This town has small boundaries and there’s not many places to go before you’ve left entirely. The majority of the touristy things boasted about are not even in the town proper. They are somewhere else. We are the ‘access point’ for better places, like Tofino (surfing and hiking and miles of beach with nothing on the horizon – a creepy sight to most West Coasters, where our ocean vistas are normally cluttered with islands).
There is a persistent belief that Return of the Jedi had scenes filmed in Cathedral Grove, a stately grotto of fat and mossy cedars a few miles out of town – all the Ewok stuff. The most lackadaisical Googling disproves this, but many people in town still take pride in the idea that to get here, you must pass through “Endor”.
The town motto is “Gateway to the Pacific West Coast.” Yes, even the motto acknowledges that we are just a place on the road to somewhere else. Maybe you can grab some Subway before you get to where you want to go.
I meant to write about swimming. I don’t know how that other stuff just happened. I “logged in” to my “blog” to register my feelings about swimming, which I really enjoy, and to mention how chlorine never really washes out of the skin and it is a smell that always makes me feel marginally more safe than when I smell plain and ordinary and human. I am not a very strong swimmer but the water is such a forgiving element it is easy to believe one is naturally aquatic when surrounded by all that slightly-not-warm-enough swimmingpool blue. From 6 am until 9 am every day it is “adult swim” and there are usually only 5 or 6 people in the pool, all of them older than (what appears to be? Not good at guessing age or weight) 60, except for me. Since I go about three times a week and recognize everybody and I never see any new faces it occurs to me that I am now a regular, too. For the first while of doing any activity you aren’t aware of the dynamics and who’s who. After several months in the pool at 7:30 – 8 every odd morning I guess I am one of them.
I do 1 – 2 kms of the breaststroke, without dunking my head.
On the mornings I don’t go swimming I always get a terrible feeling on the way to class. It is a variation on the terrible feeling I’ve always had, at some point or another. It’s a mix of doom, depression, and motivation. I feel temporal and unimportant, and I feel the dirt of the grave sifting down on me in clods. I am very aware of the bones inside me, and the bones inside of everyone else, and while juggling the stresses and responsiblities and expectations of learning, I am more-than-peripherally aware of how we are all just ambitious skeletons. We will be depleted and left behind under the dirt within 100 years. I look at a dull, empty field with litter in it, or a mountain top bald with altitude, and understand that such empty vastness is going to turn out better than me, nature trumps flesh with its inevitable rock and dirt and patient timespan.
This probably sounds way more depressing than I act or even feel…I mean, despite feeling invisible grave clods landing on me I think I’m pretty fun to be around.
To me, it’s just curious. I don’t know why I don’t think about those things on the mornings I go swimming.