parks are one of the few public places that are open and available. But if what I saw today is an indication of how seriously people are treating physical distancing right now–well, let me say that I won’t be surprised if we see an uptick in cases in a few weeks.

On a more pleasant note, photos!

Burnaby Lake from the bridge over Deer Lake Brook
Buttercups and plenty of ’em
Wildflowers along Cariboo Place.
Another shot of the lake, with lily pads starting to cover the surface.

And finally, one last shot of the lake with the Metrotown towers in the distance and some god rays in the top left. At least I didn’t get my thumb in this one (something I’ve done several times recently for reasons unknown).

Photo of the Day, September 30, 2019

Cheating slightly, as I took this yesterday. The weather was about the same, though! This is looking toward Burnaby Lake from atop Cariboo Dam. As you might guess, it’s not a very tall dam.

Touch a tree

When was the last time you touched a tree? I know, it seems weird. Why would you touch a tree? What if you put your finger smack in the middle of some sap? You can’t just wipe that stuff off on your pants. You’ll need to find somewhere to wash your hands. A bother.

But you should touch a tree anyway. Why? Because if you are touching a tree, you are in a tiny way communing with nature and more importantly, unlikely to be staring into the screen of your smartphone, because staring at that risks finger-in-sap.

Plus, touching a tree means you are outside, where most trees are, and enjoying the outdoors and maybe on the way to or from the tree you will see and experience other outdoor things that are pleasant or inspiring.

There are worse things you could do.

Touch a cactus, for example. If you are touching a cactus, you are likely in the desert and it’s hot and dry and cacti are very prickly, so why are you touching one, anyway?

Trees, though—find one, touch it. You won’t be sorry.