Saturday, October 31, 2009

Living in the Salish Sea...for real

Word coming through that Washington State has approved an application to name their part of the Salish Sea, well, the Salish Sea.

This is exciting, to finally have a name that addresses the historical stewards of the part of the Pacific that we live in.  Just a matter of time before all the official paperwork is wrapped up.

Friday, October 30, 2009

Soccer finals in the teeth of a Pineapple Express

Today is the final of the inaugural season of the Bowen Island Co-ed Soccer League.  Caitlin and I are on Team Red, and we'll be taking on Team White tonight, a team we have yet to beat.  The final starts at 5:15 on the new artificial turf field.  We expect it to be raining and windy...perfect conditions!

It has been chilly the past coule of days and rain too, but today the weather has warmed up significantly and the rain is resting.  This has all the signs of a pineapple express building, perhaps our first autumn wind storm.  We'll see how it progresses.  It will be a wet Hallowe'en.

Update: we won 5-4 against our rivals, winning after being down 4-2.  The rain held off long enough to get the game in, and the skies opened up as we left the pitch.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

OOB: Free car!

Starting a new category here on Bowen Island Journal: Only On Bowen.

And here is the first post: Free car!

Rainforest maples

It's autumn and there is a big leaf maple along the Alder Trail in Crippen park that sheds monster orange leaves. Here is Aine holding one up.

Our Bowen Elders

A great tribute to our Island's oldest resident, Jan Furst from The Teachings of Elders: Ellen Hayakawa's Blog:

"I will never forget the time, 4 or 5 years ago when I met Jan on the ferry on a Sunday morning. I asked him where he was going. He said that he had entered into an over 65 team fencing competition (which is one of his loves). Two days later I saw him and it turned out that his team had placed 2nd or 3rd out of 10 teams. Knowing nothing about fencing, I asked him how many people he had fenced that day expecting him to say 2 or 3. It turned out that he had fenced with 30 people!!"
I once asked Jan about his fencing and asked if he had done it all his life. "No," he said. "I did it in school and then took a little break, about 70 years or so until I took it up again."

One time he told me he was heading back to Norway for his annual return visit but this year he was going early. I asked him why and he said "My son is retiring!" I looked at him blankly. What do you say to someone whose son is retiring? "You must be very proud!" I said. He just beamed.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Respite from the fall rains

Fall rains have begun in earnest but not with heavy winds yet.  Lats night it poured straight down and this morning a northwesterly cleared the air and brought a chill to things.  Snow on Mount Brunswick today and a definite chill in the air.  The salmon should be home very soon, if they survived running the gauntlet of fish farms in the Broughton Archipelago two years ago when they went to sea.  Most of the salmon runs who pass by those farms have been decimated in the past few years.  Sea lice kill the young ones.  Our chum and coho both swim through there on their way to the sea.

So we'll start to keep a vigil for the chum that return in November when the conditions are right.  In the meantime, enjoying this beautiful day before the rains come for good.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Opportunities for community dialogue

This fall I have begun putting my money where my mouth is in terms of supporting more nuanced public conversation on Bowen Island. I am a member of the Bowen Island Ourselves team, a group that is looking at doing citizen governance and public engagement differently. One of the practices we are initiating is a series of monthly Open Space gatherings. The next one happens on october 25 and is focused on new ways to put vision into action for Bowen, although the conversations don't have to be limited to that. here is the link for that gathering:

Community Open Space - Bowen Island Ourselves

Also, I am facilitating two forums to kick off the Bowen Agriculture Alliance. We'll be looking at food security and our local food assets. The first will be held on November 1 and a follow up gathering is scheduled for November 28. You can find the invitations to those events and more information on the BAA website.

All are welcome to attend these events. And if you are wanting to hold a public conversation on Bowen to talk about anything at all, please give me a call. I'm happy to find time to volunteer with your group.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Why I blog about Bowen Island

Thick fog in the Sound this morning, and I was awoken by the acrid scent of it mingled with pulp mill exhuast combined with the ferries filling the inlet with periodic wayfinding blasts.

