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Monday, June 28, 2010

Ebb and Flow

There is a trail about an hour's drive from the house that leads to where the Jervis Inlet meets the Sechlet Inlet creating world class white water rapids.  It's called the Skookumchuck Narrows where you can find rapids over 6 feet high and the current raging at over 30 mph. These rapids are similar to that of river rapids except caused by the dramatic change in tide that rushes some 200 billion gallon of water into the area at it's peak. Some say it is the fast tidal rapids in the world, fast than Norway's Saltstraumen.  I say it's one of the most spectacular sights created by nature. 

It's been over 10 years since I was last here and today's tidal change was rated "XL" peaking at 7:08 pm so I thought it perfect timing to revisit.   Doused head to toe in mosquito repellent, I set off solo only quickly to become accompanied by an unaccompanied canine, wet and eager for companionship.  Dog and I walked along and as he'd trot up ahead he'd stop, wait for me until I caught up.  This continued for a ways until I began to worry that it's rightful owners might actually be looking for him. I tried to shoo him away but when shoo-ing calls were mistaken as invitations to play, I cleverly hid in the bushes like a crazy person until dog gave up searching for his new friend and headed back.

The trail was easier than I remember it being wide, clear, flat, rich in green moss hanging from the canopy.  Ferns grew abundantly along the edges and the spring foliage was in full bloom. On the way to the rapids, you pass Brown Lake, which is in fact, not brown. It's not long before you reach the Skookumchuck rapids which is not misnomered: Skookum meaning "strong" or "powerful", and "chuck" means water.  

After reaching the rapids I was surprised to find myself the only spectator out today. I climbed out on the barnacle encrusted rocks, crouching for a while to watch the waves increase in height, speed, crashing into each other and over onto themselves.  Perhaps a regular camera would have been more successful at capturing this, but alas the camera phone will have to suffice.

As I watched my mind wandered to the analogous ebb and flow of the the rapids to the ebb and flow of life.  It is easy to draw the parallels to life when watching the rapids, the flow of water crash into itself, watching currents collide, the glass smooth wave flow before turbulently crashing into an oncoming wave only to be absorbed and erupt.  All the while, when watching from a far, it is all very chaotically beautiful and beyond human control.  Beyond chaos, it is rhythmic, predictable, patterned and ceaseless. 

These last few days, and probably weeks, have been an exercise in solitude. It's been an exercise in searching and definition of identity.  It's been an exercise lined with introspection, loneliness, acceptance, sadness, change and growth. Perhaps, this is the ebb in life, here things drift away, moving away making space for new waters to occupy a vacant space.  Perhaps this is the flow where the next stage is moving in, creeping closer to shore. I'm not quiet sure. When I step back, remove myself from my situation and station I see how, rhythmically and predicable like the tides the rising of the sun, the waxing and waning of the moon, the changing of the season, that this season is although seemingly unplanned, completely necessary to participate in the fullness and breadth that is the experiences of life.


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