Everyone is hoping this will be one of those summers. We haven’t had one for a while.
The first summer I was here was one of those summers. Endless. Hot. A constant glare of white light pouring down from a cerulean sky; so white that it washed some of the green out of the landscape, but not too much.
There was a day in August that we spent at Bear Cove and the sun was so white it felt like a wide-as-the-sky laser that burned every bit of physical pain and mental regret in my body right out of it.
It was so bright that day that the sea was pure silver and the spruce trees on the shore were pure black. The stones on the beach were cool under my feet, but they seemed to be made of glass, reflecting the sky back on itself.
It was so bright that from about four feet in front of me, I could only see down a sort of tunnel of light.
The sun did all this to me all day without burning my skin. But it burned every unnecessary thought in my head right out of it for about three months.
And when the sun went down and I started feeling a little chilly, Himself and the other guys there built a bonfire that could be seen from Grand Manaan across the Bay of Fundy.
That day I decided that I needed to live in this place where the heat and light could actually transport me out of my body. And sitting at the fire could centre me again.
Every year since then I have looked forward to that day in August as a kind of mental resurrection, a sloughing off of all the crappy little physical and psychic nagging aches and pains picked up in the course of a year.
Bear Cove is a kind of pilgrimage. Of the type I used to do to Mount Brandon.
I start thinking about it at Easter, when I should be walking Mount Brandon.
Last year we didn’t really get one of those days.
We went to Bear Cove, but we didn’t spend the night there, and Himself was so tired he fell asleep on a rock at eight o’clock. But although I was disappointed at the time, it turned out that we didn’t really need it because we were getting married and that was the day that carried us through the winter this time.
But this year, it’s coming.
It has to. If I don’t have a Bear Cove day this summer, I will not be able to get through next winter.
I would like to bring everyone I know to this place on that day so that they can be psychically lasered too.
You can arrive at that place on that day with a lot of anguish in your heart and leave feeling lighter.
I don’t know if it’s because I have spent a lot of time this year on my own, and I am starting to imagine things, but I am starting to get a little floored by all the anguish I feel coming off people at the moment.
A little flattened. But denser. Not lighter, the way it should be.
We had to go to a funeral today. It was the remembrance ceremony for one of our wedding guests. She slipped away far too early.
The vicar spoke about anguish and about how sometimes people are better off letting go of the burden of it if it is too hard to bear. Being the person I am I sat there getting furious about a provincial healthcare system and a culture that allows people to carry that kind of load by themselves in the first place, and wondering why the family had to pick up a new load of anguish now that will be equally ignored by our society.
Maybe I am just imagining things. But from where I’m sitting I see people who are carrying unbearable loads of sadness, stress or grief, people who are sick and expected to embrace wires and tubes and machines and all kinds of technologies that they would otherwise ignore just to get better, people who seem to have fallen off my map completely, people who are just suffering quietly, apart from the odd comment on FaceBook, people who can’t stop gnawing at their pain no matter what I say.
All kinds of people.
I wish we could all go to Bear Cove on the hottest day of August, and lie in the long damp grass there and let the clover tickle our noses, and feel the heat unknot our bodies, and the sun blind us to what we’ve left behind on the mainland. And then when we are all completely transparent and light as a feather, Himself and I would cook a million lobsters and everyone would sit up and eat them with the juices running down their fingers watching the sun go down over the bay and listening to the whales blowing in the cove.
Just as it got dark, we would work together to gather enough wood to light a fire big enough to speak to each of us of those things in our hearts that we only take out and examine once or twice a year. But because we would be all there together in a circle it would never get too quiet.
And at some point someone who had found their centre again would wander down the beach and haul back the whitened bones of a fallen spruce, and we would lever it onto the flames and watch the sparks rise to the moon, carrying all those unspoken words up to whatever the hell it is up there listening to us.
The moon is up and very bright already, although it is still very light out. It’s a half moon tonight. It feels very near, just above my head.
Cancerian, I know. No sense of where I end and you begin. Near my birthday too. Yes, I know I talk a lot of shite when the moon is near.
But if anguish has made a pass at you right about now, you should come with me this time.
And if you can’t, promise me you’ll find your own Bear Cove this summer.
If we get a good summer this year, it will be because we all need one.
It’s nine thirty now and it’s starting to get dark. The bottle of wine has been opened. The peepers are peeping. The birds are calling goodnight to each other. Someone is tooling around the lake in a motorboat, but quietly. The dog is asleep under my chair. My inmyday list is echoing out into the night, that song that reminds me that I am just a speck in the cosmos.
Time to enumerate my blessings once again.
I don’t let myself stop until it’s completely dark. That way I know how lucky I am.