Monday, August 27, 2007

Pushing back against changing my world

This is a city of constant construction. On every roadway, every block, something is torn up, torn down, ripped apart, dug up and built up all over again. Even my favourite park has succumbed to the constructionitis that permeates the fabric of the city.

Where once pristine prairie grasses dotted with brilliant red and yellow and purple wildflowers hurried into the distance to greet the blue horizon tumbling joyously to earth, orange fencing marches across the skyline, lining the landscape like a spool of ribbon unwinding. Giant tractors with earth eating buckets gather up gravel and dirt and dump their loads into the bellies of waiting trucks. The noise of their engines reverberates in the quiet, the earth rumbles with the throbbing of their beat. Beneath my feet, the constant droning of the tires of enormous trucks pounding across the dirt shakes up my peace of mind. My resistance awakens.

I hate change!

'My' park is no longer a peaceful oasis. It's marching into time, keeping pace with the rejuvenation of this city that can't stand still in its constant quest to continually renew itself in its efforts to become the best, the biggest, the greatest little city that could.

Makes me angry. Makes me sad. Makes me want to roll back time and reclaim the 'simpler' times when the park was known by few, used by few, visited by even fewer!

Makes me realize, change is here to stay.

When I was living in North Vancouver, every day I'd walk down the mountainside to the SeaBus and travel across the inlet to downtown. Along the shore, a huge development was planned. Old warehouses and docks were scheduled to be torn down and replaced with sparkling new condos and shops. The urban planners and developers promised a community worth waiting for.

On the surface, I couldn't see anything happening. Yet, somewhere, in office towers and architectural offices, draftspeople and designers were drawing lines, crossing boundaries, laying out the community with a vision for the future I could not see. Five or ten years meant nothing in the 'big schematic' of possibilities for that community. The planners had a plan, a goal, a vision. They knew where they were going and were taking their time making sure they had the foundations set to get them there.

In reconstruction, its acceptable to take years to redevelop an area. In the process, we wait. Wondering when it will happen. And then, all of a sudden, change appears. Work crews move in. Giant machinery descends and deconstruction begins paving the way for what developers promise will be the latest, greatest, bestest little condo, office tower, shopping mall in the west. We wait. Not that patiently, but we wait. For trucks and dirt movers and construction teams to dig up, dig out, and build up the new that will replace the old. While we grumble and bemoan the change, we adapt ourselves to detours, align ourselves with new routes to get to where we're going. We move into the change and resign ourselves to its presence in our lives as we continue on with our day believing in a better tomorrow.

At Nose Hill a plan was approved in 2005 to redevelop the park. The premise was the delicate vegetation needed protecting. Trails needed paving to keep erstwhile walkers and mountain bikers from tearing up the fields of fescue and wildflowers. Demarcation zones needed to be drawn defining controlled and offleash areas so that users didn't collide, worlds didn't abut and tempers didn't flare where bikers crashed into gamboling family pets and frolicking children.

I know it's necessary. I know it's needed. Just wish it were somewhere else. Some other park. Some other way.

I knew the change was coming. It took two years and here it is.

Reality sucks when it awakens me to the constant of change rattling the cage of my comfort zone, forcing me out of my environment. Reality bites!

There. I've had my whine. Time to accept reality. My world is changing. Every day. Some changes I adapt to without a thought. Others need a shifting in my perspective. A realignment of my world view to accept its necessary to protect an environment that was at risk of being decimated by people trampling over delicate grasses that could not withstand the passing of time (and man) without man's helping hand.

The changing of the guard at Nose Hill Park is a sign of the times. A growing pain. A stretching out of imagination, a reaching out to new possibilities to protect and preserve a unique terrain within the city.

Our city is growing exponentially. Thousands of people move here every month. Wear and tear and increased demand take their toll. Tempers fray. Patience evaporates. Emotions rise.

I know what is happening at Nose Hill is an integral part of preserving the park. Just wish I didn't have to see preservation in action. Just wish the process didn't require a shift in my world view!

Ah well, if wishes were horses, beggars would ride.

The question is: Where in your worldview do you balk at change in an effort to push back to preserve the past? Where do you resist when flowing into change could ease you into a new world order that opens doors of opportunity, unknown possibilities, unexplored adventures? Where do you push back change to hold onto something that can never be again?

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