Thursday, September 4, 2008

an Indian summer forest hike

There is a pleasure in the pathless woods,
There is a rapture on the lonely shore,
There is society, where none intrudes,
By the deep sea, and music in it's roar:
I love not man, but Nature more

George Gordon, Lord Byron Child Harold's Pilgrimage

an island in the Bay of Fundy

In the fall of 2004, Thanksgiving weekend (which is in early October here in Canada) my nephew Michael got on a bus and came to stay with me for the weekend. That Saturday we hopped in my teal green Ford Escort station wagon, he newly 16 and with a learners permit and we drove - I drove, he drove, I drove some more. It was a gorgeous Indian summer day and an absolutely perfect day for a road trip. We went to the top of the hills, driven up on the ski lift, so that we could marvel at the splendour of fall colours from way up high, we hiked down steep hills through canopies of red and yellow trees and then we drove along the coast of the Bay of Fundy. We ate egg salad sandwiches wrapped in wax paper pouches while sitting in a parking lot and later fried clams, from a cardboard take out container and with a little wooden fork. We laughed, we talked and talked and we spent practically the whole day outside hiking and exploring. We took our time and we drove home along country roads in pitch blackness, we got a little lost and we laughed some more. It was a perfect day. We both took lots of photographs and it was one of my most favourite weekends ... ever.

Michael on the ski lift October 2004

Rain this early morning, the gentle but steady straight down kind of rain. No wind and no leaking. Merci Universe. Orange and lemon and patchouli bubbles. Coffee. Sigh. I've been up since 4am. I wake up often with a jolt - a jolt of missing. Ache & Sadness standing by my bedside shaking me awake.

I listen to a variety of things while sitting drawing at the teak topped desk (podcasts from itunes, books on CD and my beloved CBC radio 1) and yesterday I listened to one of Oprah's Soul Series interviews - this one with Elizabeth Lesser. She spoke for a time about grief and how Tears will and must wash away Sadness. How feeling grief and loss is the only way to make it through. He was like a brightly coloured rubber raft for me, solid and air tight, always happy and lighthearted - like a perfect summer day at the beach. Jake somehow kept me afloat ... and now it feels like I've fallen back in, I'm bobbing around in an ocean that's way too big for me, I'm treading water and learning how to swim to a new shore.


  1. Your paragraphs today are so beautifully written and poignant.

  2. I know how you feel. Quite often I feel like I'm treading water in choppy seas, when I used to feel like I was floating lazily on a gentle ocean.

  3. Hello. I love the description of that day back in 2004, sounds just like what I would call a perfect day too.

    Im sure Jake is missing you as well.

    Im going outside now to see if I can convince some lambs to come near my camera so I can update my blog, its been a while since I had the chance.


  4. What a handsome nephew! Keep swimming, friend, you will eventually reach the happier shore, I have no doubt.


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