It’s hard to get up when it’s still dark out. These mornings, it’s pitch black when we get out of bed and stumble around, getting Chris ready to catch the 6:45 ferry. We were running a bit late this morning, and in my haste, I managed to smash my finger when I opened the companionway for him. I knew it was bad, so I immediately iced it, but for some reason the pain made me feel faint, so I lay down on the settee. And started to cry.
Chris stood with one foot on the ladder, his satchel over his shoulder. Should he stay? Should he go?
“Go,” I said. “I’ll text you if I faint.”
I didn’t. After a good cry, I felt much better. About my finger anyway. I was still wondering how I would get Bica to shore. Yesterday’s big wind (we saw it hit 40 knots, which is about 80 kilometres per hour) has blown the water to the other side of the lake, dropping the water level here. The ramp to shore is at a seriously steep angle. Going up the ramp carrying Bica is bad. Coming down is worse. Especially with the waves bouncing the ramp and the dock and the boat around. And the last thing I want is to fall into the water with Bica in my arms, into the pool of leaves and scum and Styrofoam containers that the wind has blown in.
I checked the temperature—7 degrees—and decided to dig out my toque and a pair of gloves. Or at least I thought they were a pair. Turns out they were both left-hand gloves so I had to wear one upside down. I put on my hoodie and a jacket, my good running shoes (they have the most tread), and stepped off the boat onto the bouncing dock. Bica wasn’t convinced that I could get here safely to shore, but I coaxed her into my arms and wobbled my way up the dock.
I made it, I’m happy to say. And obviously I made it back to the boat or I wouldn’t be writing here. But it wasn’t easy.
The beach was deserted again this morning, but I kept a sharp eye out as Bica romped along in front of me. Last week a coyote was spotted at the edge of the woods beside the beach, one eye on the red cat who sits on the fence every morning and the other on a squirrel. The cat was rescued by an intrepid islander. The squirrel, probably not so lucky. I think Bica is too big for a coyote to take, but I don’t want to find out.
The beach was sheltered from the wind this morning, and the sun is still reasonably warm, so I was able to take off my mismatched gloves and throw the ball for Bica a little. But she was happy to just trot along beside me, the ball in her mouth. I guess swimming season is pretty much over.
We took the long way back to the boat, said good morning to the red cat, wandered past the Island Café, closed now, as I’ve said. A sad sight. I sat on my favourite bench for a while, wishing I could go to the counter and order a large coffee and a pumpkin spice muffin. But that’s pretty much over now, too.
They say the secret to a long life is knowing when it’s time to go.
It’s time to go.