Gastown reminds me of Europe because of its cobble stone roads, brick buildings, and pretty alley ways. I know it isn’t Europe but I sometimes like to pretend that it is. As I walked through it one time, I started thinking about why I sometimes prefer old things to new things. I think it’s because they have a story behind them. They have a history, a past, a connection to people who I’ll never meet – and to me, that’s lovely.
I like old things because they’ve stood there for years and years, watching everyone and seeing everything. They’ve held their ground through snow storms and hot summers. They’ve seen couples fall in love and fall out of love. They keep so many secrets and they give us so many memories.
It’s mind boggling. It’s mind boggling to think about how many hundreds of thousands of people have laughed with a sister, or fallen in love with a partner, or been inspired under the Eiffel tower. Or to think about all the hearts that have beaten with terror or hope or joy by the Brandenburger Tor, or to see the walls of an old church and know that it was once a pile of rubble. Or to walk past the Berlin Wall and know that before it became something you wanted to take a picture with, it once separated families and friends and possibilities.
So many people have seen these things and felt things. So many important people in the world’s history and so many ordinary people too. And now I-the girl with the chipped nail polish and hole in her jacket pocket – have seen these things and felt things too.
Whenever I walk home, I like to imagine that there was once another 23 year old walking home on the same cobble stone steps. And maybe she felt lonely or happy or excited too. Maybe she smiled when she heard the birds sing or when she stepped on a crunchy leaf. And maybe they’ll be another 23 year old girl walking home tomorrow or the day after that or 100 years from now…
What I like best is looking up at the moon and thinking about all the other people looking at it too. I like to think about my family – halfway across the world feeling the warmth from the same sun, and the billions of people before me, and the billions of people after me, walking home at night under the same moon. It just makes me feel connected to the world in a way that fills my soul with so much awe. It’s quite possibly one of the best feelings in the world.
July 9, 2015