I’ve tried to imagine living inland, and it just doesn’t work. It’s not even that I’m a beach person, but not living on a coast is unfathomable. We’re different on the coast. In BC, the Rockies separate us from the rest of the country and the ocean holds us in.
Except it’s not the ocean. For me, where I live, in the suburbs, it’s the Fraser River. Even the ocean as I know and love it (most often at White Rock Beach or English Bay) is not quite the wide open sea. It’s the Strait of Georgia, that bit of water pushed up between Vancouver Island and the mainland.
This is maybe a few hundred years late, but the Fraser is the defining piece of water for me. I cross it every time I ride into Vancouver, but I see it most times I go anywhere in my city. It is at once dividing and uniting. I need to spend more time at the water’s edge, and when I do that now, it’s at the Fraser.
It’s accessible, industrial, it’s part of my childhood, especially the memories of the Fraser River Festival. It’s long and winding, and the way I navigate my way in this city. I still don’t know north from south and east and west, but I always know what side of the river I’m on.