Word Photo

The Rock – or in my mind forever, the Island of skies

I am driving, it’s a long stretch of the Newfoundland TransCanada highway somewhere about two hours west of Gander. The coffee in the cupholder is lukewarm and no longer palatable so it sits, swaying at the bottom of the cup with each turn of the road. My husband sits quietly beside me listening to his audio book and scanning the rocky landscape for signs of wildlife. My two sons, a pre teen and a teen are both connected to a device, one with music blasting into his ears and the other blasting aliens out of space in the game he downloaded for the car ride today. We’ve been having a wonderful time, enjoying our journey east as we explored Quebec, New Brunswick, Prince Edward Island, and now weaving our way west through the vastness that is (the Rock) Newfoundland, it’s been fun but if I am honest, the quiet drive right now, with the music playing only for me through my earbuds allows me a moment to myself and for that I am grateful. I watch the road in front of me, empty but for a truck way off in the distance. The highway runs between the sea and a river; mountains with rocky cliffs jut upward into the Newfoundland skies which are a tourist attraction all to themselves with huge puffy clouds white on the top and darker below, they span the horizon in various shapes and shades throughout the day, never the same and always impressive. I could lie on one of those mountains in the distance and just watch the sky for days and not grow bored, I am watching them now, as I drive. The river that runs to my left is wide and a small rocky island sticks out in the middle, the scattered rapids are all that is visible to reveal the rough current below the calm, peaceful surface. It is here when I see him, his tall, strong body, easily and gracefully passing through the rough waters that rose now to his belly. He moved with ease, making the crossing of that river look simple, smooth and yet I picture the fast-flowing current beneath the surface, the rocks that scattered the riverbed and I know that this is no simple task. His strong legs and muscular back are what are keeping him upright, his head was held high as if he innately knows that he owns this river, it is his, and the river almost bows to him. His antlers rise to the sky, he’s not old but he’s an adult now, his tall body, almost seven feet from toe to shoulder is a beautiful chestnut brown, it looks smooth, and it glistens with water that splashes onto his back as he makes his way through the river. I glance over at my husband and see that his eyes are also trained on the giant beast making his way through the river, we had both been wanting this, to see a Buck Moose in the wild and now here are we staring at the bull and then at each other and for the briefest of moments there is a thrill that runs through my veins, moves to my belly that causes a butterfly effect of excitement. It was a quintessentially Canadian moment; this moose, against that backdrop of trees and mountains, crossing a rocky river and here I was, driving on the wrong side of the Transcanada unable to grab the photograph that I am trained to get and yet I feel no disappointment. We turn off at the next exit and I backtrack on the right side of the highway, we come to the section of river where the moose had crossed but he’s slipped into the trees on the far side of the river. The moment is over, but my belly is still alive with the wonder of the moment and no where can I find the disappointment at not getting the shot, not framing that image with perfection. It would have been a zero-edit shot, the image even now is postcard perfect in my mind and is for me, and my husband alone. We share this, this memory, the. same feeling of awe when we spotted him, the excitement that I know affected him just as much as it affected me. It is ours, a moment that we can hold close and remember when grow old and grey (er). “Remember the Buck? “One of us will say and we will both be transported back to this moment, we will once again feel the butterflies of excited awe and we will smile. No souvenir or picture will ever be able to give us that, only God can do give us those kinds of moments.

L

Published by lauriehaughton

Author & Photographer

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