Pacific Ocean, BC - Carolynn Beaty
A lifetime of water memories float in my mind forming my watermark. My earliest memories swirl around time spent on my grandfather’s small fishing boat, feeling anticipation as I let out my line to catch a salmon. Frustration often prevailed as I caught dogfish after dogfish but the odd salmon jumps out as a celebratory moment.
Other marks in my personal history emerge as warm summer evenings spent on the Sunshine Coast hopping from one floating log to another as I endeavoured to cross the width of our small cove on a water path of old growth wood. Swimming across my mind are summers spent lifeguarding off the shores of Bowen Island, caring for dozens of young children as they splashed and played their way through their days at summer camp.
More recent watermarks are moments immersed on freshwater lakes, bobbing in a fully loaded canoe on an early autumn evening in the picturesque Algonquin Park. Bug-free crisp air on my face, fall’s fingers caressing the tops of trees, these memories are characterized by the extraordinary feeling of skinny dipping on isolated warm lakes in the Canadian shield. In recent years I've slowed down somewhat, shifting my relationship with water more often onto solid land. This watermark connects the sea to my own self as I pace beaches and coastlines at dawn with my tiny young son strapped snugly to my body. I feel present and alive as we wait for the sun to rise on the Salish Sea.
This is my watermark: a collection of memories coalescing together so that I keenly sense the salt water rushing through my body. It carries legacy, memory, nostalgia, hope, and the firm knowledge of water as inherent to my physical and spiritual survival.