Friday, November 22, 2002

It's a beautiful day out there right now, lots of low cloud and fog on the Sound which is currently drifting and breaking up in the morning sun. We've had two dry days in a row now, which has compensated for the wet start to the week. Over a 30 hour period on Monday and Tuesday we had 210 millimeters of rain fall. That's something like eight inches. Take a piece of letter sized paper and stand it on its side. That's how much rain we had.

The result is that the creeks are flowing again, and how! The salmon all moved when they had the chance and apparently on Wednesday the fish were thick on Killarney Creek heading into the fish ladder past Bridal Veil Falls. Across the channel, on the continent, there is snow on the tops of the highest peaks: The Lions, Mount Harvey and Mount Brunswick are all white capped now. A high pressure system that came through after all the rain forced some strong Squamish out winds on Wednesday, but the last two days have been calm and really warm. It'll probably be +10 or higher today. We're expecting a cold front later to day and temperatures will drop to below freezing tonight.

It's all a sign that winter is coming here in the Sound.

Last year when I started this Journal, it was suggested to me that doing so would have real value for me as I reflected on what it was like to first move here. Later, as I shared news of this site's existence with people, it became clear that one role of this writing is to document life in a peaceful place, and to hold it there for people like my friend Avner who lives in Israel and facilitates dialogue between Israelis and Palestinians who are searching for peace.

Now there is another reason to write. Last weekend my brother got married in Toronto, and his new wife is the daughter of Albert Plant, who spent a lot of his childhood in the late 1930s and early 1940s with his family ensconced in No. 5 cottage on Snug Point. Meeting Albert and his sister Elva was a delight, and, despite all the pressures of a wedding and entertaining, I managed to spend a couple of wonderful hours with them reminiscing about what Bowen was like sixty years ago. Every time Albert came into the room where we were talking he had another comment or story about Bowen, his "Paradise Island" as he called it. He told me of days spent starting his first business, recycling the beer bottles that party goers left strewn around the Cove after the famous dances at the Union Steamship Company resort. He shared stories about lashing together logs into a raft and sailing around Mannion Bay, or falling on the rocks on the Cove side of Snug Point and wandering around Deep Bay confused by a concussion. Alva and Albert used to sneak into the Sunday school picnics that came to the Island every weekend. They would enter races and try and sneak a hot dog or two before a bemused Minister would recognize them as not of his flock and shoo them away.

In the midst of our whirlwind story telling session, Albert produced a reel of film that his father had shot in 1943, which was the last year the came to visit. By that time, the USSC parties were too much to bear for a young family and they took a place in Crescent Beach instead, where Elva now lives. Albert promised to transfer the film to video. I'm dying to see it, see what life was like here back then, and I'll be sure that a copy gets to the archives.

So here's another reason to keep writing this little log. For Albert and Elva and anyone else who stumbles across this piece of Bowen in cyberspace. I heard some great stories last weekend in Toronto; it's the least I could do to share some of mine.

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