The Crossing: In Search of Summer
“Through all the days that eat away
at every breath that I take
through all the nights I’ve lain alone
in someone else’s dream, awake
all the words in truth we have spoken
that the wind has blown away
it’s only you that remains with me
clear as the light of day” –Johnny Clegg, The Crossing
Johnny Clegg’s music came through the iPod so clearly I could almost sense the rhythm of South Africa. I could feel the afternoon sun beating down on me. In an instant, I was taken back to the arrival lounge at Oliver Tambo International Airport. But I wasn’t in South Africa. The bus passed the intersection of Carolina and Mississippi Drive. But despite these names, I wasn’t in the United States. I was in a strange land, and even with the connections I had made there, I was a stranger.
As the bus wound its way across the Canadian island, partially overcast skies were brightened by the distant sun – a sign of things to come. Behind the tall trees that lined the road were vast lakes, but with the bus hurrying towards its next stop, I didn’t have time to snap a picture. I wouldn’t have the opportunity to share its beauty with anyone who didn’t see it at that moment, but its serenity wasn’t lost on me.
In a clearing, a small patch of snow remained. It wouldn’t last – the summer sun would see to that. These past winter months were long and trying but in some way, they will make summer all the more enjoyable. Winter’s grip on the island is weakening. The flurries of yesterday didn’t last, and neither will this current chill.
The road led the bus into a valley almost completely surrounded by mountains. Distant trees towered over the road ahead. But before long, the landscape transformed. The mountain gave way to a gradually brightening sky. Another spectacular lake appeared – the greatest thus far. A few flurries fought their way to windshield, but their numbers quickly diminished.
Ahead stood a foothill that resembled South Africa’s Table Mountain, Memories of a road trip to Cape Town came flooding back. But as the road turned, the landscape morphed into Taipei County. The shape of the hills and even the weather felt familiar somehow, however unfamiliar the final destination would be.
“O Siyeza, o siyeza , sizofika webaba noma
(we are coming, we are coming, we will arrive soon)
O siyeza, o siyeza, siyagudle lomhlaba
(we are coming, we are coming, we are moving across this earth)
Siyawela lapheshaya lulezontaba ezimnyama
(we are crossing over those dark mountains)
Lapha sobheka phansi konke ukhulupheka
(where we will lay down our troubles)” – Johnny Clegg, The Crossing
Life’s journey thus far has brought us into freezing winters, but it has also delivered us to rejuvenating summers. We’ve been taken from valleys as dark as death to awe-inspiring summits. Some of the amazing vistas have only been visible for a short time as life rushed ahead, but we did our utmost to make the most of them. As I make this crossing to eastern Newfoundland, I mentally knock the snow from my boots as I seek out the promises of summer.