COLUMN: Afloat on an ocean of peacefulness

Peace. It’s an ever-more elusive commodity, or condition, these days.

On Point by Andrew Holota

Peace.

It’s an ever-more elusive commodity, or condition, these days.

I don’t mean world peace. I’m pretty sure that never existed in the history of the human race, and in all likelihood, never will, unless we are all wiped off the planet by some super virus. And then peace would be rather moot, except for Mother Nature, who I’m sure would heave a great sigh of relief.

No, I mean peace and quiet. Peace within oneself.

Here’s a little secret. That sort of peace actually does exist. The wild west coast of this province is actually awash in it. You just have to go far and work hard to find it.

And when you do, the peace is so big, so all-encompassing, so unthinkable, you sometimes realize you’ve spent hours not really thinking at all – or at least, just thinking about mundane things, like what that eagle thinks about when it sits half the afternoon on the same tree branch.

One such place is the untrammelled coastline of Vancouver Island, reachable only by boat, or better yet, unmotorized craft such as a kayak.

Oh sure, even far away from the small communities and popular fishing spots, you can find people easily enough. But you can also unfind them.

That was the point of the exercise for my wife and me last week. Ocean kayaking is not for the unfit and faint of heart. But if you’re the adventurous sort, and thrive on spartan outdoor living conditions, you can float on an ocean of peace, shared only with whales, and sea otters and the odd bear. Bears like their peace too, so with some assertiveness, you can come to a mutual, occasionally adrenaline-filled agreement on sharing a beach.

What you don’t have to share is your thoughts. Nor do you have to put up with cellphone calls, pesky texts and torrents of inane Tweets. Actually, you have no choice. There are none.

Much of the wild west coast of this country can be counted among the last remaining places on Earth that do not have cell service.

What a blessed, wonderful thing.

Many people would not agree. Especially the majority of young folks, who rarely can be spotted without a cellphone grafted to a hand.

I couldn’t stand that. I like to have my hands free, ready to do something useful, like holding a paddle … or a fork.

The concept of mobile devices being utterly inoperable is clearly something that does exist in young people’s frame of reference.

A case in point: We take a satellite phone on our paddling expeditions, in case something goes badly wrong. That, and to assure family members – every other day or so – that we have not been swallowed by an orca, or blown offshore by gale force winds, on an irreversible course to Japan.

Even satellite service can be spotty, though, and the signal was poor on our first call home. Our teen daughter had trouble hearing, and told us to call her on our cell.

Under the circumstances, that was pretty funny.

There’s little to no commercial radio reception out there either. So, for however long we are gone, the world will go about doing whatever it does, without us having a clue.

For a journalist, you’d think that would be highly unsettling.

In fact, I apply an old expression to that. No news is good news.

I mean, what could happen, anyway? War breaks out in the Middle East? Olympic athletes are caught doping? Donald Trump is elected president of the United States?

If the latter does actually occur, I’m loading up the kayak and heading back out to the wild west coast. Way out.

Don’t try to call.

Andrew Holota is the editor of The Abbotsford News

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Surrey firefighters battle a house fire near the 70A Avenue and 126A Street intersection early Sunday morning. According to a witness, it appears that the occupants were able to get out without injury. (Shane MacKichan photos)
PHOTOS: Fire causes extensive damage to Surrey home

Occupants able to escape without injury: witness

NDP headquarters on election night, Oct. 24, 2020. (Katya Slepian/Black Press Media)
ELECTION 2020: Live blog from B.C. party headquarters

BC NDP projected to win majority government – but celebrations will look different this election

BC Liberal Surrey South candidate Stephanie Cadieux and supporters rally in Grandview Corners in the lead-up to the election. (Contributed photo)
BC Liberal Stephanie Cadieux on track to reclaim Surrey South seat

Final results won’t be known until after mail-in ballots are tallied

Surrey-White Rock front-runner Trevor Halford, who is represented by the BC Liberal Party, watches the election results come in Saturday evening. According to The Canadian Press, Halford is expected to be the MLA for the riding. (Contributed photo)
BC Liberal Trevor Halford expected to take Surrey-White Rock seat

Halford says he’s ‘absolutely thrilled’ with preliminary results

B.C. Green Party leader Sonia Furstenau outlines her party's climate action platform at Nanaimo's Vancouver Island Conference Centre earlier this month. (News Bulletin file photo)
Green leader Furstenau declared victor in her home riding on Vancouver Island

Cowichan Valley voters elect freshly minted party leader for her second term

(Image by Ulrike Leone from Pixabay)
QUIZ: A celebration of colour

Fall in British Columbia is a time to enjoy a spectrum of vivid colours

RCMP crest. (Black Press Media files)
Mounties looking for teen boy ‘unlawfully at large’ from Riverview psychiatric hospital

Nolan Godron left the hospital, located at 2721 Lougheed Highway in Coquitlam, without consent on Saturday

The Canadian border is pictured at the Peace Arch Canada/USA border crossing in Surrey, B.C. Friday, March 20, 2020. More than 4.6 million people have arrived in Canada since the border closed last March and fewer than one-quarter of them were ordered to quarantine while the rest were deemed “essential” and exempted from quarantining. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Majority of international travellers since March deemed ‘essential’, avoid quarantine

As of Oct. 20, 3.5 million travellers had been deemed essential, and another 1.1 million were considered non-essential

Canada’s Chief Public Health Officer Theresa Tam responds to a question during a news conference Friday October 23, 2020 in Ottawa. Canada’s top physician says she fears the number of COVID-19 hospitalizations and deaths may increase in the coming weeks as the second wave continues to drive the death toll toward 10,000. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Canada’s top doctor warns severe illness likely to rise, trailing spike in COVID-19 cases

Average daily deaths from virus reached 23 over the past seven days, up from six deaths six weeks ago

Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

BC Hydro map showing where power has been knocked out is dotted with over a dozen outages. (BC Hydro map screenshot)
Thousands without power in Lower Mainland on election day

One outage in Langley and Surrey is affecting over 4,000 customers

file
One dead after fiery crash near Agassiz

Agassiz RCMP report a 56-year-old man died Friday night

Most Read