Memoir: A Labor Day of Love

“An adventure is only an inconvenience rightly considered. An inconvenience is only an adventure wrongly considered.”
― G.K. Chesterton

09.05.2017
My newlywed husband rested his mug on the coffee table and turned his handsome face towards me. “So, what do you think? It’s probably our last chance until next summer.”
 
I took a deep breath and exhaled slowly. “Can I think about it a bit longer?”
 
“You’re not worried we’ll get lost—are you?”
 
I glanced down at my fidgeting fingers to avoid his gaze. “Not really.”
 
“I’ve got charts. Have I been wrong before?”
 
“No.” I cringed inwardly as I remembered the time we’d ended up boating in the dark and thudding against a log when we were halfway home from a visit to a nearby cove.
 
“I’ve heard the beach on Goose Island is a miniature paradise,” he said. “And we’ll probably have the whole place to ourselves.”
 
I smiled, remembering a camping trip we’d enjoyed on the sandy shore of a secluded lake. “Are there any grizzly bears on that island?”
 
“No. It’s too far out.”
 
“Yeah, that’s just it,” I said. “It’s kind of far—don’t you think?”
 
“That’s a good thing. There won’t be any cougars there either.”
 
My back stiffened, and then I turned and glanced out the window of the beach house we rented. The ocean sparkled as calm and blue as a swimming pool.
 
I met his inquisitive gaze. “You really want to go—eh?”
 
He caressed my shoulder. “Well?”
 
I debated back and forth with the Still Small Voice who suggested I set my fear aside and say yes to the adventure, for even when things didn’t go exactly as planned, I never regretted going on a nature excursion with my man.
 
I nodded. “Okay, I’ll go.”
 
He smiled. “If you pack, I’ll do all the cooking.”
 
***
 
I wished we didn’t have to go by boat; the main thoroughfare for a Northern Coastal community is the waterways between the islands. And, since it was Labor Day Weekend, we would be able to get far enough away so my husband couldn’t—and wouldn’t—get called to fix a computer problem or sign an advance check at the remote hospital where he was business manager.
 
The next day, as we boated halfway down the channel between Campbell Island and Hunter Island, my husband pointed to an inlet. “That’s where I found the Japanese fishing float.”
 
I gasped. “We’ve come that far already?”
 
“It’s also where we saw the phosphorescent plankton.”
 
I glanced behind us as we passed the tip of Hunter Island. “Isn’t that the same place we spotted water pipes chewed by wolves?”
 
“Don’t worry, there aren’t any wolves on Goose Island. It’s too far for them to swim.”
 
The ride continued smoothly until we passed the outer reaches of where we’d been before. Ocean swells suddenly appeared, and I hugged myself to protect my innards from bouncing in rhythm to the boat’s jostling bottom that crashed against the waves; however, despite my efforts, my insides sloshed around like a thermos of tea.
 
He shouted over the boat’s motor, “This part’s easy. Goose Island is straight ahead. Coming back will be a bit tricky as all these inlets and islands look the same.”
 
I sucked in my breath. Great, now I’ll spend the whole weekend wondering if we’re going to get lost on the way home.
 
A Still Small Voice suggested I stay in the moment and enjoy the journey.
 
I turned my attention to the natural landscape that was untouched by the hand of developers. Not a building, not a vehicle, nor a person was visible on any of the shorelines we passed by as we crossed the gap of ocean between the boat and our destination. Even the fresh air filling my lungs was as deliciously untainted as the view around me.
 
I shivered as a breeze laced with ocean spray brushed against my face. “Thank you for convincing me to go.”
 
“It’s pristine out here—isn’t it?”
 
“Breathtaking, absolutely breathtaking.”
 
Sooner than I expected, we arrived and set up camp above the tidal grass on a wooden platform built by the indigenous people who used it during hunting season. I helped prepare a savory supper of barbecued Coho salmon and vegetables, and then afterwards, we strolled up and down the silky beach—hand in hand—letting go only when I needed to click a picture of a cluster of seashells or capture a shot of an artistic pattern the tide had carved in the sand.
 
Later, we ate a dessert of carrot cake and sipped tea as we watched the sunset slather the sky with warm and wonderful shades of orange, red, and gold. The low flat island, dotted with natural bonsai evergreens, told us it wasn’t always so serene; storms had carved character into the landscape around us.
 
At bedtime I was too tired to worry myself awake about any renegade wolves or grizzly bears that may have ventured out for a marathon swim, so I slept like the logs supporting the wooden platform the tent was fastened to. Over the weekend, we explored the beach from one end to the other until it was time to pack up and leave.
 
My husband drove our boat back towards the cluster of inlets, bays, and rocks we’d come from two days earlier.
 
I chewed my lip as fear resurfaced. How does he know which way to go—everything looks the same?
 
My husband slowed the boat and idled it as he stopped to take another look at his chart. He glanced at the maze of jagged shorelines, nodded, and then turned up the throttle on the motor.
 
I glanced to my left just in time to see a pod of porpoises leaping out of the ocean.
 
My heart raced with excitement. “Are those dolphins or porpoises?”
 
“I don’t know, but it looks like they’re just as curious about us as we are about them.” He slowed the boat again.
 
