Stark Juxtapositions


Isn’t it strange that sometimes to see the true beauty in a scene you need to appreciate its direct opposite?


After feeling uber lazy last Monday morning- Canadian Remembrance Day- I donned my cold weather gear and headed out for a run.  I had no plan or intention on where I was going or for how long, I just knew I wanted to get outside and fill my lungs to clear my head.  90 minutes and 20km later I was back home and couldn’t believe how quickly the time had flown by.  The day and scenery of Stanley Park propelled me to go further than originally anticipated.   There were so many instances where I wished that I were walking with my camera to capture the moments happening around me.  In these moments I realized that the most strikingly beautiful things I was seeing were paired with the ordinary. 


There was a constant flow and activity on the ocean, paddle boarders coaxing their way into the cold waters, birds flapping and cyclists whizzing by me.  That all stopped in an instant when the cannon from the Remembrance Day Ceremony sounded.  After the cannon a distinct calm spread over the water, so much calm and stillness that even the birds looked fake as they bobbed there- seemingly scared to make any ripples in the ocean.  The sounds of the chatter of a downtown city centre ceased for a moment.  It felt like someone pressed mute in the middle of a live concert.


Then as I waved to a fellow jogger coming around Lost Lagoon I saw the vivid white of a Swan against a dark figure on the nearby bench.  It was a man in a dark large coat who appeared to be sleeping and the swan was curled up  so close that it was almost touching him.  It was as if they were keeping each other company- two lone entities surround by a city that was full of life and commotion that day.


It was the image of the swan and the man that struck me as strangely beautiful and made me think about the juxtapositions that surround us daily.  For instance I like to run alone because I enjoy the quiet and the time to let my mind wander but at the same time I always have my headphones in love listening to music when I run.  Listening to music lets me do my best thinking- it is as if filling my ears with other people words can help me make sense of my own thoughts.  Or that athletes get satisfaction out of knowing they worked hard by feeling the pain and the pleasure of the post exercise endorphin kick along with the aching muscles in the bodies?  


4 thoughts on “Stark Juxtapositions

  1. Hi Dirizzardo, nice to meet you. This is a beautifully written piece that brought me right back home to my Canadian home town. Sometimes I miss Van and all our friends there, but love our life on the road too much.
    You mention in one post about running in/around Kensington Gardens. Another memory arises of many many years ago running the complete perimeter of Hyde Park/Kensington Gardens almost daily for months.
    Thanks for following our bog. I hope you enjoy the stories of our journey, both inner and outer.

    • Hi Alison!
      Thank you for your comments and sharing your memories of running through some of the same places! Yes I find that when I travel the very best way to find all the hidden gems of a city or town .. heading out without a map and finding all the secret nooks and crannies, especially in the early morning before the hustle and bustle of life truly begins

      I love the idea of your nomadic travels it’s inspiring to read about!

  2. twentyonextwelve

    This is such an inspirational post! I should remember this to keep me motivated as I give up to easily when it comes to running. I actually also used to run around Hyde Park, as it was basically my backyard when I lived in London for a couple of years – I hope you managed to see all the beautiful statues when you were there!

    • Thank you! Yes I sought out the statues on the very first day, I was there during the London 2012 Olympics and although the park was very busy the Peter Pan statue was relatively quiet. I actually went back 3 times I loved it so much! I’m a huge Peter Pan and Neverland fan – thanks to my mom- and am now doing the Tinkerbell Disneyland Half Marathon this January and raising money for the BC Children’s Hospital Foundation in the process. It is an exciting adventure! Check it out at we call ourselves Run.Sweat.Sparkle 🙂

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