A Visit Back to My Roots, Port Nelson, B. Bay

by Don White

A chilly wind blew from the north,
The sky was the colour of lead,
As I returned once again to walk the trails
That I knew so well as a kid.

The hills appear much smaller now;
The rocks and coves not quite the same,
As when I sailed my wooden boats
In fantasy, to distant lands of fame.

In memory I travel back in time
To when I was just a lad,
Recounting those hikes along the shore
And the other past times that I had.

We often slid on those yonder hills
And fished the brooks so clean,
As to the harbor they gently flowed,
In a land that was so serene.

Following the contours of distant hills,
My eyes focused on the opposite shore
Of the harbor which we so often rowed,
To climb to the schoolhouse door.

That tiny white building of only one room,
Where reading and writing all started, you see,
Warmed by a "Dixie" which we "took turns" to light:
Oh, the memories that come back to me!

The shady spot where once stood our house
Was now unfamiliar and strange.
I marveled how it seemed to have shrunk,
So unbelievable was the change.

Majestic trees now fill the space
Where then only shrubbery stood.
Did a "home" once bless this wild landscape?
It seemed impossible that it could!

But memory clicked and took me back
To enter a door no longer there.
Walking silently from "room to room",
It was awkward to just stand and stare.

The warm, cozy "kitchen" with aromas of spice,
Mom's homemade bread, and coffee to brew
Strange how it all came flooding back,
As memories so OFT want to do!

In memory I climbed the stairs to my room
And fancy as I stand by the bed,
Someone calling my name: "It's time to get up
If you're going with me!" Was it Dad?

A tear on my cheek and a lump in my throat
Told me it was time that I made
One final stroll through the kitchen today,
Not wanting the memory to fade!

As twilight closes in all around me,
Through an invisible window I stare.
Straight ahead and then to my left,
An orange glow seems to appear.

I picture a flickering kerosene beam-
A beacon so warm and so bright,
Grandfather's house next door was the source:
Such a welcome in the gathering night.

But no, an illusion has been the cause
Of this snapshot from long ago,
For no house even stands there anymore.
Forty years have slipped by, and so.

I trudged slowly the remnants of a path
Now barely discernible; not at all to some,
Because Mother Nature has again moved in,
Reclaiming what we once called home!

Stopping to take one last backward glance,
I swallow the lump in my throat,
Then proceed down the hill to the "land wash",
Where are in memory I "see" Grandfather's boat.

Tied to the wharf on the "fishing room"
And filled to the gunwales with fish!
Oh, to be able to go back in time-
To then, is my fervent wish.

To see grandmother pinning her wash on the line
Or spreading the fish on the flake;
Or is it to church her quickened step leads?
Is she gathering some wood for to make?

A quick heat in the oven or under the kettle
'Cause someone has dropped in for tea?
All of these thoughts and so many more
Bring back sweet memories to me.

But reality pushes the dream world aside;
To the present I return with a start.
Reliving those memories of so long ago
Will always play a great part.

In keeping alive what we must not forget:
A past that remains with us still.
Fond memories help brighten a gloomier day,
And with luck on our side, always will!