Walking in the Funky Dark

I have a couple of students who live out Acadia Road, at UBC. For those who don’t know, Acadia is the road that lines the Western edge of the Endowment lands, er, sorry, I mean Pacific Spirit Park. The wild frontier of Student Housing.

I love walking to the bus stop along that road. The woods are a buffer against most of the traffic noises of the city, and the streetlights often go off for no discernable reason, just as I walk underneath.

But the best thing is the smell. No perfume could be as subtle, complex, or, to me, evocative.

The base note is the forest itself. The damp decay of cedar logs, the deep umber funk of dying leaves, the mulch, the loam, the worms and bugs digesting out there in the lonely dark.

The middle note is the live trees. The tang of the cedar is strong, but the other trees get in there as well. I smell wet alder bark and slightly bruised Fir greenery.

The top note is the sheer, heady smell of clean air. Although photosynthesis is not taking place in this darkened lane at 9pm, there’s still a fresh, oxygenated quality to what I’m breathing. It’s like I walk beside a slow and shaggy giant, whose breathing is too slow to detect, but nevertheless sweetens the air.

It’s the Temperate Rainforest, distilled into a bouquet of everything that’s in there.

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