Wednesday, 26 July 2017

Missing the point

Although I've been a prisoner of Hades for the past seventeen years, only returning to Demeter for the summers, I lived over half my years on this planet in Victoria. It was only this week that I made it out to Point No Point.

The Resident Fan Boy has been there, of course, but his family had a car, and a car is what is required, ironically enough, to get out to most nature areas.

Unless you're a determined, strong, and able cyclist. I am none of those things.

Here in Hades, I've only been to the Gatineau Park once, and that was on a field trip with a few scores of thirteen-year-olds. That was an interesting day.

The Unitarian Church in Victoria has, for many years, held a "service auction" as a fund-raiser. Demeter usually offers to knit one of her colourful sweaters, but this year, she bid on a trip out to Point No Point, because she knew it coincided with my visit.

On a brilliant morning, we set off in a convoy of three cars containing mature women - median age probably about seventy-five. Many of them, including Demeter, could not make the steep descent to the beach, nor even to the corridors of rain forest running along the tops of the cliffs, so before lunch at the restaurant (which, unfortunately, has a menu describing the Strait of Juan de Fuca as "Juan de Fuca Straight", delicious as the fare was), I scrambled down the long incline, picked my way over the pebbles, and stood, transfixed by the booming surf.
And I do mean "boom". Occasionally, I'd turn to scan the cliffs behind only to hear what sounded like a rapidly approaching, ravenous giant.

I only got caught once, with water swirling around my ankles, over my socks, and into my shoes. My fault - I panicked. Had I waited, the waters would have retreated enough to escape with dry feet.

As I wobbled slightly on barnacled rocks, soon to vanish under the incoming tide, it occurred to me that if this was my first time at Point No Point, it was likely my last.

You reach a point in your life when you stop assuming you'll be back, that you'll have another chance. The first time this happened for me was when elder daughter graduated from her university in Halifax, and I realized we probably wouldn't return.

I took far too many photos of breakers, hoping to seize and preserve one perfect rising, curling, crashing.

My time ran out, and I climbed the winding path, past ancient trees with trunks that wind and meander like serpents in the shade.

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