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September 01, 2010

Fernwood Dock Unlimited

This morning, after a night of heavy rain, the sun was warm. It sparkled on the ocean. I got out of bed in some sweats and a T-shirt and after microwaving my coffee, I put on the same thongs I've worn all summer, the ones that have left my feet a perpetual black, and I walked outside.

As I crossed my backyard and walked around my car, I could feel the dew of the blades of grass tracing my skin.  I could hear my steps on the gravel of the road. I love the way, in the sun, long yellow sheaths of grass are backlit and golden.  The Arbutus bark has turned as red as it will ever get bronzed by a summer of sunshine. I saw the black bunny run across the road near the house that's been for sale for ever and 7 crows in a tree farther ahead.

I was headed the 15 minutes or so it would take me to get to my favorite dock, Fernwood Dock. I now feel that I have photographed this dock, including the image below, from almost every angle possible. I'd have to be under the water or in an airplane to get it some other way than I have already. But, I'm sure I'm wrong as I say that. I'm sure there are still more ways. That is the challenge.
As I was walking back down the dock after taking these photos, two people - a man and a woman - walked hurriedly towards me. "There are whales out there," they said. "We could hear them from the beach." I turned around and walked back with them. Why couldn't I hear them I wondered. I couldn't see anything either. They pointed again. "Near the end of Wallace island," they said. I could see them, barely. I caught the glint of the sun off their wet skin and intermittent black fins as arrows rising from the water. I could see the fine mist from their blowholes. Just barely. A whole pod of them near Wallace island.

We watched in silence. They had binoculars. More people showed up. There were 9 of us now.
"It must be the sockeye," she said. Another two locals showed up. "Friends called us. They could see them all the way up  Trincomali Channel. We haven't seen whales in this channel for a while."

Another recalled the time a pod of Orcas cornered a Minke whale all the way into Ganges Harbour. "They cornered it and finished it off," she said.

It was one of those mornings when I was really paying attention knowing that being here, surrounded by beauty, is not to be taken for granted. A morning when everywhere I looked a natural gift materialized.

I could get up out of bed, wearing what I'd worn to bed, throw on a coat, walk in flip flops down the road and feel the warmth of the sunshine on my face while it brightened the red of beautiful Fernwood Dock. I could play with my camera at 8:30 am, capturing reflections and experience others' fascination with barely visible Orcas across the water. I could see sailboats and power boats and follow the wake they made in the silence of faraway waves. I could share the experience with others, just as awestruck by the luck of living surrounded by beauty and peace in a world where so few get to experience that reality, consistently.

When was the last time you were really paying attention to your surroundings and counting your blessings? When was the last time you were looking around and knowing that the moment you were experiencing would never come again, in the same way, and that you must savour it because it is the present and it's all you have. Just one moment after another. If you do not savour them, your life is passing in numbness and then, with regret, you will look back knowing that you experienced only a small portion of what was right there in front of you holding your potential for joy as if in a palm stretched lovingly towards a blind man?


flameonglass said...

Memo, must charter plane for Gayle

Gayle said...

Yes. Get on that would you!