No rain today, just a heavy, grey fog. It is a mist that hangs over the entire city, but is most pronounced here on the north shore. It is a brouillard that is almost comforting in the way it envelops us all.
We hike through the Capilano Canyon and across the suspension bridge staring up at the sky and staring ahead at the multitude of lights everywhere. There are crowds, yes, but it is almost easy to forget they are there because of how the lights scintillate as the dusk joins the fog to create a veil of darkness in the canyon.
I have often been called a débrouillard because of my knack for figuring things out even in the haziest of situations. Today, there is no need to clear the haze; we embrace the brouillard and let it envelop us as we hear the river thunder through the canyon below.
Leave me alone in a city for an afternoon, and I will undoubtedly find myself at the public library. (And the post office, as well, usually.)
I’ve realized, as I’ve grown older, that I like measured solitude. Whereas before, when I was younger, I struggled with time spent on my own, I now find it restorative and calming. The solitude I crave, however, is not some sort of Walden-esque isolation: instead, I crave the aloneness of being in a busy space, a place where there is a hum of activity and the bustle of people, but where I know nobody, and nobody knows me.
The public library is a perfect place for this kind of escape. There are always people buzzing about, but the volume is low, almost muted. It’s possible to spend hours watching people as they read, browse, interact with each other, and possible to spend hours lost in your own head to sort out your own stories and ideas, surrounded by books containing a dizzying amount of stories and ideas.
Here’s what they don’t tell you about adulthood: that sometimes, the stuff you found entertaining as a child is exactly what you’ll find entertaining as an adult. That the little joys that come from small diversions, like decorating gingerbread people (and other objects) while wearing an apron and chef’s hat can be the highlight of your day, and that engaging in that activity with friends and family that are more than 25 years younger than you can be the best kind of social interaction.
Here’s what they don’t tell you about adulthood: that even though you grow in size and in responsibility, you don’t necessary have to grow in spirit, all the time. That sometimes you just have to remember what it was like to be a kid again, and not be ashamed when your gingerbread cookie ends up looking more like a monster than a man. It will taste delicious all the same.