Monday, November 4, 2002

Wow. It's been a while since I have blogged about life here. Maybe that's because it seems like nothing has changed much over the past little while.

The fact is, that I think a huge part of my motivation to to notice and write about things here on Bowen is tied to the weather. The more changeable the weather is, the more I notice. And right now we are sitting in a period of incredible continuity. In all of October we had only 18mm of rain. That was an all time record for this region. For the most part the month was sunny and reasonably warm with frosty nights just beginning in the last week. With the exception of a moderate Squamish wind a few nights ago, it has been very calm. We are basking under some kind of freak high pressure zone that just keeps delivering unseasonable beautiful weather.

But while the weather has been gorgeous, it hasn't been without cost. Notably water levels are very low, and with the dry summer we had, there are creeks on Bowen that are still dry, a never seen before phenomenon in November. Killarney Creek, which boasts a coho and a chum salmon run has only a trickle of water in it, not nearly enough for the salmon to even get a taste of their homestream let alone move up it. Without significant rainfall in the next few weeks, the salmon will weaken and their breeding liklihood will decrease.

But salmon aside, no one is complaining, and the Douglas-firs on Mount Gardner seem to be raking barely enough moisture out of the sky to keep the forest moist if not ideal for mushroom hunting. The water resevoirs are low all over the coast, and hopefully we'll see them top up soon. At least no one is needing to water their gardens too much, this being November and all.

The nice weather was welcome on Haloween, which is a very special time here on Bowen; it's pretty much the national holiday. The community pulls together to puit on a number of events, the centre piece of which are the Haunted House and the fireworks display. The Haunted House is more of an interactive theatrical performance than a simple trick or treat gag. The whole of Collins Hall and the grounds of the United Church were converted to a very creepy set of scenes, featuring a labyrinthine passage through the Hall and past scenes of frightening surprise and pure horror. The actors, set designers and sounds techs who all make Bowen home were all over this project and it did not disappoint. And good of the the United Church to let the community use it's facilities for a faux-Satanic pagan festival eh? Only on Bowen...

The Haunted House was followed up by trickortreating (all one word) in Deep Bay, the oldes neighbourhood on Bowen. Literally hundreds of kids from all over the island descend on the houses of Deep Bay in a Halloween equivalent of shooting fish in a barrel. The demand is so overwhelming for the residents that helpful parents from other parts of Bowen always bring bags of candy to replenish dwindling stocks. And so, for a few hours every year, Deep Bay becomes a centre of whirling madness, the little streets clogged with flashlight toting dinosaurs and witches, walking corpses and Vancouver Canucks wannabees (same thing?).

All of this if followed by 20 minutes of pyrotechnical madness hosted by the volunteer fire department who discharge loads of very serious fireworks into the ari above Mannion Bay. Thousands crowd around the beach cheering and applauding and ducking the odd stray rocket and bits of shrapnel. Hot chocolate is served on the Causeway and everyone goes home happy. It's an amazing community event.

This year Finn declined to take part. He made it in the gate of the Collins Hall grounds, but was too spooked by anything else to go further. So he and I went home to watch the fireworkds from our place, which worked out fine, except that he exhibted a previously unknown deep fear of explosives. Instead of truly enjoying it, he shook like a leaf on my lap for tenty minutes and then refused to belive me when I said they were done. Even three days later he still peers suspiciously out the front window at the lights of Whytecliff across the channel and babbles incoherently about the experience. Poor traumatised guy. He turns two years old later this week. I guess we have to think seriously about not putting sparklers on his cement mixer cake.

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