Travel broadens the mind. And when we can’t do it in reality, a good movie or documentary can open perspectives and even create a longing to visit more exotic places in far reaches of the world. But with a little imagination we can bring a new appreciation for the beauty goodness and truth that surround us at home.
Inspiring the Soul
I live in Garden Park Tower (located in Abbotsford, BC, Canada) an apartment building that is also a secured community which gives me sanctuary from a world of travel, tensions and intensity. Here I am inspired by the stunning ever-shifting watercolor views of Mount Baker, sunrises, and the beauty of nature that feeds my soul. I have come to love my quiet times of reflection and regeneration here, where the introvert in me recovers so that the extrovert in me can interact with the world.
Our neighbours in GPT, many of whom have lived here since it was built, 18 years ago, are respectful but not invasive or cloying. Remarkably the residence and society meetings are well managed and civilized – partly because of the wisdom of the original developers who dared to imagine a community that would serve the larger community. They helped create bylaws that maintain both structural standards and people respect. We have worked out ways of being together that include everything from weekly movie nights (with free ice-cream), to seasonal “faspa” social events, fitness classes, current affairs lunches, crafts fairs, Christmas Festival of Lights and volunteer recognition teas. We share and stock and maintain a community library, flower gardens and frequently organize ourselves into cleanup crews for the landscaping. Volunteers self-organize to help anyone who is in need. Monday and Saturday mornings in the Rose Room Coffee Shop are popular gathering places for coffee, fresh pastry and the latest news.
Engaging the Senses
My location is surprisingly quiet as it is over a park, distant enough from traffic that it is interesting to observe but not intrusive from a unit where I hear little from the neighbours. My husband enjoys the many “eyes on the streets” that he can watch on the balconies and windows in neighbouring buildings. And my own eyes feast on the dazzling city scape with four seasons of changing colours, textures, scents and bird calls. Safe from traffic, it is easy to walk around the neighbourhood and park paths through wildy corners of great cedars to Fishtrap Creek where geese and ducks tend their broods. I especially enjoy my regular ambles with walking buddies by nearby houses, forever in the process of re-building themselves, with garden surprises around most bends and mysterious paths through a maze of backyard trails.
Building on Diversity
GPT is a special community – located where the old neighborhood of Clearbrook displays signs in German and Punjabi as well as English. Within walking distance I can dine on Thai, Chinese, Indian, Greek, German, Japanese and Korean food. We are so lucky to have our “pocket” Garden Park, on a bus route and be close enough to Elwood Park and the Discovery Trail, where it is common to meet pedestrians of all ages, with pets, strollers, bicycles, canes and walkers. The dogs are generally friendly and add humour and character to the passing stream of people. The community and city work hard at being responsible in their investment for the upkeep of all our private and public assets and are generally appreciative of the privileged environment we steward.
So when I am tempted to dream for a distant vacation, a more exotic location or diverse culture, I really just need to wake up, step out, and fully enjoy the many delights of home. Here, beauty, goodness and truth all grace my soul, senses, community and environment with a daily flow of exotic life.