I Never Feel Bad Outdoors: Discovering Textures of Solitude in Shubie Park

by Jerry Katz

This visit was my second time walking the paths of Shubie Park in Nova Scotia. It could have been my thousandth. I don’t chase nature. I’m happy to visit the same place in all seasons, in all kinds of weather, at different times of the day. I know the sky, the waters, air, and landscape will deliver endless variety. 

It was a gray, chilly early December day with spurts of icy rain and sleet. I like that. I don’t want the weather to remind me of my room. I never feel bad outdoors.

My goal was to leave the main paths and find spots the solitary-at-heart would love. 

Birches line the straight path like flagposts. If you look, you’ll find the flag of your country. By country, I mean the texture of your solitude. 

Straight unwavering walkways are easy but unnatural. I like paths that bend and turn, climb and dip over craggy terrain. 

Walking off the main path, I came to a creek. At once, I realized that more direct than a straight road to a parking lot is a rough winding creek.

The waters of a creek are like light flowing into a lake. I stumbled upon a scene that was an adjustment for an unbalanced psyche.

Further on, the straight, paved path turned into water:

I came to a bend in the path. How adventurous, hopeful, and promising is a modest curve.

I found the main path leading back to the parking lot. On the way, I noticed a bench and, alongside it, a thin birch. The pairing seemed as intimate as twins.

I saw that the world and I are being born at the same time, pulsed forth by darkness. 

Having shared a thin glimpse of a newly born world, I returned to everyday life and the darkness massively hidden by Western culture. Not for long, though.