Sailing Halifax Harbour
I arrived on a beautiful sunny afternoon…the smell of diesel and shellfish hitting me like a rock as I got out of my car. I was at the friend of a friend’s waterfront property near the mouth of the Halifax Harbour. It’s a quiet place with a two-storey building he uses to build kayaks, and a weathered grey wharf. It’s always as neat as a pin – a strong contrast to the neighbour’s dilapidated green building that’s missing shingles and has grass growing out of the roof, thanks to the many seagulls who land and drop their “parcels” before heading back out to sea.
The three of us headed carefully to the small sailboat, our life jackets on, and packed the supplies safely in a compartment below. We pulled slowly away from the mainland, passing the many fishing boats that created a kaleidoscope of turquoise and jade green, and I waved at the half dozen children with their rods on the high wharf above. “Did you catch anything?” I hollered. “Yeah, but we had to throw ‘er back…too small!” I nodded.
We cornered and picked up speed in the channel between McNabs and Lawlors Islands and ventured toward Devils to see the old lightkeeper’s house, which had been flattened by Hurricane Earl. The salt air filled my nostrils as the sea spray hit my face at every turn. The ocean seemed peppered with seabirds. The Cormorants dotted the sky,looking for food, and I watched with anticipation as they hovered before doing a nose dive like a B-52 bomber when they saw a mackerel below. It was quite a performance, with all species taking part. The five seals were closer to their prey and swam back and forth from being in their group to spacing themselves out, so that they, too, could take advantage of the abundance of my favorite fish, which were jumping out of the water like I’d never seen before!
As we changed our course, I had to duck while the men changed the direction of the sails and I wondered if I would be hit in the head and knocked inside on the floor. When we got away from the main action, I climbed up on the front of the boat, barefoot and anxious to feel the cool, salt water on my toes as I listened to the flutter and shift of the sails…aaah…a small piece of Heaven.
Last person to jump off a cliff
wearing a parachute
Thinking: “(Trembling)….Ohhh…I’m last…(heart pounding)…My
chest feels like it’s in my back…(licking lips)…Wait up!!….(jaws numb)… I’m chilled…(heart pounding….anxious…jumping off of cliff … invigorated)…haha…(panting)…Wh…wh…what if my pack’s not
right?…(panting)…What if I land on someone?…….My gut hurts…What
if I die?….(labour breathing)…whoo…whoo…(hands tingling…feeling
light-headed)…Okay…whoo…pull the cord…haha…wow!!!…It’s
beautiful!!!…(nervous laugh)…Thank you, Jesus!!!… oh, wow!!! …whoo…… aahh…(closing eyes)…whoooo…(sweating)…Wow! …
look at that view…getting closer…(relaxed breathing)…(trees are getting bigger)…whoo…this is great!…haha…Am I crazy?…hahaha…I’m scared!…What a rush!…There’s the field…phew!…(bump…running…heart pounding…face numb…feels like lock-jaw…ankle turning)…CRACK!!!…”
The Best Gift I Would Like to Receive
I believe that the best things in life are free: love; caring family and friends; the sun rising on dew-kissed grasses and flowing through the sky; the wind that blows the sails of ships and rustles the leaves of the mighty oak; beaches that change with the ebb and flow of the tide on an eve with a sunset the color of a cherry Popsicle; rainbows and God’s promises… These I love. Food and shelter I have.
There are many things, though, that God has not made, and they have a price, which is high to most: higher education, air travel, immunizations. I believe that many good people will give supplies and books and a free place to stay, so the best gift to me would be a benefactor…one who would support my working overseas, so that I could share the gifts of humour, education, health and high self-esteem…to teach the people to be self-sufficient, yet be true to themselves…not to wish for the material wealth of the world, but to have enough to be healthy, wise, and go to bed without a grumbling belly…and to be safe from harm from people and animals who might attack…and safe from illness.
The best gift is not something that I can hold in my hand…it is what takes hold of my heart and soul…the joy of being with children and adults who truly appreciate what they receive and refuse to ask for more than they are meant to have. I hope you can be a part of this wonderful gift!
If I Had A Magic Blanket
If I had a magic blanket, I would make it into a coat, so that I could wear it at any time and feel comfy and safe, like a child going to bed with a favorite stuffed toy or when someone gives me one of their very best hugs. It would look like a giant, belted pashmina with fringes on the bottom and made of soft cashmere wool, so that it doesn’t itch, but keeps me dry when it rains. I could dress it up with dark pants and high boots, or more casually with jeans.
It would be a beautiful soft shade of steel blue, a little paler and a little grayer than Air Force blue. The color would be perfect for me – not too light, not too dark – so it would bring out my best features…my blue eyes and ash-blonde hair on a regular day, or green eyes when
worn with a lavender-coloured scarf wrapped around my head like a movie star travelling down a mountain road in a fancy convertible.
It would be down to my thighs and have a special power of protecting my body from fat cells and cellulite, so that I would have what I perceive to be the perfect body…curvy, but not big…and not too thin. It would give me common sense when I need it…and the skills to talk to people about subjects which I am not familiar, or to speak a comforting word when they are feeling down. I would smile every time I put it on and people would smile and feel happy and relaxed every time they saw me. It would give me a “bubble of protection” when I drive or walk at night and massages whenever I need them.
It would smell differently each time I paused to take a deep breath: calming vanilla – like my favorite candles; warming cinnamon sugar and butter on Mom’s fresh, toasted Maritime brown bread, or tangerine and pink grapefruit when I need to wake up or clear my mind.
On a cold night, it would smell like the salty sea air on a warm summer’s day, and – when I’m too warm – like fresh-fallen snow and sweet fir trees on a winter’s walk in the forest . When I’m anxious, it would smell like my father-in-law’s “woods jacket”…(smile)…chainsaw oil and smoke from the woodstove; (sigh)…he always made me laugh!
Of course, at other times it would smell of red roses…which I always think smell like fresh raspberries…and make me want to go to the fields and pick fresh berries and wildflowers, surrounded by nature – the sweet sounds of songbirds and a cow or two.
For now, tis only a dream…a bit of “magic” to lighten my day…but what if?
A Favorite Piece of Clothing: “My Red Fluffy Sweater” – by Tina Hiltz
My red fluffy sweater…bought from a thrift-store bin to keep me warm on cool nights at home on
the sofa or over a sleeveless nightie to cover my bare shoulders as I read in bed.
Squeezable…huggable…bringing contentment to my body and soul. Keeping me visible and
safe on the beach…warm…keeping out the salty winds of the Bay.
Photo credit: Courtesy of author