I pass by parts of the Still Creek on my daily commute and what I find fascinating about it is that I have caught it wrapped in crisp morning fogs a few times. This has always been from all the way up on the Skytrain though, so doing a sound walk around the area seemedlike the perfect idea. Though I didn’t get to do this on a crisp early morning.
۱ . Starting off at the Sperling, Burnaby Lake Skytrain station, I make my way to the corner of Sperling and Winston and cross the road towards the overpass. I walk across the winding ramp and all the way to the middle. Standing midway on the Bridge right above the highway the only distinct sound I hear is from a large truck loudly backing out of a parking spot. The traffic hum and everything going on in the factory nearby is quietly bundled into a faint hum that doesn’t match my expectation for the industrial space I’m in. Everything is uncharacteristically peaceful.
۲٫ Crossing the bridge and taking two lefts and a right along the trail, I am brought to a complete stop in the middle of the woods to watch the train speeding past nearby.The loud and rather intrusive whistling noise creates another sharp contrast among an otherwise quiet environment, standing out from the greenery and the small body of still water that separate us. I stick around and listen for the chaos to come to an end.
۳٫ Continuing along Sperling Ave., I arrive at a bridge crossing the Creek, to my right there is narrower dock stretching across the water parallel to the bridge. A man crouching over the edge seems to be staring down at his own mirroring double. I hurry across the bridge and take the first right into a side trail to reach the dock. The water is, as the name suggests, truly still and the stillness is echoed in the air, ears feel pleasantly plugged. Neither the man’s fishing rod nor the two ducks swimming in the distance come close to making a sliver of sound. Everything is on mute and we both somehow know to go along with it as we exchange friendly nods.
۴٫ Making my way back to the main trail, I continue straight for a short distance before I start hearing different birds chirping nearby. Standing in the middle, one can follow their conversation from one side of the road to the other. My footsteps start crunching along as I approach and observe a small pond partially covered in snow.
۵٫ I keep going till I arrive at the Archery Range on the corner of Sperling and Laurel. The Kensington Avenue traffic can now be heard much more clearly. A large number of geese are silently feeding, not making a single noise until I start walking among them. Every once in a while a car whooshes by on Laurel street.
۶٫ Back on Sperling I keep walking and take a left on the first hiking trail opening up into the woods. I carry on till I see a wooden bridge to my left. The icy leftover snow gently crushing where I step, I hear running footsteps approaching. A man and his dog thump along the wooden bridge athletically and turn to my right, their footsteps quickly fading away. My footsteps carefully cross the bridge till I’m on the other side of the Creek again. Other than a muffled engine humming through space, I hear a large group of geese flying together, their sound dissipating in the growing distance.
۷٫ I cross the Creek back and follow the runner’s direction to my left. It’s not long before I arrive at the side of an empty soccer field. Seems like another silent episode until a plane slices the shell open. Silence is resumed before it’s interrupted again with another plane flying above.
The Sound Walk feels complete.