Friday, January 2, 2015

Happy New Year

We enter into 2015 as a community that seems relieved that the previous 7 years or so of acrimony over Cape Roger Curtis, artificial turf, the National Park and vicious and personal blame and counter blame has finally ended.  It feels like the day after the Pineapple Express has blown through.  Branches litter the road, the sky is clear, and everyone is appreciating the respite. 

If you aren't from Bowen, you'll be relived to discover that the world hasn't ended.  That Bowen is still a beautiful green paradise set in an inlet that is getting healthier.  The heron's have not all donned swastikas and appropriate private businesses.  The island's forests have not become smoking cinder fields, razed by commercial interests with no concern for life itself.  And no one has been imprisoned for corruption, lying, misleading, damaging, ruining or otherwise irrevocably destroying Bowen's future.  Prominent individuals have pledged to re-evaluate their desire to still live on this sullen and ridiculous rock, and they have stayed.  Blow hards and conspiracy mongers are running thin on material.

And importantly, new people have arrived, gushing about the amazing place that this is.  I like talking to them.  They see things that those of us who have been around for a while no longer have the eyes to see, have long ago poked out our own eyes in an effort to remove the speck from our neighbour's eyes.

I was reading the first couple of years of posts on the Bowen Phorum last night, going back to 1999 and noticing that the same debates and conversations and complaints and idea have been kicked around since then, and no doubt long before then.  the only thing that has changed has been the voices, but it's like the ideas (ferry marshalling, community centre, Cove planning, development, Council decisions, herons, beer, commerce, noise, suburbification, culture and the naming of idiots) are ideas that are sprung out of the very nature of the place.  It doesn't matter who lives here, the same insider narrative keeps appearing over and over and over.  Amazing.  Like the sword ferns that just keep unfurling year after year from the same hummock in the forest.

Perhaps this year, we can all endeavour to see the island with new eyes, that's what I'm up for.  Here is an old song I penned during the Artifical Turf War back in 2008.  May it guide you this year:

For this we came

For the inland sea that holds the wind
The forest full of sighs
Arbutus on the rocky cape
and low and leaden skies
Seen from afar its verdant light
is caught within our eyes
For this we came

For this we travelled far and wide
from the homelands of our birth
to rest upon this rocky shore
sink our feet into its earth
for this we came

There's nothing that surrounds us
Except beaches made of stone
And for all the change and difference
we're made from skin and bone
and neighbour leans on neighbour
to make this place a home.
For this we came


Remember when you first laid eyes
on the waters of the Sound
And the Tantalus and Britannia ranges
rose up all around
And your heart sang with the beauty
in awe of what you'd found.
For this we came


So tap this source and hold it close
when the storms come rolling in
Remember what it feels like
to begin again
to make a life upon this land
that takes us warmly in.
For this we came