Updated: Nov 22, 2020
I was caught by surprise when an old friend called me out of the blue. The call came in as I unpacked our picnic beside this bench with the ocean unfolding before me at Little Cates Park. The traditional name for this land is Whey-Ah-Whichen which means ‘faces the wind’.
"How are you?" she asked. It was a simple question, no agenda attached, no #BLM prompting her connection. A genuine thing a friend of 20 years asks another. I contemplated answering with my standard "I'm fine" response and in that brief moment, I realized I was actually a little bit sad.
Why did I feel dragged down like the low tide I saw ahead of me?
I'm not an emotional person I told my cousin not too long ago...but the truth is I wouldn't even know if I was. Blurred in a dizzying frenzy of jumping from one child's needs to another to another. Kissing one boo boo, packing and unpacking sandwiches, picking up toys and vacuuming the car at 3AM. Most days, I don't actually have time for my own feelings. Except tired. That's a feeling I can usually identify...but is it really a feeling? I bet many mamas out there can relate. So, now, at this beautiful spot, where the ocean and mountains looked like they had been painted in front of me, and just for me, why was I feeling a bit sad? This place was too beautiful to come here with misery I felt.
I looked out to the sea. A beautiful heron stood frozen in its gaze into my soul.
The truth is, when I get to these beautiful places and there are so many to discover, I want to be sitting beside someone I really love. I want another adult to sit with and just to soak it all in together. Even if we don't say a word to each other. In that moment, I was wishing for someone to share in my feeling of impermanence. I wanted someone to acknowledge my presence on earth and the joy of being a part of infinity.
I also desperately wanted someone to join in the admiration of the scampering crabs darting from overturned rocks, and the scavenger hunt for the largest clam shells. This type of adventure doesn‘t interest Mark though and for the most part, that was okay because the children more than ever filled that role.
But, I had hustled with the bags and the bikes and the tarp to sit on. I lugged the jackets and the water bottles and the scooters too. Now that we had arrived, suddenly, I sat alone while the children hurried off to play. They went off to explore the pre WWII ruins of an old Dollar Mill, darting in and out of it on their bicycles. They didn't seem to notice or need me at the moment. I should have been thrilled to have a moment to myself, but I actually already missed their company. I could hear other families enjoying the tennis courts and the playground behind me And I let my own thoughts wander.
Finally, I decided to embrace my low feeling and climb down the hill towards the beach to begin my own adventure. I walked carefully over the shore where there was once waist high water, now the bare ground was exposed. The crunch of the ground was loud, but not loud enough to drown out my wistful thoughts.
A mother's journey can often feel alone. And while I was grateful for the call of sisterhood from a friend provinces away, there was nothing that could replace holding hands on the edge of the sea. I often wonder what it would be like to live in a village void of any isolation.
Suddenly, I felt the slip of two little hands in each of mine. My 3 & 4 year old, attracted by my own curiosity had come to explore the beach with me. With glee in their voices and exclamations that always began with "Mom! look!", I felt my heart rejoice. My children lifted me out of my low instantly with their reappearance. The air completly filled with their delight.
Just listen to the sound of our voices in this video.
We spent the next hour talking and sharing our finds inching our way back to the grass as the tide began to come in. I was reminded at the end of the day, when it felt like all ranges in emotions had been expressed, that it is okay to embrace each feeling wholeheartedly and then let it go. Like the ebb and flow of the tide, it is okay to make time to simply feel. This park overlooking the Indian Arm to the north and the Burrard Inlet to the south is the perfect place to let it all out.
Side note: Little Cates Park is one of my favorite places to go when Black Berries are in full bloom at the end of July. There is something about the berries that grow close to the sea that always make them tastier to me.
Bonus points- this park has proper washrooms and 22 hectares with the meandering Malcolm Lowery Trail to wander through. Connected through trails to BIG Cates park, this playground is much more quiet and a secret spot many don’t know about.
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You can read about other parks by going to www.DazlynDays.com
Washrooms- Standard with multiple stalls