Illness and old bodies are taking their toll on us, and as a result we are pacing ourselves more, taking days off between outings, try to regain some semblance of balance. It is easy to hibernate when the rain is pouring down, but as soon as the sun shows up, there is an urge to get out.
Today we have come to Piper’s Lagoon, a jut of land around Page’s Lagoon in Nanaimo. The website speaks of 8 hectares of land and multiple trails, and when we pull into the parking lot we find ourselves on a long beachfront. Like many of the beaches in B.C. the sand is littered with driftwood and logs.
A cold wind is blowing and the water is quite choppy but it doesn’t stop a group of mergansers from riding the surf. The dog-like face of a harbour seal keeps popping out the water and disappearing, and gulls and crows or ravens compete for air space.
Ric and I walk the length of the peninsula and then he finds a bench while I carry on. There is a path that leads along the flats just below where we are walking, and another that leads between two rocky hills up ahead. I decide to climb short incline and discover a rocky beach huddled between the two rocky peaks on the other side. A young couple cuddle under a blanket in one of the crevices, so I take a few pictures and leave them be.
I watch as a family with children and dog ascend a rocky path up one of the hills, but can’t trust my balance so rejoin Ric on the bench. We decide to move on.
Not far from the Lagoon we spot a sign for Neck Point – a place I had read about and wanted to see. Ric pulls in the parking lot and says he’ll wait for me. His knees are shot.
The initial impression is of a grassy picnic area overlooking the water, but I want to see more, so follow one of the paths leading upwards. Wildflowers are in bloom along the path – vibrant purples and yellows. After all the recent rain, the grass is bright green, as is the moss. After a short ascent I see a path leading to a fenced lookout, but I decide to climb a bit more, and I’m so glad I did.
From this new perspective, I can see islands of rocks jutting out into the water. Cormorants sit atop the high rocks, while a wall of birds congregate in the waters below. These are surf scoters – their black bodies blending together, punctuated by the orange dots of their beaks. A lone seagull splashes about in the water, and as far as I can tell it’s a Bonaparte’s gull (not that I’m an expert).
In the distance a sailboat cuts through the water, obviously undeterred by the cold. Another small vessel maneuvers over the waves, set against a backdrop of mainland mountains.
I don’t linger too long although I would like to. There are many more paths here to explore, and I think this might be my favourite place in Nanaimo so far. That which I am able to witness has been so healing. That which I cannot yet access motivates me to keep pushing forward.
Once again, I pinch myself for my good fortune.