June 6, 2009

St. John's and the Voice of God

On Tuesday I leave for downtown St. John's, Newfoundland. Leah's hometown.

I'm pretty fascinated with the city already. The way Leah tells it, it seems like my kind of place.

Both of these pictures are of locations within a few minutes walk from Leah's house -if I'm getting my geography right. The bottom picture is of a place called 'The Battery.'

Did you know that St. John's may be unique in the developed world as a city where the streets are not on a grid, and people still walk more than drive?

One of Leah's room-mates this year in Montreal, also a Newfoundlander, told me about getting drunk for his first time on a boat with a bunch of Russian sailors in the St. John's harbour.

With a Peter Jackson cigarette in his hand and a laugh punctuating every third word, he then told me about an old guy he knew who would roll cigarettes in one hand while climbing the mast of a trawler, thirty feet above the waves of the Atlantic.

I was impressed. Still am.

Not to be outdone, I told him about waking up at 5:30 am on Christmas holidays as a sixteen year old in Northern Alberta and accompanying my father out to a logging site when it was minus thirty-something. We spent the day falling trees with chainsaws in the foothills of the Rockies. Just the two of us. They were all enormous poplar trees, and when they slowly roared to the ground in the cold morning air all the branches shattered and it felt like you were inside thunder. We would shut off the engine of our saws as soon as we saw the trees begin tipping, so that we could fully take in the unbelievably crisp howl of those tumbling giants in the winter air. If God had a voice, that's what I imagine it would sound like.

But I hated those days.


Anonymous said...

I had many a day with my dad doing similar things. I hated those days too, but even in the face of memorial hatred the thunder never dies.

St Johns is awesome. Way to go Leah for growing up there, even if you had no choice in the matter.

jon said...

oh my word, i have spent my previous praises too quickly. this post is amazinger than the rest.

i am reconsidering my frequent use of hyperbole.

seriously though: amazinger.

at st John's looks gorgeous. have a good time.

Matthew A. Wilkinson said...


I'm hyperbolic too. I understand. So thanks.

Walking around the grounds of your dad's place at The Wedding I realized that you and I had soaked up the world from a certain perspective due to our shared environment growing up -a perspective which, when I met you, I enjoyed recognizing. I damn love it.

Boyda said...

I love imagining it.

I have memories of tromping through the forest with my parents in the shrill Northern air, but I don't think I ever heard [the equivalent of] God's voice.