Thursday, April 10, 2008

St John's - Day Five

Today the sun came out, and it was glorious!

I had been saving my first walk up Signal Hill for a sunny day, and so today was the day! Let me tell you, it is quite a hike! I'm told there is a trail off the Outer Battery Road, but I was a bit nervous about getting lost, so I took the Signal Hill road up the hill.

This is Signal Hill from the bottom:

It was clear from the amount of cars that passed me on the way up - and from the number of other walkers I saw - that the idea of Signal Hill on a clear and warm day was appealing to many people! The walk was brutal, but when I reached the top....what a sight.

The view sort of sneaks up on you - you stagger up the last stretch of steep roadway, panting, and see a low stone wall ahead of you. "That looks good to sit on," you think. As you step closer, the grade of the hill levels out and you can suddenly see over the wall - the sea.

It was heartbreakingly lovely. I am glad I was alone to see it for the first time. An unforgettable experience. Blue and beautiful, it fills your vision...and all you've been learning and hearing about the history of this place - the ships and armies of the British and the French, the generations of fisherman, whalers and sealers, the follies of men and politicians - not to mention the simple and immediate power of the water, the wind, and the weather....all this runs through your mind as you stand looking out to sea as hundreds of people have done for hundreds of years before you stood on this spot.

Perhaps I'm projecting, having heard so much on the subject over the last few days - and I hope it's not presumptuous to write about it, being from "away", but it seemed to me, as I stood there, that behind the sound of the waves and the wind, there is a lament, keening like the cry of the guillemot, a lament for the cod, and all that was lost with it.

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