Sunday, September 16, 2012 Boyne River
We had a crazy coincidence at the end of today’s trip. It was that kind of coincidence that’s so unlikely, if you ran across it in a film you’d complain it was contrived. At the same time, it’s a safe bet that most of us can recall having had this kind of thing happen at some point in our own lives. It all got me to thinking it would be fun to try to tell this story cinematically. So with apologies to the film-makers in my life (you know who you are), here goes:
The scene opens on a middle-aged couple, Howard and Jennie, who are driving along a country road on a brilliant September afternoon. They’re on their way back from a weekend in Collingwood and they are indulging in their favourite pastime, exploring Ontario’s most out-of-the-way places and roads. Close at hand in the car are their two essential items – Jennie’s digital camera, and a well-thumbed copy of Back Roads of Southwestern Ontario. Their drive takes them from the village of Dunedin along Centre Road, which is more like a winding gravel path than an honest to goodness road, and they find themselves in the middle of Escarpment country. When they spot the blazes that mark the Bruce Trail Howard muses, “Hey, I wonder if Marian’s been here yet.” The car rounds another curve, exposing an unbelievable view, and Jennie says to Howard, “Stop, stop, stop – I need a picture of this.” They stop, Jennie steps out and she starts snapping photos – first the vastness of the valley below, and then close-ups of the goldenrod and asters at her feet. Howard happily waits while she shoots, she gets back in the car and they continue their slow and pleasant journey. They come to an intersection marked on the map as Whitfield. There is an old brick church with a steeple on a small hill to the right. In the parking lot there is one lone car.
Cut to: Three hikers, Marian, Magdalena and Mary. They’re hiking west along County Road 17, their boots crunching gravel on the road’s shoulder. You can see by looking at them that they are at the end of a long day’s trek, completing the final weary steps to their car, possibly with visions of a nice cold beer at a country pub before heading home to Toronto. All three are sweaty, they’re moving in single file, conversation halted by the traffic noise. What you can’t see by looking at them but is conveyed through a flash-back, is that they have just come a section with astonishing rock formations of Rock Hill Corner. They had tried to capture the rugged beauty with their cameras, knowing as they did so how imperfectly the images would register the play of light filtering through the trees, or the solid density of the boulders and the sheer depth of the crevices. The women continue to walk steadily along the road, and soon they spot the steeple of the little Anglican church where they had left their car early that morning. As they reach the corner and cross the road, a car can be seen approaching from the north. They raise their hands in a friendly country wave, when suddenly, Marian turns and shouts, “Hey!”
Cut to: A close-up of Howard throwing open his car door, embracing Marian in an enormous bear hug, with Jennie jumping out of the passenger side screaming in delight, “I can’t believe it! I can’t believe it!” All three of them are jumping and dancing and hitting their heads in unbelief, when finally they remember Mary and Magdalena who look on in bemused wonder. “These are my good friends from Hamilton,” says Marian. “Jenny was my best friend in high school.”