I don’t know where exactly we will be when you are reading this, but somewhere on the northern BC coastline, my wife and I are celebrating our 5th wedding anniversary. We’re probably having Top Ramen for dinner. If she’s lucky, there may be a candle or two left that I will light for the occasion, but it stays light out so long in these latitudes that it’s hard to notice a candle going at dinner time.
Wherever it is that we are, I’ll probably congratulate myself once again on having dodged all the fancy, expensive, dressy, floral-arrangement infused evenings that an anniversary in the city would entail. We’re nearly always out somewhere far from civilization when this date rolls around and consequently, it’s a far more relaxed affair for me than for most men. Heck, two out of the five years, Mandy forgot what day it was completely.
Being out cruising does strange things to your sense of time. And, other than the actual day of our wedding, we’ve always been out sailing somewhere each summer when July 18th pops up in the log book. And even the year we got married, we left immediately to sail around Vancouver Island for our honeymoon trip.
But there are several anniversaries that go by each summer for us, not all of them as pleasant to contemplate.
Last month, we celebrated the second anniversary of our purchase of Rosie. Mandy baked brownies to celebrate. But although they were gooey and delectable, nonetheless they seemed a little dry in my mouth that week. Because that same week is the week that a good friend of mine passed away, and all my memories of that period of closing and inspection and relief are inextricably bound up with the funeral and grief. When Mandy mixes up her brownies, it’s my cue to think about the phone call I have to make to his widow while they are in the oven.
It is also around the same time of year that we finally had to put Rosie’s namesake, our calico cat Rosie, to sleep. Her picture is painted on our transom and I see it all the time; but it’s more haunting in that week, and the pathetic and soft meowing as I took her to the vet for the last time still mingle with the guilt and sadness I felt that summer.
And here’s where the flip-side comes into that time-bending ability that sailing seems to bring with it: it can also make things that were long ago seem very recent. There’s no numbing sense of history in between me and those memories.
But by now, by mid-July, it’s better memories that are surfacing, and those, too, are amplified by the detachment, and by the reinforcement of seeing again many of the same places we passed on that first honeymoon trip.
I don’t know where I am when you were reading this, but there is a fair bet that I am looking forward by now to stopping at Hot Springs Cove soon.