Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Gifts of the Sea

With temperatures plummeting below zero and a fresh dusting of snow, I find my thoughts drifting towards the golden, halcyon days of summer. We have not commenced spring greening here, and yet, it is the stillness and slowness of summer for which my soul yearned today. I spent much of the afternoon looking at pictures and recalling the glorious week my husband and I spent at our little rented cottage at Qualicum Beach on Vancouver Island last year.

I remember the night we watched as a canoe paddled among ducks, gulls and terns as a great moon rose, first as an edge of gold, then as a ruddy face, suspended, round and full.

I remember drifting on a buoyant sea under the changing shapes and hues of cumulus and cirrus clouds, and passing gulls and eagles.

I remember lying on a towel on the sand, the rippling heat rising as if from a live creature.

I remember the way the beach cobblestones gleamed beyond a shore rim of alder and driftwood.

I remember how easy it was to empty my mind by the sea ... to let myself become wholly immersed in the elemental gifts to be found there.

I remember the briny aroma of the ocean mingled with the scent of sunlight on bleached wood.

I remember watching the rhythmic advance of whitecaps, and listening to the roll and crash of breakers hush-shushing the shore.

I remember the rush of happiness each morning as I opened my eyes anew to the genial gifts of the sea.

I remember the blue and white dance of the sun dazzling me, drenching me inside and out with light.

I remember the day we ate fish and chips sitting on upturned kegs on the wharf, licking our fingers, and feeding bits of flesh to the screaming seagulls.

I remember the pure felicity we had in seeking out small pieces of weathered driftwood to take back to the cottage to burn as kindling.

I wonder how much the geography of a place shapes the spirit of its people? Do prairie people know a boundlessness that mountain people cannot understand? Do sun dwellers have an alchemy of spirit that we winter people can only guess at? I only know that at the moment, I am longing to shed my winter self.

1 comment:

  1. For several years Vancouver Island was our favored vacation destination. Our favorite spots were Victoria, of course; Parksville, which is right next to Qualicum; Tofino on the West Coast, and Port Hardy, which is almost at the north end. Since the exchange rate has been so unfavorable for Americans, we haven't been in several years, but your post brought back a flood of memories about our Parksville days:

    I remember the endless fascination of watching the tide come in and go out.

    I remember a constellation of sand dollars on the beach, some still alive and covered with black hairs.

    I remember going to Coombs to the farmer's market that has goats on the roof.

    I remember buying Dungeness crabs to cook and feasting on them with melted butter and white wine and not much else.

    Mmmm. Maybe the economy has recovered enough for us to afford a trip!