Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Eastern Passage

Marigold was happy at the prospect of a drive outside the city and her engine burbled gleefully as I sped along Pleasant St and through Shearwater towards Eastern Passage. The day was an unpredictable one, grey, sleet, rain, snow, wind and occasionally the odd glimmer of sunshine and blue sky bursting from within the heavy cover of grey cloud. A regular Nova Scotian day. The van radio had been stuck on a light rock station for a few months now, and the merry melody of Roy Orbison added to the mood of adventure. I had never been to Eastern Passage even though it was only a few kilometres down the road. The main thoroughfare eventually became Shore Rd, and there were fewer and fewer cars to accompany me on the journey. Marigold passed by rows of cottages, houses and the occasional mansion. A spatter of small stores and supermarkets appeared in front and gradually disappeared in the rear view mirror. Soon, all that could be seen were the houses on the left, and the wide expanse of the ocean on the right. I pulled over for a moment, to admire the view and snap off a couple of memory lane photos. I watched the rhythmic waves make their way towards the shore, casting small cascades of white foam as they broke upon the rocks. The colours were tinged with a grey melancholy, as if even the earth itself was trying to find cover from an expected snow storm. The waves gradually became larger, more powerful and impressive. Far in the distance, the shape of trees and outcrops became obscured as the rain and sleet began to build. I moved into the passenger seat, opened the window and breathed in the cold hard air. The heating in the van was non-existent, and the chilly air crept inside and clung to my fingers. I twisted the camera left and right, searching for interesting views and then captured them. Once saved to memory, I rolled up the window, changed back to the drivers seat and then putting Marigold into gear, I pulled back onto the road and continued through the village. I drove as far as I could, toward the golf course and then stopped when the road ended. A couple of surfers were preparing themselves for time on their boards. Their preparation almost ritual like as they donned dry suits, got their boards ready and then made their way down towards the waters edge. I watched them stand looking out across the water, gauging the force, the waves, the surge and building their anticipation.
The van was getting cold. Marigold doesn't like the cold much and bitches about it whenever possible. Realising that the prospect of having a van with no heat, no power and no will to return home, I revved up the engine, did a u-turn and then started back for Eastern Passage and Cow Bay Road. Considering the wind and weather, there were a few people out on the road, walking towards the village centre. Hardy people. I wondered where they were going, what they were going to do and if they were cold or not. I was beginning to feel it, and I was sat in the cab of the van, so I'm sure that they were either well insulated (which I was not), or that they didn't feel the cold the way I did.
I pulled into Cow Bay Road and began the winding course that would take me passed Rainbow Haven and numerous inlets, small shorelines and countless trees, stripped of all leaves by the winter. The scenery was quiet, damp and rugged. Every now and then a few rays of sunshine would break free from the cloud and illuminate the land with colours of warmth. Then they would disappear again, the view would change back to the mix of dulled fall and winter shades. Beautiful but somehow sad. I slowed the engine, cruising along at a slow pace to ensure I could take in as much of the passing terrain as I could. The ocean lay to the right, and between the trees, the hills and isolated houses I could see the white water of waves and spray build, roar and crash in cyclical fashion. Black dots of surfers moved backwards and forwards, waiting, searching for the rising water that would let them know the time to hop up on their boards and begin their journey towards the land, powered forwards by the strength of the sea. I drove onwards, up and down small hills and then the ocean left my view. I turned onto Bisset Road, the road that I knew would lead me back towards Cole Harbour, and Main Street which I would take on the way home. Bisset Road seemed long and empty, without the sea view, the scenery rolled by as Marigold hungrily chewed through the kilometres, winding effortlessly round curves. I was happy, I had not seen the ocean for a couple of months or so, and the short time spent watching the waves was calming. I drove with contentment, the van happy, the elements contesting gleefully and me sat in the driver seat viewing and feeling it all. As I eventually pulled back onto Main Street and started for home. I breathed in deep, a long sigh of satisfaction. I will return to Eastern Passage, to see it again. Hopefully when it is basking in sunshine and the ocean reflects the sky in shades of perfect blue. I look forward to driving there again and I'm sure that Marigold does too.

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