When most people think of a comfortable spot to sit, heavy artillery usually isn’t the first thing to come to mind. But that’s where I am now; perched atop the broken, rusty muzzle of an old iron cannon. There’s a story behind it; what, I’m not sure. I’m feeling too peaceful to leave my seat and search out the story written on the informational boards behind me.
I sit astride, as if riding an iron horse. My toes don’t touch the ground, so I swing them a little as I look out over the water. There are actually two cannons, one facing left towards the open ocean, the other facing right into Carbonear Bay.
From my vantage point, I look out towards Carbonear Island and take a deep breath of the salt air. It’s easy to lose myself in time and space here. Stiff breezes and wheeling seagulls overhead mix with the dazzling glint of sun on water and spin themselves into a dozen pretty fancies.
Tossing my copper-colored hair out of my face, it’s easy to imagine that I’m an Irish maiden, perhaps a lighthouse-keeper’s daughter, watching the harbour mouth for the sight of her loved one’s ship returning home.
As quickly as it appears, my daydream vanishes, only to be replaced by another one. If I was a wildflower, I’d like to grow mixed in with the wild sprays that cover the hillside below me, nodding to me and to each other with cheerful greetings. If I was a butterfly, I’d curl up inside that nice big bloom over yonder. I wonder do butterflies dream? If they do, what do they dream of?
My gaze roves down past the flowery hillside to the sun-warmed rocks below, being washed by the swirling, sudsy foam. The ocean glints green where it touches the shore, and the colors gradually fade from turquoise, to teal, and finally to deep cerulean. The sun makes interesting patterns on the waves; rather like snakeskin… flashy diamond shapes flash and change with every blink.
I hear a faint roar and see a white speedboat cutting through the water, too far below me to make out her passengers. She cuts a wobbly V-shape through the water. From up here the water looks flat and calm, but from the way the boat’s engine roars and sputters and the way her prow dips into the sea before rearing up to point at the sky, I can tell there’s a heavy swell on.
Lost in thought, I shift my seat from one cannon to the other. I’m facing inwards toward the town of Carbonear now, squinting my eyes to try to make out the pinprick-sized houses and buildings. There; that red tower jutting up from the trees farthest to my right. That’s the clock tower of the Princess Sheila NaGeira Theatre, where John Schlitt once performed. Behind it, hidden from sight, is the Knights of Columbus building where a group of ordinary radicals who call themselves Open Door hold church every Sunday morning.
Swinging my gaze a touch to the left, I see the promenade around the pond that I often stroll on fine days. It’s amusing to watch the ducks marching out of the pond like soldiers on parade whenever they see someone promising who might give them crumbs.
I can see both the school and the college from here as well; I have friends in both places.
Turning my gaze upwards a bit, I see TC Square. I’ve worked, eaten, and played music in this mall and am familiar with many of its storekeepers and employees. Even from here, the parking lot fairly sparkles with a sea of vehicles.
Swinging my gaze further to the right, I try to spot the U-turn Center, where our youth group meets every Wednesday night. I’ve attending many functions at this bustling center, and I squint in that general direction now, but the building is too well camouflaged among the trees.
Still further to the right; now I see the general hospital. I’ve visited friends here, and even sat in its emergency room. It, too, is a familiar sight to me.
My gaze wanders on, along the street where a friend of mine lives, but the houses are too tiny to make out which one is his.
Finally the sea of houses ends, and my observing eye briefly touches the dark green treetops covering the side of the hill before returning to the rocks that point out towards Carbonear Island once more.
No doubt about it, I feel more at home here than I do in my own community, which isn’t that far away. I believe that while your place of residence might be in one town, your true home can be in another; thus, I consider this cannon’s eye view to be my domain. Because here is the stuff of memories… the cobwebs that cling, the fingers that grasp, the faint chuckles of laughter that dance in the wind. Good and bad, those memories make up who I am, and they play a very large part in my place in the world. Because they drive me and inspire me to reach for more memorable experiences, which will then be tucked away into my mind like their predecessors.