A few weeks back, with time to kill before my flight home from Newfoundland, I drove to the top of Signal Hill and walked out to North Head. Signal Hill offers stunning views of St. John’s Harbor and The Narrows, and East to the Atlantic Ocean. It’s a place I’d love to linger at on a warm summer day. But this was December, and the wind stung as I took in the view from the top of the hill. Not a beach day at all, but the overcast skies cooperated enough to give me a view. Looking out at North Head, I noticed a couple of red Adirondack chairs in two spots along the North Head Trail, cleverly placed to draw the eye, give walkers a place to rest a spell and at that moment to stir my wanderlust. Not very far at all, perhaps 20 minutes or so, and despite the wind and the raw day I felt the urge to visit those chairs.
In the time it took me to walk down the boardwalk stairs and out to North Head the fog that gives St. John’s it’s nickname rolled in fast and hard. The last couple of people out on North Head hurried past me on their way back to their car, leaving me alone out on the trail, with visibility rapidly decreasing and nothing but the blaring foghorn marking the Narrows to keep me company. That foghorn reminded me of the horns blowing on the Wall on Game of Thrones as the White Walkers approached, and frankly, I wouldn’t have been surprised to see one walking out of the mist towards me. Or perhaps the ghosts of Leif Erickson, the lost-to-history Beothuk tribe, the French or British soldiers who fought here in the last battle of the Seven Years War or maybe just the countless tourists who stumbled away from George Street long enough to walk these cliffs before me.
Alone out on North Head with the fog swirling and the horn calling out its warning, it was easy to imagine them all marching by me, and the moment stays with me still, almost a month later. I hope to visit St. John’s many times over the years ahead, but we all know that men make plans and God laughs. Here’s hoping that fate brings me back for a longer spell next time.