The first leg of our cross continent journey is finished. We have cycled Vancouver Island.
This section is the only one with deadlines. Flat tires almost made us miss the first one, the 12:15 ferry to Nanaimo, but fortunately when we pulled into the terminal at 12:35 loading had not yet begun. The second one was the ferry from Port Hardy to Prince Rupert. This ferry only runs once a week, so missing it would have been a bit of a disaster. We arrived, as planned, the day before, giving us some rest and a chance to reflect.
We’re on the ferry now, we’ve slept, and nine hours from now will land on the mainland ready to start through the Rockies. For the summer we now have only one deadline left, a wedding in the middle of August.
Being goal oriented is, I suppose, what keeps the world running, but, it can really cut into the time spent enjoying surroundings. The past week we have focused on the road, analyzing the next hill, eyes peeled for potholes, pieces of tire or tree which could spell disaster. We’ve kept moving, never dawdling, always trying to anticipate the breakdowns, or difficulties, which could mean missing our deadline.
We rode the island, but in many ways we did not experience it as deeply as we might have.
I’m not saying we missed it all. I’ve seen three black bears (J missed them since they were across the road before she could look around or over me), and eagles nearly as thick as buzzards back home. We’ve seen forestry practices which look barbaric to our eastern eyes. We’ve experienced kilometer after kilometer of uninhabited rocks and trees and water. We’ve met, and visited with, interesting people at every stop. But, all of it was in relation to a deadline, under the shadow of the goal.
Many of us run through life this way, heads down, pushing toward the ultimate accomplishment.
Once on the mainland, we will still have daily goals, the place to pitch the tent, find food, a place to sleep, but the deadlines won’t be as firm. Maybe there we will be able to lift our heads and really see the mountains, smell the flowers, listen to the water flowing.