For many childhood summers, always during the month of August, our family would pack up the car, tossing in the bright plastic buckets and shovels, oversized towels, a large, loaded cooler, dented and scratched from use. These items crammed into the trunk of the Wagon. We would head to the ferry terminal to sail across the Strait of Georgia, to Kaye Bay Lodge, on Vancouver Island. My sister and I cherished this time, as it was an opportunity to spend uninterrupted time with our father, in what could only be described as our Camelot. Fortunately, those were the days before cell phones and computers; we were completely disconnected from daily life, as we knew it. Dad would relax, explore the beachfront, and swim in the chilling Pacific Ocean with us; we knew where he was and that fact comforted my sister and me. My sister would hang seaweed and kelp from our father’s head and shoulders. Our Prince of Tides. If the tides were right, we would dig for clams. My father taught us how to look for the tell-tale bubbles, barely visible under the low puddles of seawater. Other times, we would walk farther out, our tiny feet feeling the damp, cool sea floor, to pick oysters for supper.
Freedom to play for hours on the warm, sandy beachfront and opportunities to mix with others awaited us. This vacation was the highlight of our year and became a wonderful family tradition, especially when my cousins began to join us. My sister and I would compare it to taking a peek into heaven, imagining that if we could actually do so, we would be blinded by the brilliant rays of sunlight, multi shades of blue from turquoise to azure, and an earth below us, that sparkled like diamonds in the light. The white, fluffy clouds, cushioning and carrying our tired, little bodies. On the beach, there would be precious moments of love and laughter, children and adults spending time together, singing around a campfire, the sharing of meals, and arms encircled, as we held one another close, allowing nightfall to curtain the scene, bringing another beauteous day, to an end.
A peek into heaven, it truly was. We couldn’t wait to rise at dawn, arguing over who would get which, Kellogg’s mini cereal box. Our cabin was rustic, made of sturdy logs, one of the original structures on the property. There was a small front step to rest on. Yellowed, wild beach grass grew on either side of the structure. The occasional shell would find itself relocated to rest just outside the cabin walls. We never explored the backside of the cabin, too afraid of what we might discover. At night, in our tiny room, we would draw the curtain to avoid looking through the thin glass window and to keep the night away. I still fear the darkness of night. The silence allows my mind to activate and I begin to remember memories, both happy and sad, however, then, the silence was comforting as the rhythm of the ocean’s waves, crashing to the shore, lulled us to sleep. We were content, dreaming of our beautiful days spent at the beach. A peek into heaven, it truly was, for my sister and me.