They say it is the end of the world. I will get a certificate for being here. The Argentinians say that the end of the world is the last light house in their country. The Chileans make the same claim. The passengers who have been on the cruise to the Antartic say that the end of the world is the light house there. We are cruising past the Falklands, through Tierra de Fuega, and around Cape Horn, going out of our way to go around the Horn so that we can say we have been around the cape. Other captains don’t take this route, but navigate these channels in ways that they can maximize their fuel and minimize the number of miles they travel.
This route went out of vogue in 1914, the year the Panama Canal opened. Few boats will travel down here and go into the choppy, cold waters where the Atlantic meets the Pacific. But that is where we are. I sat out on the deck this afternoon watching islands go by, seeing the shifts in the colour of the sun on the swells of water, watching the albatrosses fly. The birds fly down low. We are looking from above, down on them. Occasionally one will do a fly by for Wyona and me and we note the ruffled end of the tails of the birds we see or the markings above and below their wings. They are always above the six foot swells of the waves though it seems sometimes the waves will roll over them. The birds don’t light to get food. Nor do they dive. They just soar above us and then swoop.
Today I am watching the water with a new eye, having successfully completed my second painting class. True success, I guess, would be having completed the class with relaxed muscles, ... or perhaps believing the teacher who keeps tell us that painting is meant to be fun. She does love colour and encourages everyone to forget the pastel washes in water colours, and instead encourages people to have fun with the paint.
I know I could paint the scene I am watching go by me at the end of the world. “Rock behind rock.” That is how Wyona is describing what she is seeing.
All I know is that I wondered when we knew that we were coming, how it would feel to be upside down on the globe. What if the magnet of gravity that holds me to the earth, loses its power, would I just float off the earth, down, down, down, ... further away from home than even the end of the world.