I walk to work every other day or so, about a mile through a city I can now navigate with my eyes splitting time between my phone and the way the buildings here seem to volley sunlight back and forth in between them like little kids fighting over a beachball.
The coffee shop across from our office is a cave of a place, friendly staff and great food and good at knowing which drink you’ll have based on the way you open the door. It’s the destination, each morning, and the route through downtown Vancouver is usually similar to the previous one, similar to the next, save for a busy intersection that might send me this way or that, an extra block or two.
People in this town aren’t rushed like they are in other cities. Every once in a while you get a whiff of crisp mountain air that reminds you to look North to take in those pearly whitecaps you probably forget are always there.
This morning I took a different route. Sometimes you need to tell yourself to take another route, to push yourself outside of the most meaningless norms in order to have the confidence to do the same thing when when it really matters.
The sun and smells were fresh as came around the underbelly of the city near the stadium where my old friend spends his weekends captaining the soccer team into their second professional season.
A block or two from the stadium there’s an expanse of public soccer fields and my route takes me alongside them, fields to my right and the outer walls of the Dr. Sun Yat Sen Chinese Garden to my left.
Calm and solitude emanate from either side…especially nice while dressed in dusty columns of early sunlight.
I stepped off the sidewalk towards the fields to snap a photo. Empty soccer pitches in the morning anchor childhood memories I can almost taste.
Flashbacks to years of early morning dew and sunrise, sitting on the sidelines putting on shinguards and cleats hoping the grogginess subsides before game time. The buzz to play, to compete.
A man was sauntering along the street towards the corner I’d come upon. I stood leaning against the rail with my camera held towards the sun.
“Spare some change?”
I’d ask the guy taking time out of his morning to snap photos of an empty pitch for change too.
“Honestly wish I could. Elbow deep in chasing dreams these days. I’ve got nothin.”
He smiled genuinely.
“I guess we’re both chasing dreams, then, eh?”
He limbered by.
At the intersection a few paces away he turned around and he said, “I think that makes us both rich in some way.”