Tuesday, July 29, 2003

My brother Tim and his wife Laura were just here. What a marvelous visit we had. It was really nice to connect with them as a couple and as an aunt and uncle to my kids. We all had kind of a down day around here after they left.

They brought along an absolute treasure. Laura's dad, Albert, spent a lot of his childhood on Bowen in the late 1930s and 1940s. HIS father shot a lot of movies of the place, and Albert gifted me with two copies on video of footage of life at the Union Steamship Company (USSC) Resort filmed, IN FULL COLOUR, in 1941. There is footage of the USSC ships coming in to the dock in Deep Cove (now Snug Cove, which you can see with this webcam). There is footage of the grounds at the resort, including the gardens and the bowling lawn. And there is footage of the old hotel too, and the cottages that people stayed in, some of which are still dotted around the cove and Deep Bay in various states of repair.

I do believe these videos are the oldest existing motion pictures of Bowen and as such it's a rare treat to have them. One copy will be provided to the archives and another copy will go to the Historical Preservation Society who are interested in showing it at the tourist information cottage in the Davies Orchard. And one copy will stay with me.

So thanks to Albert!

Wednesday, July 23, 2003

The lines are being drawn in Snug Cove. In more ways that one.

Hot on the heels of the Snug Cove community planning process being finalized (more on that later and elsewhere, but especially here) comes the painting of new lane markers on the Bowen Island Trunk Road leading on to the ferry.

This is all part of a new ferry marshalling experiment which has people ranging from positive to confused to outraged but generally willing to give it a chance.

I was in the cove this morning watching the lines getting marked out and painted. The experiment, which is the initiative of one councillor, is to last six months. My own little jury is out until I see how it works, but I can't help thinking that the Cove will look a lot more like a parking lot and a lot less like a village in the mornings and on summer weekends.

Thursday, July 10, 2003

Hot today...over 30 in the shade on the back deck. We were called over to the west side of the island this afternoon to lend our hands to the annual Bluewater neighbourhood Super Soaker Fight. There was something like 30 kids and adults, divided into two teams armed with all manner of squirt gun technology, water balloons, gardening equipment, cups and buckets taking on each other in mortal combat limited only by the amount of water we had to draw out of the rain barrel or from the hose trickling run-of-the-stream creek water into emptied spray gun resevoirs.

It was a battle that was not about staying dry, but rather about trying not to be humilated with a skillfully designed and executed attack. The height of good form was having a couple of kids draw an adult out with some smaller water guns and then have another adult sneak up behind them and pour a bucket of muddy rain barrel water over their head. I thought our side was especially good at this kind of tactic, although I certainly took my share of well executed soakings.

It must have seemed strange to see thirty people drenching each other while the Bluewater Water System has a water use restriction on due to our recent hot weather, but we were very water conscious. All of the water we were using had been drawn from the creek or a rain barrel especially filled for the occaision. Our hosts Ray and Lisa were very accomodating with their water, Lisa's garden got nicely freshened up, and we all cooled off in the most delightful way possible.

We ended our evening tonight at Bowen Bay, mixing with friends on the beach, munching an improvised supper of potato salad, tomatoes, Boursin cheese and baguette and swimming in the ocean.

This is it. This is the heart of summer in the Salish Sea, and we're relishing every minute of it.

Monday, July 7, 2003

Around the Bowen noosphere these days:

Just another sunny week in paradise.

Sunday, July 6, 2003

Don't delay...go visit the photo gallery of Sewell's Marina, a Horseshoe Bay based institution. Select "Howe Sound" from the drop down menu and let your eyes feast on the nicest collection of photos of Howe Sound I've ever seen.

Wednesday, July 2, 2003

News today fromthe Czech republic that the2010 Winter Olympics are coming to our neighbourhood.

Bowen Island lies just off the Sea To Sky Highway, which starts at Horseshoe Bay where we get our ferry. The highway connects Vancouver to Whistler and beyond. Obviously too early to say what will come of the decision, but as with everything change is inevitable.

Tuesday, July 1, 2003

How are we defined and shaped by the places we live?

My response to the latest subject being contemplated by the Ecotone blogging community.

When [a bhikku] dwells contemplating the body in the body, earnestly, clearly comprehending, and mindfully, after having overcome desire and sorrow in regard to the world; when he dwells contemplating feelings in feelings, the mind in the mind, and mental objects in mental objects, earnestly, clearly comprehending, and mindfully, after having overcome desire and sorrow in regard to the world, then, truly, he is an island unto himself, a refuge unto himself, seeking no external refuge; having the Dhamma as his island, the Dhamma as his refuge, seeking no other refuge.

-- Buddha, Mahaparinibbana Sutta

I am standing on a beach on the south east corner of Bowen Island in the protected cove of Seymour Bay. It overlooks the Queen Charlotte Channel that separates us from the mainland of continental North America. Out at the mouth of the channel, little Passage Island sits, battered by waves and wind rolling up the Gulf of Georgia from the southeast. To the east of Passage Island, the towers of downtown Vancouver rise in the distance against the darkening evening sky.

What becomes immediately clear is that this whole scene unfolds from the surf line at my feet moving further and further "out there." The limits of the view are defined by the rising peaks of the Cascade Mountains 100 miles away. I can take in the sight, but then I have to turn back to get home. It's clear that I don't live "out there" anymore. I live "in here" now.

This island is a rich psychological metaphor. We turn inward to go home, peering ever outward from our shoreline at the world beyond. Taking trips to the ends of roads that terminate in beaches that sink into the frigid waters of Howe Sound. Living beyond our boundaries is fantasy. Living within our skins is real.

Moving to an island affects us deeply. We cannot escape the idea that our connections to the outside world are severed, and we turn instead to the inner connections for our reliance and sustenance. For me, physically moving here was accompanied by an psychological and spiritual inward turning as well. It invited me to explore my inner resources and creativity. And this whole place is populated by many people who have taken this triple journey inward, so we invite each other to play with the notion continually. We hold storytelling sessions, coffee houses, concerts that marry classical music with Brazilian instruments and African dance. Poetry that accompanies art that depicts the landscapes we inhabit daily.

We are trained to wring meaning out of every experience. Our eyes become accustomed to reading the place as a canvas for the play of our spirits. We drink in observation and churn through ideas, looking for a myriad of ways to express ourselves. Our raw materials are the land, the people, and our connections. Our outputs are our art, our structures and our communities.

Everything about this island invites us to go inward. One cannot help but follow the physical journey with a spiritual one. We retreat into our selves, examine what we see there and find ways to bring it forth into the world. Being an islander does not mean isolation; it means knowing where your edges are and constantly creating connections, following trails and exploring details. You grow aware that the limited landscape in fact draws you deeper in so that it becomes an infinite journey through fractals of detail. The island and the soul become holograms, every part reflecting the whole and encompassing the perfect fullness of its presence. It's impossible to live for long on the surfaces.

Eventually, we take the shape of the island itself: windswept shorelines exposed to the elements, and rich and verdant interiors full of growth and solitude.