Monday, June 11, 2012

Adventure 23- The Chinese/Japanese cemetery

This weeks adventure was the one that spawned the idea for Natalie and I to expend more energy to spend time doing something different every week, exploring new places in the Comox Valley and surrounding areas. We drove past the cemetery at the end of 2011 and both spoke that we had never visited this park, and that we should do so. Then we talked about other places to visit and soon the list was growing in length and the rest is history.

I didn't take any pictures of the cemetery. It felt disrespectful to the deceased to take simple photos. Maybe I am wrong, but that is how I felt so this blog will not be accompanied by any images. I have already posted plenty of Natalie and I riding our bikes around Cumberland on this blog, so use your imagination or browse around to see more pictures.

It was going to be a quick adventure. I had a load of firewood getting delivered at noon, and there were many chores to do outside that had been neglected while I have been at school. I was able to get some siding washed, lawn mowed, weeding and moved some of my leftover firewood. It felt good to accomplish these tasks, and after a quick lunch we mounted our wheels and went for a nice ride. Natalie is gaining so much confidence and skill that I was comfortable letting her race me on the street. It was so much fun, even when she beat me. She did have a major crash. She spotted a curb, about six inches tall and figured that she could ride up on it. I heard "Hey Dad, watch this" I turned my to look over my shoulder, and I knew exactly what was going to occur. She hit the curb sideways, not perpendicular to it, and had a spectacular wipe out. She ended up with her bike on top of her and crying really hard. She didn't realize that you have to pop your tire up over things like the curb to get over it. I felt so bad for her, because she was trying to do something to make me proud, and it caused a crash. I am proud of her for trying, and more proud of her for getting back on her bike and continuing on with our mission. It was a symbol of how much her confidence has grown. A year ago she would have been done, and I would have had to carry her bike home.

We pedaled out to Royston road and turned on Union road. We raced the whole length of this road, a crossover from Royston road and Cumberland road at the highway. We rolled into the park and carried on up the hill to the Japanese side of the cemetery. We slowly meandered our way around, through the trees, checking out different monuments and memorials. All the headstones were gathered in one area on top of a large circular platform of exposed aggregate concrete. These stones varied from polished, colored granite to normal boulders with carvings. This monument was really quite beautiful. I am not sure of the history of this burial park, but I wondered if these stones were all moved to this central monument to protect them from erosion and vandalism. We did a few headstone rubbing to try this out, and they turned out pretty neat.

Down the hill is where the Chinese cemetery is located. The markers were still in the ground, and were different than the ones up the hill. These graves were capped with concrete with a flat granite marker placed on top to mark the deceased. Natalie was curious with all the Leungs that were in the cemetery, and I explained to her how there were many Leungs in the Comox Valley, and there still are. She would tell me in a caring voice that this person had a good life by the length of the life they lived. It was very cute and grown up. The clouds were beginning to open up and spit rain so I decided that we should get going home before we got soaked. We were unprepared for any kind of bad weather and I really didn't want us to get soaked.

We had a fun, interesting, quick adventure to complete this close to home excursion. We have finished most of the adventures that are close to home and now that I am on the eve of being back from school we will venture further from home and check out some new territory. Find Adventure.

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