A walk in the woods

First let me start off by saying I’m no Mr. Nature Boy.  So when my friend Kim suggested brunch followed by a walk in the woods near her house in scenic North Vancouver, I did what most non-nature types do in these situations: I balked. At least, that’s what I did inwardly. Outwardly, I sucked it up—suggestions could’ve been worse, such as the time I went over to her hosue for lunch and ended up in a cupcake shop.

I’ll say this for the woods: they’re very nature-like, and dangerous. img_7199Though we didn’t run into any grizzlies—a common phenomenon in North Van—there was snow, much of it dirty and icy. I almost fell, twice, city slicker that I am. Along the path, our way was blocked intermittently by trees that had collapsed due to the heavy press of snow of an above-average snowfall.  Still, something romantic about a forest, unless of course your walking in it with a married couple and their Pomeranian.img_7198

But with the girlfriend out of town for a week, I had decided to socialize, at least a bit. Otherwise, I would’ve been couch-bound for the entire time, except for runs to the booze store and that one defeated excursion when I tried to find a pair of sweat pants that I wouldn’t be embarrassed to wear around the apartment. (After nine months of dating, this is called Making an Effort.) I think I’ll have to go with yoga pants.

But I digress. Other socializing type activities of the week included, on Tuesday night, going to see Billy Twinkle: Requiem for a Golden Boy, a puppet show, with a co-worker; we would’ve gone for a drink after too if the two hours of puppetry (along with a healthy dollop of Shakespeare) hadn’t drained us. On Thursday, the extent of my socializing was lunch with Wingy; and, on Friday night, I hung out with Grizzly Adams, aka my friend Mike.grizzly-adams

It’s funny, I always thought all those premises in P.G. Wodehouse novels where the butler Jeeves left the employ of Bertram Wooster because of questions of personal grooming habits, such as a ridiculous hat his boss insists on wearing or a misguided attempt at facial hair, were just that—situations made up purely for their farcical potential. But, after witnessing various configurations of Mike’s facial hair over the years, I’m not so sure these situations are that farfetched.

When I arrived at our appointed meeting place, a dive bar, I almost didn’t recognize him— illuminated by a Ms. Pac-Man game, and with a scruffy, Amish-type beard, he looked as though he’d just wondered off the street.ms-pacman

Not Mike. But you get the idea.

Not Mike. But you get the idea.

Fortunately, we weren’t going to run into anyone I wanted to impress, at least not at Pat’s Pub, where we sat through half a set by an earnest four-piece who began with a Pink Floyd song. Our next destination, the Ukrainian Hall, was the setting of a CD release party performance by Joanna Chapman-Smith, a local singer-songwriter with a bit of a gypsy-European sound goin’ on. Between the end of her set and the beginning of the next band’s, the SFU dancers in the audience weren’t tripping over their fold-out chairs to talk to us. But it would be unfair to pin that entirely on Mike’s Amish makeover.

Which brings me back to the walk in the woods with Tanner, the Pomeranian, and his owners. We saw a three-legged dog; we walked on the suspension bridge; Kim stopped to talk to other dog zombies (as the prof, a Yorkie owner herself, calls those owners who can talk endlessly about their four-legged charges); Tanner stopped to leave his signature on various banks of snow. The light coming through the trees was beautiful, and the walk itself was invigorating. And now I probably won’t have to do it again for at least a year.

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February 2009

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