The year I moved to Whistler was an important year to me, both in my personal and professional life. In terms of my work and the career I was striving for, I had finally made it into the one hotel that I had my heart set on from the very, very beginning. I believed in the culture they fostered, and I deemed them to be one of the best in the world. In terms of my personal life, I was looking for a place where I wouldn’t be able to associate anything with the man that had just, at that point, left my life. A place where not one restaurant, not one bus stop, and not one street sign- would hit me in the gut with memories of him and proceed straight on to break my heart.
My life there was both an achievement and an escape.
The experience ended up to be different from what I expected. But the change was good, and the time there was important for my personal development.
The most singular thing I came to love about Whistler was my proximity to nature. I drove back to Vancouver on a weekly basis. I never chose to settle down enough in Whistler that I would give up my opportunity to return to the city on my days off from work. I was often anxious and excited at the prospect of going home. But I would have had to be blind not to have seen what Whistler had to offer. I experienced an incredible solitude during those drives. And in that solitude, I had the opportunity to see nature wash over me on the 2.5 hour drive down the Sea to Sky highway.
I experienced autumn in a way that I had never experienced before. I saw and breathed – colour. Every moment of that drive, I was soaked with the sight of vibrant colours on all sides of me. It was so beautiful. And I came to relish those long drives just for a moment of quiet, a mind empty of thoughts, and the chance to sit there and feel the trees, the air, that view, for the whole ride home.
I don’t see nature very much in the city. Despite being in such a beautiful part of the world that always boasts of its abundance of natural scenery, I get distracted by the city lights, the cars, the buildings. I lose sight of the trees. And there is nowhere in my vicinity that I could drive to that would simply be forest for hours on end.
These days, in the rare moments where red and orange autumn leaves catch my eye (most recently, it was on a tree that towered over a Mcdonalds drive-in sign), I think back to those drives. And if I had to take the smallest thing that gave me the greatest joy in all interactions and experiences during Whistler – I would have to say it would have to be that I got close to nature. Just me, that scene, and that sense of calm.
Man and nature. I think they go right back to the beginning.