I was sitting on what was to be a quiet lunch break when I found my solitude interrupted by people seeking the intrigue of the location. I had parked my motorcycle at the edge of a 300 foot cliff overlooking the north shore of Lake Erie, hoping to sit back, enjoy my home packed lunch and do some reflection and writing. This was short lived dream.
An older couple was touring the countryside in the old convertible when they noticed the worn sign directing them to the cliff. The couple lives in the lake side village of Port Dover, a couple hours east of here. Port Dover is a lovely little village with the character of a post card photo that makes you long for days gone by. But whenever a Friday the 13th rolls around on a calendar, Dover transforms into Canada’s own one day Sturgis event. This year’s event, which falls in August, expects to see over 15,000 bikes and over 200,000 people take over the village of 4000 residents. My family will be among the hoards of motorcycle enthusiasts, riders and hardcore bikers.
The couple who stopped by the cliff location where I sought some peace had never before been to the cliff. It is such a unique location at the end of a dirt road that is not commercialized in any way. Other the barrier in the small parking area, the cliff and the effects of gravity are accessible to anyone feeling inclined to view the rapid decline.
As they were leaving, a young guy showed up. We had a bit of small talk – it’s difficult to ignore a guy sitting on a motorcycle at the cliff’s edge I suppose. When he walked back my way after a short trek along the edge, I had my notebook out to do some writing. Marcio, as it turned out was his name, asked if I was writing in my journal. I explained that I was an aspiring writer and he told me his journal was in the truck he had parked in the lot just of the hill. Curious, I asked why he had a journal, since there are few males who would admit to such a past time.
Marcio was visiting family in the area for the first time since the earthquake in Haiti. He lives in West Virginia but had travelled to Haiti on his first missions trip; he is just 21. The trip was not to help with restoration, but rather his team had arrived prior to the quake and was just seven miles from the epicenter when it struck the island nation. Marcio and his team were relatively safe, with only minor injuries, but the home of the family next to them fell and killed many of the more than 20 people living there.
The team was heli-vac’d out of Haiti to the safety of a country not in ruins. Instead of coming home, Marcio returned to Haiti to help with the rescue and rebuild for the next four and a half months. In one single day he witnessed the mass grave filled with 150,000 bodies. We can’t imagine. We don’t want to.
My quiet and peaceful lunch was shattered by people, but I am reminded of the blessings I have. That I can take time to ride out to the cliff’s edge to meet people and share stories of travel and life’s adventures. I am reminded at opportune times that everyone has a story. It may not be the time that you want to hear if, but if you stop and listen just maybe you will be filled with passion and inspiration to pursue your own dreams and desires.