Monday, January 24, 2005

The rain lets up for an hour or two and then starts again. It switches between torrential downpour and fine mist, sometimes lingering in slight drizzle. Everywhere there is saturation. The roads are so soft now that school buses and garbage trucks can't travel on them. Roads that are seal coated have opened up great wounds where the water pools in potholes as deep as six or eight inches.

But Bowen Island is a rock and most of the water - something like 1 billion gallons of it this week alone - has flowed quickly off the island in the creeks and streams that lie in hardened channels. They flow off into the ocean which is now the colour of pea soup, with many huge trees still floating around like stricken bodies, roots clutching at the sky in some kind of arbour version of rigor mortis.

There is fog everywhere too, swirling past the house, making it impossible to see on the roads at night, or lying in still patches out in the Sound, seemingly fixed, but gone when you turn to look at them again. There is no colour in the landscape that does not include to tone of the fog. The greens and blues of the mountains now look like gunmetal grey and the sky and the sea are one timbre.

This is not so much a weather system as a way of life now. We can hardly remember a time when everything was dry, when the wood on the house was not coated with a layer of slime, when the roads did not glisten and hiss. When the season changes here, it is more like the coming of another world, and we change our lives accordingly, throwing open windows, basking in the sun, setting out our blankets and bedsheets to fill with the fresh air of spring.

But now, we huddle inside, stoaking the fire to stay dry rather than warm, watching the ravens sip their fill from the puddles in the grass.