It’s not really the immense beach that stretches out a half kilometer at low tide. It’s not the magnificent sunsets over the Strait of Georgia and the Vancouver Island, either. And it’s not even the laidback, friendly and almost lazy atmosphere that lingers on the place. No. What in fact draws me irresistibly to the southern area of White Rock, BC, is the fact that it represents my current horizon.
Lying across from the US border, almost an hour and a half by bus from downtown Vancouver, White Rock is just about as far as I can go on my own without owning a car. It symbolizes the frontier between “here” and “there”, the limit that separates dreams from reality.
It’s somehow difficult to accept the humbling fact that this limit has crept up so close to me when it used to lay literally hundreds of nautical miles away where the sky turns into the ocean… But just as change is an unavoidable part of life, so is the temporary shrinking of one’s playground. So for now, I simply make the best of the Lower Mainland while keeping my eyes on the horizon.
Today, however, I arrived in a ghostly White Rock hidden inside a thick fog bank. Knowing it was still early and the tide would be extremely low, I made a last minute decision and stayed on the bus, pushing west to Crescent Beach, end of the line. And there, finally free, I walked for hours on the dark sand of a naked beach while the fog moved in and out silently.
At times the fog got so thick I had to cut it with a knife in fear of loosing all visual references with land. I could almost have forgotten the presence of shore – a few hundred meters behind me – and decided to walk out all the way to the edge of the world.
Hundreds of sea birds were gathered around tidal pools, along with a large falcon that flew away too soon, just like the herons had too, clearly unwilling to even share ripples in the sand with me. A couple of Bald Eagles flew by low, gliding through the mist, reminding me of my earlier surprise at sighting 20 or 30 of them in high trees along the highway. Yes that’s right, 20 or 30 Bald Eagles spotted on a stretch of maybe 500 or 600 meters – and even though I do have a lot of southern France blood flowing through my veins, this is no exaggeration! Now if only I had a car and a strong telephoto lens!
In any case, by sunset the fog had receded half way across the Strait and I was able to keep shooting, carefully wiping my lens every few minutes because of the remaining humidity and sudden temperature change. Of course by the time I walked back to civilization and stepped into the Wired Monk Coffee and Bistro to pack up the camera and grab something warm to drink, the bus was driving by and I realized I was not going to make it back on time to meet friends at Yuk-Yuk as promised. Oops. Sorry. I obviously can’t be trusted with a camera and spare time, and I seem to become completely irresponsible when exposed to stunning sunsets. But what else is new? ;-)