Sitting in Nanaimo’s BC Ferries terminal for two and  a half hours with a sniffly, sore-throaty four year old is so not my idea of a fun adventure. They don’t even have a playground! However, a mini-adventure was one of the events that probably led to this wait.

We’d said our goodbyes, lots of kisses for Nana, and Cameron gave her a heart-filled card he’d helped make.  What stood out the most about this weekend was that this was the first time that Cameron really tried to interact with Nana, tried to talk with her and include her in his world. Her hearing isn’t the best anymore to put it mildly, and so his attempts sadly fell a little flat, but now and then she responded to him. But just his trying made me feel all warm inside.

Mom and I both thought I’d have plenty of time to get to the ferry terminal. We didn’t count on the rain, traffic in Nanaimo, and Cameron having to go pee partway there, I guess. Oh, and maybe something else.

Our drive out of Comox took us past land that used to be Farquharson Farm, but was purchased some years ago by the Pacific Estuary Conservation Program.  Cameron had noticed  white dots against the green fields from some distance away, and I could see in the rear view mirror of the rented car that he was peering that way. I asked, “Do you see them, Cameron?” He looked justifiably puzzled. “Yeah! What are they, Mama?” What else could I do? I pulled over for a quick peek at a place where we could do so safely and still get a good look.

“Swans! They’re swans, Mama! LOTS of them!”

His expression was priceless. I can’t imagine what he would’ve looked like had we been there earlier in the season when there are even more of them. He’s seen two … maybe four … in his life that I know of, but he does know them from various stories. Ugly Duckling, Why I Love My Mama, and others. But this was incredible. I can’t begin to guess how many we saw … maybe a couple hundred?

The Comox valley plays host to migrating birds every year, and the most spectacular in my opinion are the trumpeter swans. Graceful, snowy white, long necks, approximately three thousand of them grace the fields of the valley over the winter. They haven’t always been there – I remember Nana telling me about them when they first started occupying the fields, and it sounded so bizarre and strange. Over the years a few became hundreds … and now apparently thousands.

This mini-adventure of nature and wonder took all of about a minute, maybe two, but gave us something to talk about for a good twenty minutes.

We missed the reservation cut-off for the ferry by two minutes. Four, if you look at the receipt, but we had to wait to get to the ticket booth, and I argued with the guy for a minute before he rang it in. Two minutes. And he wouldn’t let us into the reservation line. In with the rest – and we were around ten cars back from the last car they took.  The manager I spoke with hoping to get my reservation money back was a defensive, crabby, and rude ass.

Seeing swans might not have been quite worth the two and a half hour wait for the next ferry. But it at least gave me something to smile about while we waited.


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