War Poet.ca - A CFAP Project by Suzanne Steele

on the beach

this morning a walk on the sandbars to the point. where the old fish canneries used to be. past the clay cliffs where we used to go oyster gathering and where we used to follow father through the sea weed beds as he scooped crabs, measured them, threw out the too small, tossed the good sized crabs into the potato sack. the sack filled with half a dozen crabs dragged behind us in the salt water keeping the crabs alive until the pot. and we children half horrified half amazed and totally entertained by the grisly death of the crabs as they were popped into the boiling water and they tried to scratch their way out. oh but fresh crab meat with butter and lemon and fresh corn on the cob. that was the taste of summer.

so this morning I walked the dogs through the same tidal pools, past the cliffs that didn’t seem as big as they used to, and I met a woman with her dog. we talked as our dogs wilded about us. we talked about how the elders in our families had met in WWII at the bay. there was a major air base nearby. this woman’s father met his mother at the bay. he was a pilot.

he was a Burma Bomber she said. he flew over the ‘hump’
the Himalayas

he never talked about his war. but at his funeral, and at her mother’s a few years later, all the talk was about the war years. those years were the most important of their lives – surpassing all other years.

we can never understand that can we? she said to me.

I think I have an inkling I responded, everything in the war environment is so magnified. everything heightened. intensified. I can understand how those who fell in love during war would have an intensity others might not comprehend.

the Burma Bomber is gone. the airman in our family is gone and is buried in the gorgeous little graveyard at the point. tall cedars and Douglas fir. how many times during the war had he passed that beautiful place on his way down to the point, maybe with a beer and girlfriend. his blue RCAF uniform neatly stowed.


About This Page

The page you're reading contains a single diary entry entitled on the beach. It was posted here on August 13, 2011.

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