Reading this marvelous essay by David Abrams. Captivated by these paragraphs:

Each place has its rhythms of change and metamorphosis, its specific way of expanding and contracting in response to the turning seasons, and this shapes, and is shaped by, the sentience of that land. Whether we speak of a broad mountain range or of a single valley within that range, at each scale there is a unique intelligence circulating among the various constituents of the place—a style evident in the way events unfold in that region, how the slow spread of the mountain’s shadow alters the insect swarms above a cool stream, or the way a forested slope rejuvenates itself after a fire. For the precise amalgam of elements that structures each ecosystem exists nowhere else. Each place, that is to say, is a unique state of mind, and the many beings that constitute and dwell within that locale—the spiders and tree frogs no less than the humans—all participate in, and partake of, the particular mind of the place.

Of course, I can hardly be instilled by this intelligence if I only touch down, briefly, on my way to elsewhere. Only by living for many moons in one place, my peripheral senses tracking seasonal changes in the local plants while the scents of the soil steadily seep in through my pores, only over time can the intelligence of a place lay claim upon my person. Slowly, as the seasonal round repeats itself again and again, the lilt and melody of the local songbirds becomes an expectation within my ears, and so the mind I’ve carried within me settles into the wider mind that enfolds me. Changes in the terrain begin to release and mirror my own, internal changes. The slow metamorphosis of colors within the landscape; the way mice migrate into the walls of my house as the climate grows colder; oak buds bursting and unfurling their leaves to join a gazillion other leaves in agile, wind-tossed exuberance before they tumble, spent, to the ground; the way a wolf spider weaves her spiraling web in front of the porch light every spring—each such patterned event, quietly observed, releases analogous metamorphoses within myself. Without such tunement and triggering by the earthly surroundings, my emotional body is stymied, befuddled—forced to spiral through its necessary transformations without any guidance from the larger Body of the place (and hence entirely out of phase with my neighbors, human and nonhuman). Sensory perception, here, is the silken web that binds our separate nervous systems into the encompassing ecosystem.
This is why I blog.

Monday, October 5, 2009

Managing our visitors?

Down in the Cove, there is a lovely cottage next to the library that has served as Bowen Island's Visitor Centre for the past few years. Visitors coming off the ferry wander up Trunk Road and stop into the cottage for maps and information about what to do on Bowen. The visitors centre is run by the Chamber of Commerce, so naturally people received brochures and information about where to spend their money on Bowen. It never felt like a pitch or a hard sell, but a friendly service.

This fall the cottage funding ran out and the Chamber wrung its hands a little about what to do. Marcus Hondro, the new editor of The Undercurrent, suggested in an editorial that Bowen Islanders step up and welcome people to the island. If you see someone wandering lost around the village, give them a hand. A kind of citizen-based welcoming committee, if you will.

I liked the idea, because the truth is that is what happens anyway. I don't think Marcus was calling for that as an actual strategy so much as he was recognizing that this is what we do as islanders, friendly people, we are.

Today, Daniel Heald, the head of the Chamber, wrote a letter in The Undercurrent though that basically rejected that approach as asking too much of islanders and he concluded by saying:

The answer is for less “kumbaya” and a more professional management of the visitor through appropriate Municipal funding.
Now I don't begrudge the visitor centre the funding they get for the service they offer, but I do have a problem with having our visitors "professionally managed" as they arrive on the island. I would hate to think that that was being done to the 18,000 that stopped in this summer. When I go to a place to visit, I HATE being professionally managed. I like being welcomed by genuine local residents, shown the ropes, maybe even offered a cost-free way to spend my time in the place.

Neighbourliness is not "kumbaya." It's actually what makes our community a pleasant place to visit. So the answer is for MORE people to welcome visitors AND for a visitor centre that offers good information to people, answers their questions and helps them find what they are looking for. Let's professionally manage our businesses and welcome our visitors instead. Let's just be a community, and not a Big Box Island Community Experience.

Friday, October 2, 2009

Things come to life

One thing that is interesting about the fall here on Bowen Island is that this is the season in which things return to life, like a compliment to spring. After a long and dry summer, everything gets very tired, and with the onset of the rains, things start to perk up, animals get livelier and the salmon return...hopefully at least.

Last night, a thunderstorm, wigeons on the lagoon and snow on the highest peaks of the Brittania Range.