Saturday, February 21, 2004

I'm getting ready to hit the road again for a week, so yesterday I took advantage of an offer from my friend Roch to hike down to Cape Roger Curtis.

Yesterday was a beautiful day, a solid reminder that spring is on the way, and the soundscape in the forest is changing as red-winged blackbirds return and the chickadees launch into their two note territorial calls. The day was calm to begin with as the night's light Squamish wind dissipated and the wind swung north west. Over the course of the morning we watched as it came into Tunstall Bay out of the Strait of Georgia, developing into whitecaps by noon. And by then we were on the trail, having abided the morning at the Tunstall Bay Community Association clubhouse, overlooking the beach and a couple of river otters at play among the goldeneyes.

The Cape is the windswept south western point of Bowen and it sticks out into the Strait making it a great place to see wildlife and to taste the salt spray at the prevailing waves break on the rocky beaches. We built a fire on a secluded beach and roasted bison sausages, talking all the time, and watching guillemonts, geese and a young bald eagle. At one point I pointed to a seal that had come into our little cove and then stood in astonishment as it turned to face us and showed us its paws. It was clearly not a seal, but an otter, and an otter of that size could only be a sea otter, an extremely rare endangered speicies on this coast, who are making a comeback from the fur trade that decimated them. But they are a rare sight nonetheless and if I can get someone else to assure me that this is indeed a sea otter, this would be my first wild sighting of one.

I still smell of woodsmoke and salt. It was a good day, a day that reminds me about what is really important.

Thursday, February 19, 2004

I've been off the island a lot lately, travelling in darkness mostly, out of bed at 5:45am and back home at 6:00pm. The life of a commuter.

Yesterday I had a very startling thought. I realized that I have become very disconnected from the island. Commuting does that, especially in the winter. I am out of touch with the tides, the birdsong, the sun and wind and rain. I couldn't tell you without looking what phase the moon is in, and I was taken by surprise at the sight of Jupiter high in the early morning sky the other day. I am just not as aware of this place, of nature, of me in my surroundings.

Today I got to stay at home and do some writing and Finn and I tracked a deer for a while in the woods behind my house. This old doe kept darting in and out of salal bushes, but she was leaving good prints and there was lots of scat on the regular deer runs so she was pretty easy to catch up to. Finn was thrilled, and so was I...finally reconnecting with this place.

THis whole experiences has given me a pretty profound insight into what it's like to be a citizen of Bowen if you are a commuter as opposed to someone who lives here full time. As we get deep into the community dialogue on the Snug Cove planning process, some this sharp delineation, between people who need convienence and are disconnected from the flow here and those who live here all the time and are sensitive to large scale change without context, well, this shapr delineation actually begins to mean something.

It's nice to walk in both pairs of shoes for a while.

Thursday, February 12, 2004

Our family, and a large number of the kids and parents in our Learning Centre have been training in taekwondo. Our school,Bowen Island Taekwondo now has a website with some beautiful pictures. Have a peek.

Wednesday, February 11, 2004

I've been travelling: away to Saskatchewan, in and out of Vancouver, travelling with the commuting masses in the darkness of early morning and late afernoon. It has seemed that the island is really a dream, more a rock upon which my house stands than a real place. It is shrouded in darkness and covered in rain.

But today something is different. Today the day began with a sunrise that, from the Lion's gate bridge going into Vancouver, threw the silhouette of Mount Baker towering over the fog that enveloped all but the highest buildings downtown. And the day bloomed like a flower, becoming clearer and bluer as it went on until this afternoon, returning on the 3:35 ferry I was absolutely struck by the character and the spirit of this place. Sunlight glinting off a calm sea, air as clear as crystal, mountains green-grey and topped with pure white crowns. I remembered the island and the landscape as a continuing character in my life here, and started singing my summer song:

All the diamonds in the world

That mean anything to me

Are conjured up by wind and sunlight

Sparkling on the sea

It feels like winter is leaving.