I could just post a series of photos from my trip and let you come to your own conclusions about the title of this post. But I will add narrative to the photos and try to tell the story as well.
I will begin with the view. Water and mountains. I only really saw the mountains on Friday morning because most of the trip they were covered by fog. The last photo above is Sunday morning when the mountains began to peek out again, only to disappear under a layer of mist and fog by the time I came out of the final meetings. Even as a child I knew I felt most at home when I was near water. My frequent trips to the West Coast since last July have only reconfirmed that the environment that feeds my soul and spirit includes one where water and mountains are close by. I relish each opportunity I have to be in an environment like this and am grateful for the time I have before I have to return to the South where I currently live.
Since I began practicing yoga again last fall I have sought out yoga studios during my travels. (See my page on yoga for the list of places I have practiced.) Vancouver has a number of places to practice but I found one that struck me as right for my trip. Exhale is a small studio tucked in upstairs in the back of a building. There were candlelight yin yoga classes being offered during times I could go so I contacted them and signed up for two sessions. I only made it to one because I was beginning to get sick on Sunday and wound up staying in my hotel and sleeping. In yin yoga the poses are held 3-5 minutes but this does not mean it is easier. I find that it is deeply relaxing and restorative, however. The hour and a half class was a wonderful way to end my first day in Vancouver. Jolene, the teacher, on Friday evening, led us through a series of hip openers. She is a compassionate and gracious teacher and I enjoyed her class very much.
I also discovered that the church across from my hotel was Christ Church Cathedral, an Anglican Church. I attended a Sunday morning service as well as the Compline service Sunday evening. The guest priest on Sunday morning was Rev. Dr. Lucas Mix who describes himself as “living in the middle spaces between science and theology, acting as a translator and tour guide for people on both sides.” His sermon focused on baptism since it was baptism Sunday. He described baptism as the perfect moment reflected in one human being and talked about how we work out the particulars of our lives in our day to day living. Much to consider.
In the evening I returned for the Compline service, a service of Gregorian Chant. It is a short service but one that is reflective and that I found deeply meaningful. There are number of websites that describe Compline, See http://www.ccasav.org/#/worship/compline-night-prayer or here http://bcponline.org/DailyOffice/compline.html for examples. The closing prayer struck me most. In part it was, “the world is too small for anything but truth, too dangerous for anything but love.”
I had hoped to hike in Stanley Park but the day was too wet and rainy. I opted instead to explore the Vancouver Aquarium. The exhibits focus on the Northwest. Otters, penguins and jellyfish were my favorite. It is always fun to watch otters play and jellyfish fascinate me.
The trip to Vancouver fed my intellect, my body and my soul. All in all it was three perfect days. Now I need to plan my next West Coast escape.