Looking for Darren

We arrived safe and sound on Vancouver Island a few days ago, ready for something we notionally call vacation.  Having spent our first week in Calgary visiting friends, co-workers and family, we came out to the Comox Valley ready to see a bit of Creation’s best.

A walk to Elk Falls yesterday did not disappoint. With over 25 meters of drop from top to bottom, the Campbell River dramatically gushed over the spill point to a clear pool below. We hovered overhead by a recently constructed suspension bridge crossing the deep river valley.  Lego construction in mind, I talked to Ryan about beams, cables, anchors and brackets in a clumsy <I’m not an engineer> sort of way. He seemed to enjoy thinking about the feat of stringing together pieces of steel, pounding beams into concrete and then asking people to walk across.  We slowly walked to the middle, looking down through the barely-there steel mesh floor to the river below.  Ryan laughed and joked about what I would do if he dropped his retainer over the edge. I just kept thinking about the iron ring story that Canadian engineers like Kary tell and wondering who certified this project.

Trust the bridge I said to myself. Trust the engineers. Have no fear. Don’t think about the wobbly feeling.

***

Across from the Avalanche Pub in downtown Courtenay, stood a young man with red hair, freckles, a sunburned nose and a tattered shirt.  In his hand was a cardboard sign saying, “No job, please help.”

I was on my bike, headed to the hardware store. I needed to buy a tube of super duper miracle glue for a repair job that Kary had thankfully agreed to take on. Although not one requiring the iron ring per se, it was going to require some form of suspension. (Don’t laugh but I ripped off the handle on the microwave.)

Darren caught my attention with his sign and I decided to stay and talk for a minute while the light was red.

We made some small talk. He told me a little bit about his life. The light turned green and red and green and red and we kept talking.  I ran out of things to say and finally got up the courage to ask him if he knew of a good church in the area. I told him about Pastor Johnnie at the church we attend in Comox. Maybe you could come?

As I rode off I thought about him again. By the time I left the hardware store I was sure I needed to go buy him a sandwich. Maybe chicken.

When I got back to the street where we had met, Darren was gone.

I wanted to tell him about the bridge. Somehow it just made sense to me.

Elk Falls bridge