Leap of destiny

We went down to check the fish run at the hatchery today. Thousands of sockeye salmon are poised to leap up the fish ladders, and swim up river to complete their destiny on earth. They have had a hazardous journey thus far. It takes them many weeks to swim from the Pacific Ocean, up the Skeena River, all the while dodging avid fishermen, ravenous bears and eagle claws. Finally they have reached their home river to pair off and spawn. This is their defining moment, their lives have been dedicated to this one act and then they will die.

After such a trial it was sad to see those that didn’t make it, dead and dying, drifting in the water, food for the scavengers. Even in death the salmons function is not ended, for it feeds a whole chain of wildlife, and should the salmon not run, not spawn, and not die, many other animals would die also.

I thought about my life, will I fulfill my destiny, will I see the danger ahead and take the right action? Will what I do now make that much difference, will the seeds I sow in my life bear fruit or will it be all in vain?

Was this fine tuning in the life and death of the salmon an accident of evolution, or as I believe was it planned by a Supreme Being?

The trip home

Off the tip of North Pender Island you can often see grey whales. Apparently even from 40 miles away across the ocean one can hear them slapping their tales on the water. We were told that one can stand on the beach and the sound of the whales singing can travel underwater and as the sounds hit the beach it is as if it is coming from right under your feet.

Saturday morning was clear and the ocean like glass, a beautiful day to enjoy the ferry trip to Vancouver. En route we saw a group seals and a few killer whales of the coast of Saturna Island.

From Vancouver we made our way out of the city east to Hope and then through the Fraser Canyon continuing on northward on the long journey into the interior. The landscape changes dramatically as we drive. From the summer lushness which still lingers on the lower mainland, we drive over the barren hillsides of the semi-desert of the Thompson River region, climbing higher all the time to roughly 2,400 feet above sea level. As we drew closer to home Fall greeted us arrayed in gold, crimson and bronze.

We pulled into the driveway at 7pm on Sunday, glad to be home again. It is always good to come back after being away, even though there are loads of chores to complete before winter and it was cool enough today to start up the woodstove, but I have great hopes of an Indian Summer if it is still politically correct to call it that.

Going home tomorrow

Our stay is almost over, our friend has rallied and is eating well and most of the pain is gone so it was time well spent. We leave Saturday morning on the 9 am ferry. I made reservations this morning.

I tried to book passage over the internet but since we will be towing a boat they wouldn’t let me, so I had to phone. Why do business’ have to put names instead of numbers, I am stupid about those. Anyway after waiting for about half an hour listening to elevator music I was booked, but thank goodness we were not going to be over 39ft or I would have been out of luck. Where do they get 39ft why not 40 it a nice round number.

You might have gathered BC Ferries is not my favourite organization. Having lived on Vancouver Island for many years and having been subject to their schedules and long wait times I had sworn I would never go on a ferry again. But there you are, duty called, but I hope it never calls again in regards to the ferries. Of course to the tourist the whole ferry thing can be quite exciting and it is truly beautiful scenery but when you have 600 miles to get home it is wearying to spend the first hours of it dawdling on a boat.

So I will not be posting again until I get home, so talk to you on Monday.

Closer than a brother

As I sit here, thinking what to write, I can hear my husband and his friend chatting upstairs, reminiscing about cycling trips through Wales, camping trips and boyish escapades. Both are from Chester in Britain.

Their relationship is something very precious. Both are now 68 years old but have known each other over half a century, coming to Canada at about the same time, and then deciding to go into business together. They never miss calling on birthdays or Christmas and have been there for each other through death and divorce, and now through illness.

For me, it is difficult to imagine holding a relationship so dear for so many years. I love and leave them quite easily, moving on means making a break with ties. I wonder if that is a characteristic or learned behaviour? I do not have the roots my husband has, maybe I can make that excuse.

My mother, who was an asthmatic, died when I was four in the great London smog of Christmas 1950. My father was away in Iraq working on the oil pipeline in Kirkuk, he had been told to get his wife out of England to a drier climate, but he wasn’t able to do it fast enough. He never really recovered from what he perceived as his failure to my mother, and he became an alcoholic. Perhaps he would have done so anyway, maybe that was just his excuse.

I was sent to an aunt for a while, no one ever explained to me where my mother had gone or why. After that I saw my father about every two years when he came back on leave, but when I turned nine I was considered old enough to travel by myself to the Middle East for the summer holidays, unfortunately by then my father was a stranger to me.

Later, I was sent to a boarding school in Ascot, UK where I remained until I was sixteen. Boarding school is a very unnatural institution, survival of the fittest probably would explain it best. Join the group or go under. I have never been a groupie so I learned to like my own company, and I still do. One of the drawbacks of going away to school is that you do not have any buddies for the holidays. You don’t know anyone, plus being parcelled out to different relatives for vacations you spent most of your time alone then also. When I went out to the middle east for summer vacations I met others who also attended boarding schools, and friendships simply did not have the time to grow and what was the point, you may never see them again.

By all that I don’t mean to imply that it was anyone’s fault, or in fact that it was so terrible, but I think my personality has made adjustments, maybe I would be a different person if I had had siblings, or a close family life. The relatives I stayed with were kind, but they were not close, in fact the very nature of boarding school, I found, was to wean one away from family. We had nothing in common anymore.

Are we truly a product of our environment, or do we just like to make that excuse?

Depends on your view

The place we are staying on Pender Island is surrounded by trees. They grow right up against the house, scraping the roof, dripping with moisture, almost blocking the view of the ocean. It feels like a prison to me. I catch a glimpse of the sunrise if it is not cloudy outside, but that is all the sun that reaches in during the day. Moody, depressing and grey. If I wasn’t here to help my husband’s friend I would leave on the next ferry.
Yet I have seen similar trees in a place on Vancouver Island called ‘Cathedral Grove’ which was awe inspiringto me. As the light filtered down through the old growth it caused me to look up and acknowledge my maker.
I guess light is what I am currently missing. Jesus said he was the light of the world, I have to keep looking up or the darkness of the world will pull me down.

Anything wet shows the grain

In British Columbia, Our forests are being overtaken by the pine beetle, which threatens to decimate them in very short order. The trees are being harvested as quickly as possible, so that the wood can be used in buildings where the defects cannot be seen, as the pine beetle leaves a smokey blue streak in the wood which has not been saleable in foreign markets.

My husband, who loves to do carpentry, is building an entertainment centre on a budget. At the local lumberyard he selected the best pieces of 2 x 4 ‘beetle’ wood and has been happily engaged in his workshop for he last few days. He has glued the strips together, planed and sanded them until satiny smooth, next he plans to apply an oil based stain and he was showing me the effect he hopes to achieve.”Anything wet shows the grain” he said, as he dipped his finger in the coffee I had just brought him, and wiped it over the wood to show me. The grain of the wood took on a beauty that was not evident before, the beetle wood gleamed pale gold, with a denim blue streak through it. It was lovely.