I often go for walks without deciding where I’m going until I leave the house. Although this may sound impulsive, I seldom, if ever, regret my choice. But sometimes, getting to my destination is more of a challenge than the actual walk. And yesterday’s decision to walk on Barnston Island is a perfect example. Let me explain.
The day began with my Friday morning ritual of having coffee with my buddy Norm, at the Whitby House in White Rock. Norm and Dorean had just returned from Vancouver Island, where they had been house-sitting for the past two weeks.
You’d think that after meeting every week for years, we’d run out of things to talk about, but we always find something that manages to make us laugh and/or cry. And that’s the great thing about real friends – they love and support you, without mental reservation of any kind.
After our coffee, Norm and I usually go for a walk along the Promenade. During our walk, we talked and laughed at some memory that needed to be shared. Norm’s life has been, fascinating and he could write a best-selling book, but he wouldn’t because he enjoys reading instead. Norm reads more than anyone I know, and he often swaps books with Ed, our other mutual friend at the Whitby House. We always sit at the same table and take turns on who gets to sit in the cushion seat versus the wooden alternative.
I drove home afterward and spent a few minutes with Holly and then headed out for my walk. I was half-way down the driveway when I suddenly changed my mind. I’ll go to Barnston Island instead, I excitedly told myself.
The last time I went there was in the Spring of 2018. I walked with my friends Agnes, Leonard, Linda, Lawrence, and Philip. The thing I remembered most about that walk was the mosquitoes. They chased us around the island, and that took away a lot of the enjoyment.
So my timing for today’s walk was perfect. The sun was shining, and it was the ideal place to get my 10,000 steps in for the day. My goal is to walk at least 7,500 steps daily, which converts to approximately 5 kms. I track my walks on my Fitbit.
I drove north on 176 Street and knew that I needed to turn left on 104 Avenue but couldn’t get into the right lane because of the traffic. So I ended up traveling west on 104 Avenue, also known as the Perimeter Highway, all the way to the exit for New Westminster. But I prevented myself from getting angry and tried to laugh it off. It was too lovely a day to let anything bother me – but I could feel the trace of annoyance beginning to gnaw at my mind.
Finally, I came to the intersection where I was supposed to turn, but as soon as I made the turn, I realized it was the wrong road. I quickly did a u-turn and got back on 104th and drove to the next intersection.
I got to the ferry terminal, just as it was loading vehicles. Previously, I had never driven to the island and had been a walk-on passenger – so I decided to drive onto the ferry. It’s a tiny ferry that is pushed by tugboat back-and-forth across the river.
When the ferry reached the island, I had to back my vehicle off the boat. I then began searching for a place to park, but there was none. All I could see nearby were No Parking signs. I drove around for a few moments and then decided to take the ferry back to the mainland and park in the parking lot.
But when I got to the boarding area, the ferry had just left. So I sat in my car and waited. I had now become frustrated and knew that my anger was ready to ruin a perfect day. But I waited patiently and repeated the following mantra to calm myself: “I’m sorry, please forgive me, I love you and thank you.” Soon, I was smiling again.
This time, I backed onto the ferry. Once we reached the mainland, I quickly parked in the lot and walked get back to the loading area, but the boat had already left. So I sat and waited until it returned. While waiting, I kept repeating the mantra to keep myself calm, but my patience was diminishing with each minute.
After the vehicles were onboard, the passengers loaded.
As I stood on the ferry, I noticed a large white dog in the back of a pickup truck. The driver got out of his vehicle and jumped into the back to be with his dog. How beautiful – a dog owner with a huge heart! Seeing that warmed my heart.
“Excuse me, may I take a picture of your dog?”
The man jumped out of the truck and greeted me with a big smile. “Sure, be my guest!”
He reached out his hand and introduced himself. His name was Tyler, and his dog’s name was Ramone. He mentioned that he was coming to buy some hay from a farmer on the island. I petted Ramone, and I noticed that my frustration and anger had vanished entirely.
When I got off the ferry, I began my walk. I’ll finish this story with these video clips:
I hope you enjoyed viewing some of the sights and sounds of the island. However, to experience its fragrance, you’ll need to go there. But do it before the mosquitoes arrive!
Here are some photos from the walk:
Dedicated to Tyler and Ramone
Today’s tune from Danny’s library (purchased):