I stood. “Oh my goodness, they’re getting closer.”
 
Thump.
 
One of the porpoises hit the side of the boat. I tensed and then relaxed as I realized the boat was too big for them to topple. I leaned over the edge and reached towards the beautiful mammals’ sleek, gray bodies as they swam alongside.
 
I turned to my husband. “I want to jump in and swim with them—is it safe?”
 
I think you should stay in the boat.” He continued scrutinizing the upcoming shoreline.
 
I whooped and hollered as the curious creatures followed us. I banged on the side of the boat, signaling to them I was happy—no ecstatic—to see them. This was the moment that made all the thumps and bumps of the journey worth it. This was a glimpse of eternity reminding me that all the rough waves I ride in life will have been worth it when I arrive to see the glory of the Creator of all this gloriousness.
 
A few minutes later, the porpoise left.
 
My husband wiped his forehead with the back of his hand. “That was close.”
 
“Huh? Were you worried I was going to jump in and swim with them?”
 
“I had to guess which channel to go down … and… I guessed right.”
 
“Oh… you… mean… we were lost?”
 
“Not really.”
 
I leaned against his arm. “Thank you, sweetie.”
 
“For finding our way?”
 
“No, for helping me to find my way. I can’t believe I almost said no to this wonderful weekend. I loved every second of it.”
 
I also thanked the Still Small Voice for His nudges to embrace this glorious trip out of my comfort zone. This Labor Day Weekend of love had rejuvenated our newlywed bond through my willingness to trust the Still Small Voice—and my husband.

WENDY L. MACDONALD

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Bio:

Wendy L. Macdonald is a Canadian, inspirational writer/blogger/podcaster who also loves to photograph nature. When she’s not writing, drawing, gardening, or sewing, she enjoys hiking, with her husband, in the beautiful parks of the Comox Valley. She homeschooled her children and believes all those years of reading wonderful classics aloud helped develop her love of storytelling and writing. Wendy invites you to visit her blog: www.wendylmacdonald.com , where you will find nature photography and links to her “Daily Bread” style Facebook page and other social media sites. Her passion is inspiring others to walk with faith, hope, and love. You can hear her podcasts at:www.hopestreamradio.com/program/walking-with-hope .

Wendy’s other links: 

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23 comments

    • Thank you, dear Karen, for finding and reading this piece. <3 I fell behind on reading my favorite blogs this summer; I look forward to catching up now that the cooler weather is back.
      Blessings ~ Wendy

  1. Nicely written, Wendy. I had no trouble getting in the moment with you, and being just a tad bit jealous of such a rewarding and rich outing. I have many kindred memories of my own. Thanks for the refreshing drink.

    • Thank you, Rick. I’m glad to hear you have “many kindred memories of (your) own.” It’s amazing the details we remember when we sit down and write about them. And the lessons and gifts we’re reminded of while recording them make it worth the effort.
      Blessings ~ Wendy 🙂

  2. Thanks so much for this encouragement, to step out and trust the Still Small Voice. You took us right there and showed us what can happen when we take a chance! What adventures and lessons we often forfeit when we’d rather sit back and watch?! Sending you much love, dear Wendy

    • Thank you, dear Heidi. This memory often prompts me to heed both the Holy Spirit’s and my husband’s prompts. Last night, I was blessed with another wildlife encounter at our local ocean beach. A seal allowed me to photograph it as it balanced on a rock. I almost said no to the outing… 🙂
      Blessings ~ Wendy <3

  3. I can’t imagine, Wendy. You are so brave. When I see the giant sea animals … I have the urge to be in a bigger boat. But porpoise/ dolphins … yes, I’d want to jump right in and swim with them, too. There is nothing more beautiful than they are. Ahhh. I love your adventures.

    • Thank you for your encouragement, Gene. There’s a good-sized chunk of it that takes place in the remote area this memoir moment happened in. I learned a lot while living there (and caught a lot of salmon too). 🙂
      Blessings ~ Wendy

  4. Wendy, I’m glad you decided to go on the Labor Day Adventure with your husband AND that you decided to share it with us! It sounds absolutely delightful, especially seeing the dolphins. Wouldn’t it have been wonderful to swim with them!?? Your words drew me in and allowed me to see the beauty of God’s Creation through your eyes. Your piece also serves as a wonderful reminder that this amazing Creation is but a glimpse of the beauty that awaits us in eternity. Thank you.

  5. Wendy,
    This is a wonderful story of adventure. I can see why you still think back to it fondly. I love it when the risks we hesitate to take pan out beautifully. It causes us to trust more the next time…and maybe a bit more quickly too! Thanks for sharing.

  6. Wendy, I loved this story, especially the way it reminds me they way that my wife and I have not been on an adventure for quite a while. Something that will change in November.

  7. Hi, Wendy. Thank you for taking us on your trip. I imagined the water, the porpoises, and could almost see your husband turning the charts 180 degrees to see which way to go. Descriptive and relaxing – much like your trip I think.

    • Thank you, dear Marilyn. That’s still my favorite Labor Day Weekend of all time. I often think of it when my husband suggests we go on an adventure I’m reluctant to say, “Yes,” to. 🙂
      Blessings ~ Wendy

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