A thin warmth. Cloudless sky. Sunlight in the eyes. February 13th, Family Day, a holiday. With all of that said in one line, Valentine’s Day arrives under the forecast of more rain and wind. There’ll be no wine and chocolates here. February 15th proves the weatherman right, Torrential rain begins in the evening and is still drumming down in the morning. With yesterday’s news came the story that iconic CBC story teller Stuart Maclean had died. I confess that I envied his success and how everyone seemed to love his work, no matter what their personal tastes were. He will be long missed. His eloquence and ability to consistently deliver a simple yet compelling story, punctuated with clever humour, will remain a standard for all writers and story tellers.
Another story comes from Nanaimo. Young parents contacted the media with a plea for their autistic youngster. Apparently the child had been introduced to Kraft Dinner in specially packaged “Star Wars” boxes. Now, he’ll eat nothing else. Yeah right! Let him miss a meal or two and he’ll start looking at real food differently. The request, carried by several national media sources, begged for more of the non-food. I can’t believe it. Golly gee molly-coddler! This poor kid has a bleak future. Flash ahead a few decades and he’ll be another dude in a studded dog-collar panic-stricken about getting to a metal concert. I mention this only as example of our world gone mad. To me, it is ludicrous that so much press be given to a non-story and that such crass values are promoted. Once again I’ll gently mention Syrian refugees (As one example) and what our perspectives would be if we walked a short way in their shoes. Imagine walking across a continent hoping to find a place, any place to make a new home. The next meal? Who knows what or when? So many of us live in a world so abstract we’ve lost our grip on basic reality.
Something to do, someone to love, something to look forward to, all the rest is gravy. By week’s end, the kid has a lifetime supply of the crap. Hmmm! Maybe I could sell the media on a plaintive tale about an old dufus who needs to sail south for health reasons.
Saturday morning brightened under a light fog. Soon blue sky began to show. ‘Seafire’ and I were gone like a shot. With the weight of winter weather, health issues and all the trials of life I desperately need to remind myself of why I’m living here alone and clinging to a dream. I stop in Bella Bella for groceries then head south. Within a short while I found myself at the opposite corner of Denny Island, out of sight and out of mind of my daily drudgery. What a feeling! I had the world to myself and every possible destination lay before me on this pristine, cloudless, glorious day. The urge to keep on going was compelling. I met the Prince Rupert ferry as I exited Lamma Pass. We chatted briefly on the radio before we saw each other. There is some comfort in hearing another human voice within the emptiness of this massive wilderness. We pass and the seaway is empty again. I looked down the long stretch of Fitzhugh Sound and ached for the distant open horizon. Instead I’m writing at anchor in Codville Lagoon. It is cold, there is a skim of ice on much of the lagoon. The boat sits at anchor as if it were aground in butter. The stars are incredible. Their reflection on the calm black water leave me feeling as if I’m adrift in the universe with stars all round. I have the universe to myself. It is a fantastic feeling.
Sunday dawns with a high thin overcast. All around the boat there is a skin of ice on the lagoon. I have about a mile of ice-breaking ahead of me. Even a thin layer can damage the gel coat on a fibreglass boat. When I weigh anchor I leave it dangle at the water’s surface. It helps break the ice before it contacts the bow stem and only a few chips of bottom paint are knocked away. I pull my prawn trap and head back across Fitzhugh Sound and back up Lama Passage toward Shearwater and another week of work. There is no wind, the sails stay furled. It was not an especially remarkable little trip but I’ve reaffirmed that I hold the option of leaving at any time. At any time I can be gone in a couple of hours. That, in itself, is worth more than any sum of money. Three hours later, ‘Seafire’ is back in her berth. I wash her down, fill the water tank, make a mug of tea and start to edit the weekend’s photos. It begins to rain.
“Be happy for this moment. This moment is your life.”