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We visited Vancouver for my fourteenth birthday. Grandpa grew up there, and he'd always tell stories of its oceans and mountains, so I asked to visit the city, and we did. I remember walking along the coarse sands of the Spanish Banks beach, looking for the next seashell that had washed ashore intact. There were many seashells, glittering purple and white in the noontime sun, though Grandpa says there used to be more. I came across a patch of grass, stubbornly flourishing in the middle of the sand, and between green tufts, was some kind of wreckage. Two crumbling composite cylinders as wide as my legs were tall sat among other strange objects, littered all around. They looked like they had been there for a long time. There was a large crow picking a piece of metal off of one of the cylinders, and it didn't fly away even as I approached it with my clumsy footsteps. I remember looking beyond, at Grandpa's oceans and mountains. At the shimmering spires of the distant city, the blazing freighters ferrying goods from the depths of space, at the towering space cables that lead all the way to Union station. It was the first time I realized the beauty of what we, as a species, have built.
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