"Now you have gone, gone to whatever kind of place it may be,
the place where all are shorn..." - Aztec Prayer
The ferry was bearing rapidly towards home port, the engines chugging in the darkness, the lights growing larger by the second. I paddled for dear life. A ferry would never see me. I would not even look like a log on their radar. How could I be so stupid as to not carry a watch? One more bad decision in a breathtaking series of them. This must be the last sailing from Tsawwassen and this ferry must be very late. Waves and wind were minor considerations as I fully concentrated on moving the kayak as fast as humanly possible out of the shipping lane.
I managed. The ferry pounded by me, massive and unaware. My heart thudding, my body aching, my mind a dull roar, I cast my eye along the new surf’s edge for reprieve. There was none. The waves roiled against rocks. Rounding yet another tip of land, I began a strange paddle the likes of which haunts me still. I was beyond fatigue. The wind and water were unceasingly restless. Hugging the shore had always been my comfort. I found here that that I had to move further out to sea in order to be in the moonlight. The shore itself was as black as ink and the high tide covered all possible landing sites. I knew where I was. It was a gated community and not conducive to camping. I had to keep going.
It seemed like I was paddling for a long time. A sea lion came up beside me. These creatures can be longer than my kayak and fear once again flooded me. I started to sing. I sang to him and told him I appreciated his escort but that his immediate departure was greatly appreciated. He rose and fell beside me, snorting and curious. I sang some more. Eventually he left. I relaxed just a little.
|The Milky Way & Northern Lights|
Then something absolutely amazing happened. The Northern Lights began to play across the sky in bars and flames of wavering pink and green, a curtain of shimmering movement. I was overcome with awe. Everything seemed surreal. I started to feel that fatigue was playing tricks with my perceptions. My arms continued to move rhythmically and I became aware that my spatial sense was not working properly. I stared at the stars and the play of colour with the Milky Way as wonder and gratitude filled me. The lights danced. I paddled on through the night.