Some days it feels as though there is something in the air, something extra. The world becomes ever so slightly crisper around the edges and the colours a bit brighter. Sometimes all it takes is a different route home.

I decided to bicycle along the water home rather than climb the steep hill to my apartment. The air was cold but I had the unusual foresight to bring gloves, so the air was refreshing rather than violating. And for once the sun was shining, and the sky was blue, and everything appeared to be pleasant and idyllic and autumn-like. Leaves swept into tan piles but the grass was still green. I rode along and saw three beautiful things.

  1. Lying on the rocks of the seawall was the carcass of a fish. This didn’t look like it could have possibly washed up from the sea, because of its absolutely enormous size. Fish like those belong at the bottom of the ocean, or on ice in the market. Or on somebody’s wall. It was about a foot and a half long, and hollow – the skin had slightly sunken in some areas, making it slightly unrecognizable from the path. A few condoms and other urban debris surrounded it. It had a clean, silver sheen.
  2. I passed a small boy whirling something around in the air. Seagulls were squawking. As I got closer I slowed to see the noisemaker he was swinging in circles – it sounded just like a seagull. Then I realized it was actually the boy making the noises. He sounded perfectly, exactly, undeniably like a seagull. He couldn’t have been more than five, and I wasn’t sure if he was attempting this impersonation or whether it was coincidental.
  3. I discovered that the seawall goes through an industrial area past the Cambie Bridge. I passed a thousand stacked wooden planks, some planks wrapped in plastic. All these beautiful patterns. I saw a ten-foot metal pole, curved down to the ground as though it had a broken back. I rode towards the street, in a visual daze, watching hundreds of black crows pick at the ground in a field of mud. I turned around just to see them all take to the air, an initial swarm of ink that separated and spread into a thousand flapping wings in all directions, taking off into the world and covering the sky. And a second later, it was over.

I went home humbled.