I don't know what I may seem to the world, but as to myself, I seem to have been only like a boy playing on the sea-shore and diverting myself in now and then finding a smoother pebble or a prettier shell than ordinary, whilst the great ocean of truth lay all undiscovered before me.
We decided we earned a late morning (7:30), and leisurely packed up for our intended destination of Camper Bay. We sank under loose sand for most of the time, draining our energy, but compared to the mud and the rotting boardwalks of the forest trails, it was delightful: kilometers of the most pristine and virgin beaches, and not a cloud in the sky. We wondered aloud if these beaches and cliffs would one day be pools and condominiums. Along the way, we decided to cut our day's hike short and stop at Walbran Creek --we deserved the break, and we were a day ahead anyways.
(We crossed paths with a man running the trail in the opposite direction. He was a few minutes ahead of the world record apparently, and had nothing but runners and a little daypack.)
I checked the tide charts a few kilometers before Walbran, and we had a decision to make:we could take a route back through the forest to safely cross the creek via cable car, or we could try to beat the high tide and wade across while it was still possible.
How could we pass up the more direct and adventurous route? The hike was a breeze compared to the day before, and we were boundless. So we trekked onward through the sand, with snakes and ferrets by our feet; a deer in the distance; sea lions barking along the shore; tunnels and channels and caves and holes built by millions of years of ocean on rock. We arrived behind schedule--two hours before high tide. By then, the creek had swelled up below our chest, a heavy current that would take us out into the Pacific if we lost our footing.
And on the other side, bathed in sunshine, sandy beaches and logs and shade awaiting. We unclipped our gaiters, pulled the straps on our packs tight, and tip toed through the frigid water, soaked, smiles, warm. Only once I almost tripped. We were the first to arrive.
Walbran was paradise. I have never been somewhere so beautiful and flawless. We found a spot nested between large driftwood and dried cedar. The sand was warm and dry and comforting. To the heat, to the sun, to the crash of the waves and the hiss as it retreated, to the smell of salt and last night's fires, it was all perfect. We arrived around 3, and for the first time this trip, we had the luxury of time. So we rested.
We hung up our clothes, our packs, pitched the tent and sat with our backs against the logs and closed our eyes for a little while. Eventually, others trickled in, and the silence died. But we were warm, rested, comfortable and happy. I cannot think of a single moment or place I would rather be than at Walbran that day.
West Coast Trail
Some mornings I would tip-toe down the steps and take a deep breath and maybe close my eyes for a moment, and
When my nostrils prickled
And my father's signals
Felt as foreign and far as to us and the stars
When (through cracked eyelids)
I could see sun. breath. a stretch.
When every whisper from man or creature
Echoed over dirty ridges, like the Rockies, along the side of the road
When the air clenched my throat and ran its salty fingers through my eyes (still closed), then
Then I would open them again and sigh.
I was never tired in these mornings
Everything made a little sense in these mornings. But
Some mornings I would slip on the steps
Some mornings chilled the bone
Cold and anger not distant strangers but lovers,
Lovers that made breakfast together, snuck kisses around corners, rushed home to each other. Those kind of lovers.
Then a thorn in my head
Coaxing to a fall down a hole where I was three years ago
Sometimes the waters break
And smiles and hellos are left unattended, sitting at a bus stop with nowhere to go
But then it was night,
A blanket to return to
Silencer of cars
Stretcher of shadows
Speaker of the secrets that i would love to know
A break of wave stretching to every crevice and hole and all that is left of daylight and its complications cower on their poles
In headlights and taillights
In the refrigerator
I had survived another spin on this satellite
And I would walk up the steps that I had tip-toed and slipped on
Cooking up something good:
' "But,' says one, 'you do not mean that the students should go to work with their hands instead of their heads?' I do not mean exactly that, but I mean something which he might think a good deal like that; I mean that they should not play life, or study it merely, while the community supports them at this expensive game, but earnestly live it from beginning to end...to study chemistry, and not learn how his bread is made, or mechanics, and not learn how it is earned; to discover new satellites to Neptune, and not detect the motes in his eyes, or to what vagabond he is a satellite himself; or to be devoured by the monsters that swarm all around him, while contemplating the monsters in a drop of vinegar. Which would have advanced the most at the end of a month--the boy who had made his own jack-knife from the ore which he had dug and smelted, reading as much as would be necessary for this, or the boy who had attended the lectures in metallurgy at the Institution in the meanwhile, and had received a Rodgers penknife from his father? Which would be most likely to cut his finger?...The consequence is that while he is reading Adam Smith, Ricardo and Say, he runs his father in debt irretrievably.'
East Coast wins fall. Just maybe.
Eating my stir fry: