The Chronicles of Sarnia, № 1

~In which editor DLR recalls his youth on the island of Sarnia.~

№ 1: Tides


rowing up on an island is not unlike learning the definition of a word without having the benefit of a dictionary. Sarnia, as it is still sometimes known, is small and beautiful in an unobtrusive way, but there are not many dictionaries to go around.

Summers were the worst and the best of the year. Warm and breezy, slow and tedious. We would make do with the beaches: either those in town that were dark, sand packed with rivulets of water mixing in with the sewage, or those whose light, flat dunes were altogether more pleasant.

We could have done with a dictionary before setting out on one particular project nearly a decade ago. On a wide, empty beach along the south coast of Sarnia, we scaled some sandstone rocks with a video camera in tow, intent on capturing some early-2000s quality video for later editing. Included in our filmic masterpiece were ciphers surreal enough even for an Aronofsky movie: a wooden pallet, some empty CD cases, and a plastic ruler among them. Having wrapped filming for the day, we turned our attention back to the beach and the road beyond, and realised the error of our ways.

God did smite us as he smote Noah. Waters had rushed in from the briny deep and surrounded our outcrop of rocks, and we would have to wade in one- to two-foot high depths just to get back to shore. So, trousers hitched up, socks and shoes in hand, we let the tide carry us home. Much less poetic was the barefoot walk back home.

Several years ago, I even decided that this was a suitable anecdote to base a song on. You can listen to the inventively-named “High Tide” here:

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3 Comments

  1. Jamie

     /  March 9, 2011

    I hope to hear more about Sarnia…

    Reply
  2. Karen

     /  March 15, 2011

    I am such a fan of High Tide–I would love to read more about Sarnia!
    Missing you guy! Karen

    Reply
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