I was awakened once again with a start.
My bed was shaking and the windows rattled. I was sure Armageddon was upon me.
Or perhaps the big one had hit… an earthquake.
Luckily, that was not the case. Rather, my alarm clock was the daily onslaught of construction noise as yet another multi-dwelling complex is being built next door to me.
The cacophonous assault begins every morning at precisely 7 a.m.
Surrey, which used to be known as The City of Parks, is now The City of Development or The City of Endless Noise.
Now, don’t misunderstand me. I am living in a townhouse complex where trees once stood. I get it. The continuous building of homes serves to house the almost 1,000 new people who migrate to Surrey each month.
Surrey is the fastest-growing city in Canada, as it is a desirable place to live. It is affordable and within commuting distance to Vancouver.
This growth keeps my taxes from rising.
I get it!
But the ceaseless noise is driving me mad. Noise pollution will be the death of me.
Ubiquitous noise from freeway traffic never ceases, even in the wee hours of the morning.
Car alarms and sirens wail throughout the night.
Don’t forget lawn mowers, weed eaters and leaf blowers.
I frequent restaurants, where it is impossible to have a conversation with your dining mate due to the background ambient noise and music blaring from overhead.
I even have to wear ear plugs to the movie theatre, as it is assumed that all patrons are either very young and love a decibel reading of over 120 or are completely deaf.
Because, it seems, everyone under the age of 40 is plugged in listening to their iPods or MP3 players, they may be immune and oblivious to the racket around them. They have blotted out the noise and have found refuge within their own personal sancturary.
But for us Zoomers, it is a different story.
As a child of the ‘60s, I long for the sound of silence.
I know I will get my wish when I am dead and gone, but while I am still breathing, I have found a solution. Right here in my own back yard. Right here in Surrey.
Surrey is home to some of the most beautiful parks in the Lower Mainland.
I had the pleasure of strolling through Green Timbers Urban Forest Park and was greeted by the sound of birdsong. An idyllic and peaceful walk through a verdant and natural parkland.
Green Timbers is blessed with diverse wildlife habitats that support more than 100 species of birds along with many mammals, amphibians and other animals.
It is suggested that while you view the wildlife, you should walk slowly and quietly, or better still, simply stand still for a few moments and listen as sounds of the forest come to life around you.
According to the promotional brochure, the majority of Green Timbers is a mix of coniferous and deciduous forest, a mosaic of replanted and naturally regenerated areas. Forest, meadows, lake and wetland.
All I know is, it is blissfully quiet.
So, take some time away from the chaos of life and enjoy one of Surrey’s treasures.
Surrey may proclaim The Future Lives Here, but in reality it is still the City of Parks.
Silence is not only golden… it is green.
April Lewis is the local communications director for CARP, a national group committed to a ‘New Vision of Aging for Canada.’ She writes monthly.