Sunday, 4 May 2014

The Last Time, Again

This is our second day in Ucluelet. It is also our last for this trip, and perhaps my last forever. That's part of the problem for me these days, and on this trip in particular. I've begun seeing things as "the last time I might do this", begun to start looking at things as if I might never see them again. Of course for some thing this is always true. Today is the oldest I have ever been, and I will never again be as young as I was yesterday. On a more practical note, this may be the last opportunity I have to visit Ucluelet, or maybe not.

I remember seeing my Dad this way in the last month of his life. His goodbye was short and sharp. There was no uncertainty for him. The last weeks of his life were certain; cancer was taking him and he knew it. Thanks to my brother Adam, my Dad got to spend time seeing things and doing things that meant something to him; going fishing, seeing the mountains, spending time on a boat. Thanks to my own unique long, slow goodbye, I am doing these things for myself so far, although Mike has been a great partner on this trip. Soon I will need help to do these things I may not do again.

Today's adventure will be a short one, or at least that is the plan. Our intent is to check out of our room and head over to Nanaimo, about a three hour drive, or perhaps a hour tour rather like the Minnow. The road between here and Port Alberni was a night drive on our way in. Today it will be a daytime drive, exposing to us the dramatic cliff and lake edges along which the highway runs, bordering Kennedy Lake, and then taking us through the mountains that make the backbone of this island, the western-most mountain range in BC, the one people forget about, thinking this island is all shoreline and gentle forests.

Once in Nanaimo, we will be forced to make a decision. Do we go onward, across the ferry to Vancouver, or do we stay the night in Nanaimo after a short road day? Either way, we are compelled to stop in Nanaimo for afternoon coffee so that Mike can have a Nanaimo Bar in Nanaimo. That's a lot of Nanaimo's in that paragraph!

I am not sure if this will my last visit to Tofino or Ucluelet. I am not sure that I will ever have the opportunity to make this drive again. I'm not going to worry about it, at least not too much. After all, nobody really knows when it's their last time for anything. At least I get some warning. At least I get the opportunity to think about it, to drink in the experience, to live for today, here in the now.

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