Sunday, December 28, 2014

Messing around on the island

I've been getting to spend some quality time at home on Bowen recently, which has been nice, and now that Caitlin's walking parts have recovered from an injury, we are able to wander together in forest.  We are especially happy walking in the dark of late afternoon.  Here are a few shots of Bowen at that time of day:

Half moon over the dead trees at Killarney Lake

Killarney Lake after sunset yesterday
And today, with Caitlin off on her annual New Year's retreat, Finn and I went exploring some of the bike trails of Radar Hill on the south west side of the island:

Finn checking out a huge drop on a bike trail in the forest below the radar station

The Canadian Coast Guard radar station on Radar Hill.  There are also microwave towers up there as well as a water treatment plant and a quarry.   
The view from Radar Hill looking west over the Strait of Georgia

Sunday, December 21, 2014

The best picture yet of the Pineapple Express

This is a picture of the entire North Pacific Ocean showing the plume of warm moist air hitting us right in the face. It explains why there is very little skiing happening and why my insulated rain coat is too warm even for a walk to the village. 

What a great photo though. Puts it all in perspective. 

Saturday, December 20, 2014

Rain on the lagoon

A set of three low pressure centres are combining out in the Pacific and drawing another stream of moisture on to our coast.  Today, a walk in the pouring rain down to the Cove covered head to toe in waterproof gear gave proof to the adage that "there is no bad weather, only bad clothing."

I watched the rain fall on three mergansers sitting on a log, curious about the tide so high that it was flowing into the lagoon.  Wondered how many raindrops have fallen today.  Billions? Trillions?

Thursday, December 18, 2014

The bench that awaits the returning light

The bench at Killarney Lake that looks out across a rock and the calm surface of this afternoon's gloaming.  I love the word "gloaming." It refers to the dusky twilight that is practically what passes for daytime now, so close to the solstice, when the grey clouds that envelop us dim the already weak northern daylight even further.  I love the cool air and the damp and wet, I love the contrast of walking into a friend's house full of the smells of spiced ginger tea and welcomed with warmth.  I love that we can huddle together to sing, as we did tonight with our local men's and women's Threshold Choirs, wrapped in blankets in a yurt, singing chants we practice for the dying, accompanied by the random percussion of the rain.

I am built for gloaming of Advent, a northern soul, a winter lover, one who can wait and wait and wait for the returning of the light, for the summer's long in breath that begins a 2:03 on Sunday afternoon.

Until then, enjoy some other amazing gloaming.

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Another Pineapple Express on the way

This is the moisture forecast for next week. Another atmospheric River bringing us rain and warm temperatures and further delaying ski season. 

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Mouille frites and rain

This was my spectacular afternoon.  Mouille frites with Salt Spring Island Mussels in a curry creme sauce from Rustique and then a walk home along Pebbly Beach watching the clouds build up over the Britannia Mountains.  The snow line has drifted back below 1000 meters meaning that they are finally getting natural snow up at Cypress Bowl again after a few weeks of melting and high rain.

It's the perfect season for mussels right now and you should head out to Rustique to get the local ones while they are at their peak.  Thierry and Celine will be closing for two weeks in January to take a well deserved break after a successful first year in business.

Not me selling

My neighbour Brad has his house up for sale.  It's a quirky house up at the top of a long flight of stairs that is really hard to get to and is a special place for the right person.  As a result it's going relatively cheap, but the parades of people having a look this summer were an indication that it's not going to be easy to sell. For a young single person or a couple, it's perfect I think, especially as a weekend place.  And I hope he can sell it, for his sake.  The market has been soft these past few years.

I have no intention of selling my house.  I've said often that I intend to stay on this island for the rest of my natural life, and although who knows what might happen, I'm quite satisfied to be placed here on this place.  And having been here 13.5 years I've made lots of friends.

When Brad listed his house, they put the sign at the bottom of the long stone staircase that ends right at the bottom of my driveway.  For the past year, I have had people asking me, in whispered tones, if it is indeed me that is moving.  We are not moving, but I have enjoyed receiving the warmth of the question and the relief that spreads across people's face when they hear that it's my neighbour.

It's kind of like being a guest at your funeral.  Quite sweet to take in the little moments of appreciation.

Monday, December 15, 2014

Wind damage in the gloaming

Walking around in the dim dark air this afternoon looking at the wind damage from last week's pineapple express. This alder tree is just one of hundreds that came down in the south easterly winds of the past week. The creeks are swollen, gravel is washed away and new channels are carved. This is how it is in December.

Sunday, December 14, 2014

Birding at the Cape

The west wall of Howe Sound, Mount Elphintone to Wrottersley looking back from Cape Roger Curtis

Spent the afternoon at the Cape looking for birds.  Oystercatchers, murrelets, Barrow's Goldeneye, mergansers, buffleheads and several thousand Surf Scoters.

The Scoters were something, flying in huge flocks in their usual winter circumnavigation of the island.  Was interesting to see what happened when they came around the Cape and saw the new dock.  They are used to a clean shot along the shoreline.  Today the flock was scattered and doubled back on itself before moving higher to get around the dock.  I wonder if any birds have hit this structure yet.

Friday, December 12, 2014

Ocean abstract. Afternoon sailing to Horeseshoe Bay

December rituals

The weather outside has been wild, a full on Pineapple Express for close to a week.  Record high temperatures, something like a foot of rain and high winds.   This is autumn at its best on Bowen.

Today in the Undercurrent, something of the rituals of December life here on the island.  Tina Overbury has a nice piece on what happens from Light Up The Cove through to the Polar Bear Swim, and why these small things matter in community.