It’s worth remembering, when times are hard, that the ocean will bring you to the present.
At the mouth of the Strait of Juan de Fuca, sculpted by the ferocity of the Pacific Ocean, resides the anomalous rock formations of Botanical Beach. In the company of several friends and Pogo, an equable dog with a sizable mustache, we ambled slowly across a vast rock shelf, rife with deep, organism-filled pools. Like the contours of a fish bowl, many of the depressions curved under the rock, leaving us to peer beneath our feet at sea stars, urchins, anemones and crabs.
The discoveries made by a rock pooling child will build them into their future self, whilst those made by a rock pooling adult will return them to their childhood.
Driving makes me nervous. And until recently, I had always assumed it to be down to three things: my phobia of crashing; the expense of upkeep and gas; and the thought of antagonising other drivers with the resounding deficiency of my gas-giving foot.
But I realised today, whilst combing a pebble beach along the eastern shoreline of the Saanich Peninsula, Vancouver Island, that perhaps there is another explanation.
Stuck within the walls of a grunting motor vehicle, we become confined to particular channels and restricted sensations. Yet, when we walk, we hold on to our autonomy; blunders are forgiven – moreover, they are praised – constraints are few and our minds, as well as our bodies, are free to wander towards reward. ‘Perhaps that’s it?’ I thought, as I picked up a smooth, pallid stone from within the swashing waves and held its cool body between my fingers. ‘I’m nervous about driving for the fear of inhibiting what is truly natural. Walking promotes freedom.’