Somewhere Mom has a picture tucked in an album – probably a short series of pictures come to think of it. Bright sunshine, blonde hair, lots of smiles, two girls playing boats with driftwood logs big enough to float with them perched clinging on top. It was probably at Comox Lake, a glacier-fed frigid lake not far from my grandparent’s home. I remember that day, just the vaguest tickle of a memory. Cold water. Enormous logs. I was young enough that I wasn’t comfortable in the water at all, but still had fun. I’m guessing I was four, as I doubt I’d remember it if I had been two, even with the assistance of photos.
After arriving in Comox this weekend, Betty and I took Cameron to the beach at Goose Spit for an evening play time. The tide was far too high for any of the sand there to be exposed, even too high to find crabs tucked away under rocks. In a couple of hours this patch of the beach would be high and dry, not pleasant for crabs at all. So instead, Betty and Cameron waded (I didn’t have shoes to wear in the water, and the rocks were foot-bruising painful) and played. We threw rocks. I borrowed Betty’s shoes for a bit so I could play too.
Best of all though, Betty got Cameron sitting on the driftwood. He had a stick in his hands as a paddle, kayaking in his imagination. Holding tightly to him, she pulled him out so his kayak was floating! Yeah, we had one soaked wee boy on the way home. Soaked, but happy, excited, and a little proud of himself I think.
Late the following afternoon we headed back, all three of us with swimsuits on. The day had been hot and sunny, so a swim was in order. With some cajoling and convincing, His Highness finally approved of a log and deigned to sit on it. While Betty was trying to find one to suit him I was sure the evening was going to be a stand-on-the-shore flop. Nope! Out we went, deeper and deeper, with Cameron squealing and shrieking with glee as I’ve never heard him squeal and shriek. Here’s where my new camera is a problem – it’s not water proof, so no pictures! You’ll have to just imagine the late-afternoon sun, driftwood afloat, blondish boy in blue sun/swimsuit and bright orange foam clogs clinging, laughter of three people filling the beach. Eventually he came off the log and cling instead to us in turn, as we swam. He’d been wading pretty deep in salt water before, but this was his first swimming experience outside of a pool I think. To amuse him (and because it felt so good) I ducked under water and swam a very short distance while he was in Betty’s arms. She did the same too later, swimming much further and surprising him. The water was just cool enough that it felt the right temperature if you kept moving, and oh it felt good to swim and float.
And so, Cameron learned that seawater is salty. That logs float well enough to carry little (big) boys. And that the beach is fun at high tide too.