Harold leans across the brine-eaten railing to catch a glimpse of the sealion lazying in the sun. Seagulls wheel overhead and the fishermen slap baskets of shrimp onto the jetty, ready for market. The first customers already crowd the docks, stepping over cordage to the moored boats bobbing on the water. Shielding his eyes from the sun, Harold looks beyond to the open sea, where a container ship draws a faint red line across the horizon. The vessel charts its journey from port to port, not unlike Harold, who has embarked on his own voyage of redemption and self-discovery from the south coast of England to its northern shores.
In The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry, Rachel Joyce tells the story of an elderly man, who emboldened by the letter of a dying woman, sets out on foot across England to meet her before her time has come. It is a hasty decision, naive in its assumption that by simply walking towards her, Harold may somehow slow her death by making her wait for him. Throughout his journey, Harold learns to rely on the kindness of others and to bond with those who are not the same as him yet also not entirely strangers; he discovers meaning and joy in the ordinaryness of small things and the greatness of nature; he rekindles a love he thought he had lost and purges his soul of the crushing weight of his past; and in the process he builds a following of minds who may think alike but who act in ways that are beyond him. Tender, meditative, unexpected and brave, The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry marks our own journey in life from the person we think we are to the person we aspire to be.
An artless coastal meal enriches our literary voyage: moist, velvety black cod basted in lemon-and-scallion-infused butter, with a crust of smoked salt, cajun seasoning and black pepper, and tossed kale-slaw on the side. A well-balanced Quail’s Gate rose from the summer-baked Okanagan Valley delivers ripe notes of strawberry with a tonic rhubarb kick.