Friday, 23 August 2013

For the moment: paradise unpaved.

They say that time is just a trick of space, that all time exists now, and also that now is all there ever is. Is it surprising then, that you should be allowed to step outside of the normal course of time every once in a while, even here in the heart of the city?

Just the other day I took a step back in time on a recognizance ride through Richmond,
 and it didn't take the Tardis to do it, either. 

We went south and east from Kits, then across the North Arm of the Fraser River at the Canada Line bridge. 

Once in Richmond we headed for Shell Rd, where I was in for a surprise.

We used UBC's route planner to pick the best bike routes possible, and I expected to encounter a typical asphalt city bike lane.

Instead we found ourselves on life's best sort of rocky road.
Don't you love green surprises?
I love all kinds of green things.
We saw blueberry fields forever...

photo by Troy Landreville
Shell Road is a rural road in the middle of an urban metropolis, blessed be, an oasis in true Tardis fashion.
The trail is a part of the CN rail corridor through Richmond, so right away you know you're on an artery of Canadian history.  

 We just cruised through much of Richmond on traffic-free trails, 

listening to our wheels on the gravel and the wind in our faces. 

It was an unexpectedly blissful moment in time. 
The luscious, heady scents of rainforest, river and wetland were almost intoxicating in their musty ripeness.

When we first set out in the morning, the plan had been to ride straight through to Tsawwassen and BC Ferries, to see whether it was a ride the small boy could safely do .  

Turns out the first two thirds of the route is mostly pretty safe, but I learned that the shuttle through the George Massey Tunnel runs quite intermittently during off peak hours, so that put paid to our original designs.  We decided to investigate the lay of the land this side of the south arm of the Mighty Fraser instead. 

We backtracked a bit and found ourselves in a very different place altogether. 
We stumbled upon an extraordinary place named Finn Slough, a throwback to a different era.  

It's a little shanty village built on stilts by Finnish fishermen working the Mighty Fraser more than a hundred years ago.

photo courtesy of the Province
 It's also home to the Island Dinner Plate School.
I mean, come on. Could it get any quainter?

Is quainter even a word?  Never mind.
Every detail, right down to the garden gate, is adorable.

It speaks of a different era

in plain and simple terms even I could understand.

The residents of Finn Slough slew the concrete giant called development.  
They didn't need Dr Who on their side to keep the tides of time from sweeping in.

Finn Slough is an eccentric place, a tiny piece of BC's history just brimming with heaps of character.  It's well worth taking a detour from daily life to see it for yourself.

We enjoyed the views from the Dyke Trails as we made our way north and back home again.  It's so easy to get caught up in the immediate pressures of twenty-first century life, but it's important to keep in mind that all we have is time.  In the end, none of us will wish we'd worked more, or that we'd had cleaner floors.  Life is for living, it's fodder for the best memories.  Get on your bike and spend a few moments connecting with your happy place.  Take a bit of time away from time and gift yourself with a magic moment.   

Don't wait till it's gone. 
Do it today.
Give yourself the gift of noticing how anything is possible, 
and for the moment, everything is perfect.


  1. Thanks for the Joni Mitchell original, and not that abortion version by the Counting Crows.

  2. ...hi babble...i haven't commented in a while but this was such a neat little post i hadda say something...
    ...what a cool spot to ride to & explore & we both know that unfortunately places like your little finnish fishing village, stilted on the banks of the fraser & stilted in time, get gentrified all too soon...
    ...i have an old riding bud who lives on his boat in what was a wayward little marina far from the maddening crowd, up & over a steep hill at the end of a narrow, winding road on the north-east side of the san francisco bay...the road, although paved years ago, had been patched so many times that it was literally a mosaic of tiny bits of asphalt, prob'ly none bigger that 4 to 5 inches across...
    ...the first time i went out there years ago, as i wound down from the hill & looked through the trees, i thought to myself - "ohhh my god, how awesome...this is like something out of a steinbeck novel from the '40's...i may never see such a wonderful funky treasure like this again in this area..."...
    ...sure enough, several years ago he informed that the owner of the marina was "fixing things up" & i've been reluctant to go back out there...i prefer that ol' steinbeck vision that rests comfortably in my head...
    ...btw...i used to "date" one of the 'ladies of the canyon' that the ohhh so awesome & ohhh so canadian joni mitchell sings about...
    ...luv ya, kiddo...see ya...

    1. Hello Beautiful!

      Thank you for sharing your stories, Wildman. I'm always better for having had an exchange with you. You have a wonderful way with words, and a rich and meaningful lexicon of life experiences to draw upon. I love that you read these babblelogs and care enough to share your thoughts, experiences and well-earned wisdom here.

      You've devoted so much of your time and energy into creating a better, more beautiful, bike-friendly world. Thank you. Your passion helps make my lifestyle possible, and you know how much I love my life!

      Big kiss, baby. You rock. X

    2. ...i'm humbled, so, thank you, my beautiful friend...

  3. Jeez, your legs are better than C.Ronaldo's! WOW!!