My visit to Agawa Canyon

“If a tree falls in a forest and no one is around to hear it, does it make a sound?”

I visited Agawa Canyon for the Labour Day weekend. I have no certificate to show I climbed the 300 steps to the top of the lookout. It was an overcast September 1, 2013, and the gloom intensified the white waterfalls, the glassy lakes and animated greens.

Yet I would say fall or winter, or even early spring, would be better times to go. Not that Agawa’s Algoma country is not impressive all clad in green, (what with the decimating California fires as inverse testament***), but I could only imagine how much more breathtaking would have been the autumnal changing of the leaves. Or given my penchant for the starkly atavistic, frost-laden pines and forlorn trees.

The train ride itself is a fire-truck red wonderland, inside and out – red décor, wide windows, a dining cabin, an old century feel. And so, I went straight back in my mind to my first train ride to Flanagin Town (guess where, lol) to visit my school friend, the faithful Phyllis P. Flanagin Town, a weird lonely bush town – What would possess her family to live there?  I thought at age 13, leaning out to touch swathes of lastro bordering the meandering train to South.

By contrast the Agawa Canyon train is close-cabined, and as I gazed at the giddying green floating by, in that time bubble two prevailing thoughts crossed my mind.

First, it was as if for me a long-time Christmas had come again with its 1,000 pieces jigsaw puzzle. My brothers, sisters and I bend over a table. Hours and hours pass as we, transfixed, work tenaciously at fitting in a palette of minutely differentiated greens.

A Canadian landscape?  Agawa?  It could have been, since puzzles, ham, the holly and the ivy, sleigh bells and Christmas trees with angel hair (these I could imagine in every nook and cranny of the Agawa Canyon) came not from where I lived. Nor did Newfoundland salt-fish. Every childhood sip of ginger beer and bite of black cake back then was a deserved reward. Every successful fit of green jigsaw was a triumph, so intricately coloured are these landscape greens.

Second, I heard again that enigmatic question that I had not remembered in a long long while: “If a tree falls in a forest and no one is around to hear it, does it make a sound?” What an epiphany! This time I had an answer. So far from home, in many ways I am and have always been that tree.


***I awoke on September 1, 2013 in Algoma Country to learn that the main building at St. Jacobs Farmers’ Market had burnt to the ground.


One Commentto My visit to Agawa Canyon

  1. Yvonne says:

    I think I know where I want to go on my next vacation!
    Thanks for sharing the experience in such lyrical language.
    The place sounds like paradise.