The Canadian Tulip Festival, which is said to be the largest tulip festival in the world and extends for a ten-day period every May, has officially begun here in Ottawa. I must say, though, that for an Ottawa resident, I’m a sloth when it comes to attending the tulip festival, which happens in my own back yard. So yesterday, with a camera in hand and a newly activated enthusiasm for tulips, I ventured to Dow’s Lake, the main hub of the tulip festival, to greet my sassy tulip friends which, to my surprise, were already in full bloom.
Following a brief but heart-warming tour around the tulip gardens, I took a long walk along the whole stretch of the Canal towards the downtown core. Clear, sunny skies; calm, glistening waters; the sound of birds chirping; the scent of spring. How peaceful. Taking a walk in nature is enough to tickle my happy button.
I recall a friend asking me once upon a blue moon ago what my favourite mode of transportation was. Walking. Walking in the rain or shine, hot or cold. Whatever the conditions, wherever the stroll, autonomy, creativity, and self-mastery are exercised in the very act of walking. And how liberating it feels to defy the boundaries of urban space, this “city of glass” and sociopolitical construct. Walking aimlessly without a destination, and to be everywhere yet simultaneously nowhere — now that feels empowering.
It’s been a long time since I’ve gone walking or running along the Canal, which is why walking there yesterday incited bittersweet feelings in me. While I felt a deep sense of peace due to my gratitude for all the beauty that nature has to offer, at the same time, however, I felt as if I was tracing my own footsteps to the past, which was quite unsettling. Have you experienced it? A feeling so unbelievably familiar and close, yet so distant and elusive?