And Then There’s The Night…

Pender Street in Vancouver, BC in the early evening on Sept. 20/14.
Pender Street in Vancouver, BC in the early evening on Sept. 20/14. Buses pretty much make up the main traffic in this area at night, and though the area is actually quite safe for the most part, the aches and pains it displays, the results of being old and a little run-down, can result in strangers to the area feeling a little nervous if they’re on their own.

                                                           “I thank the Lord for the night-time

To forget the day

The day’s up up-tight time

Better chase it away

I get a relaxation

And I start to groove

I thank the Lord for the night-time

I thank the Lord for you”

“Thank The Lord For The Night-Time”

-Neil Diamond, 1967-

Well I certainly can relate to Mr. Diamond’s love of the night-time hours, though perhaps for quite different reasons than the ones outlined in that particular song. Looking at the lyrics that accompany the tune, and the up-beat tempo of the tune itself, it would seem at first glance that Mr. Diamond (at least in those days) found the night to be the perfect time to forget about the responsibilities of the day for a while, to let go of the inhibitions of so-called polite society, and just cut loose. And if I’m correct in my assessment of his feelings at that juncture in his life, then he certainly wasn’t alone in exhibiting that type of behavior, being just one of a vast body of people in the sixties, and surely in every generation before and since, who had lived, have lived, and in all likelihood, will continue to live that way.  Hell, it would be less than ten years after Mr. Diamond released that song that I myself would join into the same type of lifestyle, and maintain it for quite a lengthy stretch of time before the mellowing that inevitably comes with age would start to assert itself in my own life. But I did in fact mellow, and by the time I had any thought of writing this blog, that mellow calm was no longer just one small aspect of my total personality, but it was more like the canvas that the rest of my personality was only very lightly etched upon.

Pender Street in Chinatown
Pender Street in Chinatown in the early evening, September 20/14. Only 7:30 and already the streets on this side of town are pretty much deserted as most of the shops have closed and the tourists have fled for the more up-scale regions. Mostly residents only at this time of night.

Each day, in almost a direct correlation with the setting of the sun, my own moods and my energy levels tend to sink quite dramatically, and gradually flatten out into a rather tranquil plateau. It’s not that I’m tired, but more as if the high-intensity drive that has been pushing me during the day to move, move, move, and remain constantly on the go finding new things, and revisiting those that I’ve already found, has mysteriously departed, for places unknown, though I am always aware subconsciously that it will return bright and early in the morning, and once again I will be buzzing around like some wacked-out bee trying to explain to the residents of the hive exactly where he just saw the world’s largest supply of raw nectar. But that will be the next day when the sun rises once again.

As the evening progresses however, and the darkness settles in, I can feel the relaxation as it washes over me, and I take great comfort as my busy mind slows to a pace where I can actually take the time necessary to consider some of the random thoughts that during the day would probably just be lost in all the confusion. It’s always nice to be able to consider a little more deeply the various things that occur to me, and it is from these deeper considerations, and the further research spurred on by this type of thinking that I obtain the source material for that which I write in the night-time hours. To that end I make certain I reserve at least a couple of those hours for walking in my neighborhood where it is usually much quieter than it would be in the major downtown entertainment areas. It’s when I’m walking in those types of areas (much like the one pictured above) that I get my best ideas for new things to write about. When it comes to fleshing out those ideas, however, I prefer to head downtown where I can walk all alone surrounded by hundreds of people.

Downtown Vancouver at night.
One of my favorite views of downtown Vancouver just after sunset, as things are settling down and night is seeping in.

British Columbia has just over 4,000.000 souls spread throughout the province and of those just over 600,000 call the city of Vancouver home. That figure, however, is somewhat deceiving since Vancouver has grown up tight to several of our surrounding suburbs such as Burnaby, Richmond, and New Westminster. Each of these suburbs in turn butts up tight to additional suburbs, and the result is that if you aren’t familiar with where the various borders are, you could easily think that Vancouver sprawls out much further than it actually does. With the proximity of these close neighborhoods, and the large populations they contain- many of whom make very good use of our downtown area and its facilities- there are times, such as the evenings and especially the week-ends, when the number of people in our entertainment and shopping centers swells like a river during spring run-off.  For years I’ve drawn great pleasure, and a wonderful sense of well-being simply by strolling among the crowds of people in these busier areas, most often without interacting with anyone, but drawing in some way from each and every one of them a kind of comfort, a rather strange sense of safety, or belonging, and perhaps most important, a true feeling of purpose. That purpose has taken a definite form lately. Where it used to be hazy, or vague, where I couldn’t quite put my finger on what it was I was supposed to be doing, it has recently become much clearer. I think what it is I want to try and do is in some way tell the story that that crowd of people is telling me. And that is pretty close to how I actually feel. Like I’m learning something from that crowd as I walk among them, but not on an individual basis. Rather, the story I’m hearing, is the story of the crowd as a unit; the crowd as an entity. And that’s the story, told in a number of smaller stories, or posts as they’re usually referred to in a blog, that I’ll be attempting to tell with the night-time portion of this, my latest blog. 

So there you have it, these stories written at night, combined with the daytime accounts of all that I come across during my regular travels in this wonderful city that I now call home, and we have the proposed recipe for “Vancouver Visions”. Can I pull it off? Well, I can, and will, certainly try my best not to fail in this, my latest endeavor, but in the end it’s always the same: it’s up to the people who read it. Do they come back and read the next post? Do they like it enough to comment, and to make reasonable suggestions? Do they tell their friends? Do they share the posts on other sites that they hang out on? If the answer to enough of these questions is yes, then that will answer the question about whether or not I could pull it off. If the answer is no, there is always a great big sunset just waiting for a guy to sadly fade away into, only to return another day with some fresher, and perhaps better ideas to try at another time. And with that we conclude the second part of this Introduction, and in the next post (I’m not sure yet if it will be a day or night posting) we’ll start to get down to the nitty-gritty. Until that time.

 

And Then There’s The Night…

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