Nature’s Cathedral

September looked like November for the past few days and the swimming days are gone with the summer it seems. Camp met me out front the pub and we both walked in together. As soon as we sat down and even before our beers arrived Camp needed to vent about the attacks on the Saudi oil refineries and Brexit with Boris.

‘I think the Iranian want a war with the US. It’s the only way the Ayatollahs and Mullahs in Teheran can assert their power. Nothing like a holy war to unit a country and a people.’

‘So, you think it was the Iranians who are responsible for the 17 impacts on Aramco’s installations in Abquaig?’

‘I don’t think the Yemini Huthi’s have the capability or the technology, not without the Iranians. It’s the Shia against the Sunni ever since their split some 14 centuries ago and certainly no outsider will solve that eternal division.’

‘Locked and loaded? What does that even mean? It’s one of those presidential ‘bon-mots’ like ‘Axis of Evil’ or Shock and Awe’,’ I said.

‘Yeah, bumper sticker politics at their best.’

‘Shocked about all the young men fighting each other and dying and awed about 80% or 24 million people needing humanitarian help in Yemen according to the UN, most of them women and kids.’

We paused and looked out at the tranquil scenery.

‘I know you also want to talk about Brexit,’ I said, because you think you know what’s going to happen if Borix crashes out.’

‘Nobody really knows but I do know that when the agreements terminate, essential drugs will take longer to process at the border, putting peoples lives in danger, the UK will loose access to EU data bases, arrest warrants and Schengen info, hampering security and policing. Also, the green isle of Ireland will be severely impacted since Northern Ireland will suddenly have a different set of rules then the Republic.  It will be a mess, that much is a given.’

‘And now Jeremy Corbyn supports a second plebiscite. Would it be different this time around?’

‘Depends who is asking the question and how it is asked,’ Camp said. ‘If the question is clear cut like in: Do you want to remain in the EU or do you want to leave it? – I think the people would vote to remain but if the question is asked: Do you support an independent England or not? – You might get a different result.’

‘Well, here in Canada we have to decide if we want a leader who breached ethical guidelines and loves to dress up and showed up at a party 18 years ago as a black faced Aladdin or a life long politician who has no leader qualities and never held down a real job but promises to lower taxes and increase services. Both men are Catholics and the latter even graduated from a Catholic high-school.’

‘I wish we could have an atheist as prime minister,’ Camp said. ‘A world with no prayers, no gods, no temples, no hell, no heaven, no dress codes, no atonements, no eternal punishment, no priests and popes, ayatollahs and mullahs, rabbis and cults. We would be so much better off.’

We drank to that.

‘I want to tell you about the fantastic afternoon last Monday when I was in the best cathedral on this world, just out there amongst the islands at the entrance of Howe Sound,’ I said, pointing out towards the water.  ‘We were cruising along on an afternoon sail around Keats Island and the Pasley on our friend’s sailboat when we suddenly saw a couple of black fins emerge out of the flat water.

‘Orcas!’ Clare shouted and for about an hour thereafter we were able to watch two pairs of killer whales surface several times, breach and dive on their way up Collingwood channel. It was a mesmerizing sight, to observe these magnificent creatures in the wild, just at our doorstep. We also saw a sea lion and two flocks of Surf Scooters which are small ducks with orange bills and white tufts. Seals were lounging on the rocks and eagles screeched overhead.

‘Sounds like the perfect afternoon. We are truly lucky to live here at the edge of the Pacific, sheltered by Vancouver Island and surrounded by rain forest,’ Camp said, while finishing his pint.

‘I hear there are Orcas out there,’ Vicky said while clearing off the table next to us.

‘Yes, and I saw them last Monday from a friends sailboat.’

‘You two never miss a beat do you,’ Vicky said shaking her head, which made her blond ponytail bounce back and forth.

‘They put on a personal show, just for us,’ I said, laughing.

‘Don’t kid yourself,’ Vicky said, “I have tourists asking me when the whales are going to pass by.’

‘What do you tell them?’ Camp asked.

‘I always tell them that there is a good change within the next hour. That way they usually have another drink.’

‘Smart girl,’ Camp laughed. ‘We’ll have another one as well. Maybe the Orcas will pass by.’

‘Two beers for the whale watchers over here,’ Vicky called to the bar tender.

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