Thursday, November 17, 2005

On Not Seeing the Rock of Gibralter

I have no memory of not seeing most of things that I have not seen, like the Virginia Falls on the Nahanni River. In fact, until I checked it out just now, I even misremembered the name of those falls, thinking that their name was the same as that of the better known Victoria Falls in Africa, which I have also never seen and have no recollection of not seeing.

On the other hand, I do have a most distinct recollection of not seeing the Rock of Gibraltar.

It was dark outside and I was sleeping happily in my bunk---although, of course, having been asleep when the memory starts I do not actually remember that happiness---and then my father came into the cabin and woke me up, to a rather limited extent, and held me up to the porthole and told me that we were passing by the Rock of Gibraltar.

Wanting only to go back to sleep, I fear that I had no interest in seeing a rock, even though my father, who was a geologist, was so enthusiastic about seeing it. My father was enthusiastic about a lot of rocks that, at the age of three at least, raised no corresponding enthusiasm in myself. If you had asked me then I doubt that I could have put my response to the sight of a rock into such precise words, but I am pretty sure that my position was that if you have seen one rock you have seen them all.

And, in any event, I did not see any rock at all, but only a faint reflection of myself on the inner surface of the porthole. So I said that I saw it, wanting to get back to sleep, and my father put me down and I got back into my bunk and that is all that I recall of that. I guess that I went right back to sleep.

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