Wednesday, October 30, 2013


I was very, very lost once and I didn't even know it.  This is good because I don't think I would like the feeling of not knowing where I am or where I was going.  Infact, I was only lost in one person's mind.  And I was worried that he was lost, perished, while reading some arcane document produced in 2 count font regarding the minutes of life in the tree ring of a giant redwood that had perished
Crossing the bridge
during a hurricane on the northwest coast of British Columbia, breaking, to fall into the swirling waters below, splintered on the boulders peppering the river that was strong enough to send whole logs to the sea.  I thought he might have slipped on the same slippery slope and maybe hit his head while leaning over to read the very last sentence about the hurricane on the northwest coast of British Columbia.  Hopefully, he had fallen into a bed of evergreen needles.

But all I had to write with was a burnt match from a book of matches I had grabbed after dinner the night before.  And I was getting annoyed.  I didn't know about the plot of giant trees which had been felled in a hurricane.  I did know it was a very dreary afternoon and much cooler than I had expected.  When you are traveling, it is easy not to dress properly for the elements.  Was the Bell Man supposed to chase after our rental car, with New Jersey license plates, as we left the hotel and demand I run back to the room for my good coat?  Maybe.  I am a good tipper.  Did he know about the hurricane that had occurred on the northwest coast of British Columbia?  I doubt it.  But he did know the temperature in the elegant, enclosed drive was much warmer than the dreary Saturday morning that awaited us at the end of the driveway emptying onto the city street.  But I never blame the Bell Man. 

Now I was sitting on a bench in a small opening in the middle of a deep evergreen forest.  A trail passed about ten feet from where I sat.  Despite the gloomy weather, I watched packets of tourists walk right by me.  The Capilano Suspension Bridge is a very popular tourist attraction.  We had walked across the 450 foot long bridge and taken pictures from our vantage point 230 feet up in the air, swinging every minute atop the 13 ton cement and steel bridge.  I can't imagine ever using the original rope bridge built in 1889.

After crossing the bridge, a trail split in several directions.  A map showed the various areas to hike and also gave time estimates and mileage.  I decided to sit out this tromp through the woods due to an old injury.  We found the opening and I sat down.  But I know before I sat down, I said, "I will be waiting right here."

Sometimes husbands (and wives, to be fair) don't listen very well.  If I am going to sit out hiking with Burt, why would I decide to get up and wander around the huge park?  I didn't have a personal cell phone yet.  My phone in a bag was driving around my hometown, ever ready to help Burt's folks as they ran carpool back and forth.  At this point in technology, while it was very cool to hear a phone ring in your vehicle, unless you were an extremely important person, it actually was the most helpful for a reminder to pick up milk on the way home or to call and say the car is making that funny noise again.  All the new technology in the world was not at my fingertips, just yet.  Just a book of matches I was considering using as a crude writing tool.

Maybe he is busy taking pictures.  He rarely gets the camera but when he does he really goes to town.  The roll would only last so long, though.  He'd been gone for twenty minutes, twice the posted time.  A mist was beginning to fall but I was somewhat protected by the overhanging boughs.  When we first started visiting museums and historic sights, I had learned the way to avoid frustration and the inevitable words following two people going at totally different speeds.  In any but the smallest of museums, we would set a reasonable time to meet.  He has always been good about knowing when we were short on museum touring due to other activities.  Over time, we have worked out a moseying along system that works for us both.  How many words could there be to read way up here in North Vancouver on a cool, misty day.  At least he had his raincoat.

I was almost shivering in my turtleneck and fleece jacket.  And then I noticed that the people coming up, walking right in front of me, were also coming down, in about 10 to 15 minutes.  It wasn't unreasonable to think he should be down by now.  Definitely.  But I had told him I would be waiting right here for him.  And he is an Eagle Scout.  He couldn't get lost in these woods, unless he fell off somewhere, quietly.  No.  He wouldn't go down quietly.  The thoughts that race through your mind when you are sitting in another country, wondering where, oh, where, has your husband gone. 

Many different groups of people representing many nationalities had walked by me.  A tall, Egyptian man, just as handsome as Omar Sharif, said hello while passing by.  Thank goodness.  One person, in a sea of strangers, with manners.

Forty-five minutes.  I really felt like I must get a plan going.  Maybe I should go back across to the Trading Post.    I could wait back there in the warmth, for another fifteen minutes and then, if he didn't appear, we could start looking for him.  But I was getting mad too, just as much as I was feeling kinda' sick about what "if."  It was not a good feeling.  I decided to leave a note on the bench, marked with a heavy rock so it wouldn't blow away.  But the match idea was not working out. 

I really didn't know the area.  Maybe he had kept wandering, accidently into a spot and was making his way back to me.  With nothing real to write with, I had just pulled Perfect Wine Berry from my purse, considering this autumnal shade of lipstick for an implement.

Honestly, in the first seconds, I didn't know who was running towards the clearing.  I looked up and through the foggy woods, ran a crazed man, calling my name.  His unbuttoned coat was flapping, his arms were flapping, huffing and puffing, steam rising off of his head.      
Where have you been?!!!!!

Where have you been?!!!!

There you are, there you are!  He thought I was lost.  He didn't hear me say I would sit on the bench and wait for him. (?) I told him you always go back to where you started. 

Poor thing.  He was exhausted.  While I was waiting patiently on the bench, he had been running all over the park.  He thought I was lost in the woods or fallen down a precipice.  He had seen whatever he was looking for but for some reason, didn't come back to the little clearing.  He went back across the bridge looking for me, running acoss the swinging bridge three times, throughout the park, and across the street to the parking lot to check our car and then to the teahouse, telling people everywhere that I was lost.  
My description was even announced throughout the park.  Yellow turtleneck and maroon jacket.  He looked in the bathrooms.  Finally, a man came and told Burt he had seen me.  The nice Egyptian man, the only person in the forty-five minutes who had acknowledged my presence.  Of course, in the South we wouldn’t think of passing a complete stranger without a nod or hello.  After all, they might be related, the sister of your fourth cousin’s mother-in-law’s grandmother’s great-great grandchild.  People were very friendly throughout the trip, but on the street and on the path, there was very little eye contact and let me tell you, a strong absence of pleases and thank-yous.

If you have to be lost, it is better to be lost and not know you are lost.  Afterall, you don't want people worrying about you being lost. 






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