Jenny and I decided long ago that we don’t know much about the sea, that it’s a bit scary. We decided this off the coast of Australia, on a scuba diving trip on the Great Barrier Reef, when our instructor weighed us down with, we were sure, too many weights. We had coral scars. We decided again, swimming in the ocean in Costa Rica. It’s so big! We’re land-locked people! We don’t know how waves work!
I sat today on a rock outside the city walls of Old Dubrovnik, Croatia, and took a good hard look at the Adriatic. I sat for ages, as the sun slipped away and the water bashed the lower part of the rock and I looked at the sea – and all I could think about was how much it reminded me of the view out my parent’s front door. The sea is big and rolling and blue, but that flat line of the horizon is the same line that extends for as far as your vision allows in Saskatchewan fields. The waves aren’t so different from the way the wind shakes wheat and makes it ripple. As I sat I could almost hear the creak and slam of the purple screen door on our white house, the sound of Jeff’s truck starting up, and Kelly the golden lab’s tail hitting the post on the front porch. The sky, as the sun sets, is the same colour over the Adriatic as it is over the Canadian prairies.
Places aren’t so different.
Two days ago I was sitting in a cafe in Gradac, drinking cherry schnapps on a rainy afternoon. I’d been helping Ricki get his office for his new business ready, and our hands were covered in orange paint. Old men at checked-cloth-covered-tables were drinking coffee and playing cards and smoking, occasionally shouting, laughing. I watch them awhile, and then say to Ricki, ‘It’s the same in my town’.
People aren’t so different, either.