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Copyright, Li Read, 2006
February 28, 2006.
Looking for some new "Spring things"?
Check out Mouat's Clothing Company -- Gulf Islands Wear since 1907! Two floors of island
wear for men and women. Casual lifestyle clothing, footwear, accessories, athletic wear,
travel wear, headware and souvenirs. In the Harbour Building, in Ganges "seaside" Village.
Or, the Ganges Garment Company, in Grace Point Square, specializes in Canadian made cotton
fleece garments for adults and children, plus this location is also an agent for Helly
Hansen & Osh Kosh. Logo sweatshirts and T-shirts, too!
Dancing Bears Hemp Co. in Fulford Village (a 5 minute walk to here from the ferry
terminal!), offers a unique and colourful Salt Spring Island studio experience. Natural
hemp has been transformed into quality and comfortable clothing and accessories. All is
designed, hand dyed and handmade in the Studio. Also, the home of the best hand-made hemp
Mark's Work Wearhouse: Clothes that Work! In Ganges "seaside" Village, in the Creekhouse
Island Escapades "Unlimited": offers a unique eclectic island store, offering quality
clothing and gear for the whole family. Organic cottons, merino wool socks & sweaters,
surf shorts & capris, swimsuits, yoga/gym & skate wear. Weatherproof & technical
sportswear; great looking lifestyle fashions. In Ganges "seaside" Village.
Stuff and Nonsense: Women's apparel, kids & baby wear. Cotton lycra underwear and men's
cotton shirts & superwash sweaters. Great socks and accessories, too! In Fulford Village!
Choices: great casual clothing for women, regular sizes (in Ganges "seaside" Village).
B Side Clothing Company: locally owned and operated lifestyle clothing store for men and
women, includes shoes, bikinis, accessories, skateboards & longboards. In Ganges "seaside"
Village, in the Creekside development.
Second Wind Consignment Clothing: unique, casual, designer, vintage, gently used clothing,
accessories and costume jewellery for men, women and children. Used books, too. In Ganges
Thrift Shop: Lady Minto Hospital Aux. Society -- in Upper Ganges Centre, in the "upper
Fields Department Store, in the Upper Village "Ganges Market" Shopping Centre.
Something for everyone!
February 27, 2006.
Wonderful lowbank oceanfront point, almost 10 acres, in same family since 1900, beautiful
forest, & in spectacular Maple Bay, on Vancouver Island. See Li for the details on this
February 26, 2006.
Salt Spring Blues...
Frannie decided to pack at 6:30 in the morning.
The old leather valise, kept at the top of the crowded armoire, took two changes of
clothes, and her sketch book.
She locked the door to her cabin, shutting away the loom and its insistent call to stitch
and interlock, spooling up the wall of yarn into fabric creations that would sell at the
ArtCraft Summer Festival.
A Fran Siporsky creation carried resonance, and the sales reflected this. Usually, her
work had sold out before the end of the summer season's display.
Unfinished scarves, and vests, and fabric reincarnations of the views from her cabin
fluttered to the floor. Her key turned heavily in the lock, stiff from disuse.
For three years, now, she had tried to recreate this thing called life, had tried to
ignore the ache within since her husband's death. Fishing was a dangerous life, the way
logging was a job full of disasters, and no one seemed to care. One day there, the
How to plug this hole? How to allow the loss to dissipate?
She had thought that moving to Salt Spring, a cabin in the forest, looking out on a hay
field, sheep moving purposefully over their fields next door, and a weaving task that took
all of her ingenuity and attention, would be the solution.
Lately, though, a restlessness had attacked her, and she was unable to settle to her work.
She had tried to discuss this with the few guild members she had become friendly with, but
hadn't been able to articulate what it was she was truly feeling.
One of them had thought she might suffer from SAD, and had suggested that she should sit
under bright lights for an hour, early each morning. Desperate, Frannie had tried this,
but the restlessness and the ache within had persisted.
Then, just like that, she had wakened in the night, and the idea of moving to Pender had
struck her. She was on the wrong Island, that was all!
Pender would still allow her to fulfill these new obligations, with the gallery in
Victoria, it was still only a 35 min. ferry ride from Swartz Bay, Victoria's terminal, and
it might hold the gift of forgetfulness that she craved.
She wanted to let Paul go, to forget his crooked smile and his floppy golden hair. He had
persisted in going north, with the fishing fleet, and he had managed to elude her. Would
he have thought of her, as the boat sank in the sudden squall?
Would there have been too much happening? Was it a case of one minute here, and another
Once, she had looked down from a kayak lesson, with Mattie and Peter, and had seen the
yellow swirls of kelp beneath the sleek craft, tendrilling out like mermaid's hair, and
had immediately left the lesson...would she never get rid of this image of Paul sinking,
thrashing, calling her name?
The early morning frost crunched beneath her feet. She had to scrape her windshield. An
unexpected Arctic coldfront had swept down the Coast, chasing away early Spring promises
with a final reminder that it was still Winter.
Frannie loved the clarity of this cold snap, the waning moon still hanging in the west,
the pale pink and yellow and greeny-blue of the early morning eastern sky beckoning her
forward, as she nosed the car out of her driveway and onto the main road to the ferry.
The Valley was still asleep, lazy tendrils of smoke wisping from chimneys at scattered
farms, a lighted window showing here and there.
The Treehouse South cafe was open, and she picked up a warm from the oven cinnamon bun,
and a cappacino to go.
People in cars read newspapers, books, marked up job related paperwork, already at work on
the morning commute, ignoring the Island's stark beauty, just beyond the ferry railings.
Some few stared out to sea, savouring the mountains and islands and rippling pewter of the
early morning ocean. Frannie was one of these.
She brushed the crumbs of her breakfast from her anorak, and watched two Canadian geese
glide past, almost at water's surface, keeping pace with the ferry's slow procession out
of Fulford Harbour.
She'd worked it out, poring over the ferry schedule, that she could make the first trip to
Pender's Otter Bay, with five minutes to spare at the Swartz Bay terminal, between the
arrival of the Fulford ferry from Salt Spring and the departing Gulf Islands run from
Swartz to Pender and beyond.
She could do it all, in a day trip, returning to Salt Spring via the Twssassan to Long
Harbour route, which would pick her up at Pender's terminal and deliver her back to Salt
Spring, by ten p.m.
It was all easy, it would all work...it was clearly meant to be. The excitement of the
"new" caught at her throat. She remembered, though, that same excitement, when she'd first
arrived on Salt Spring, three years earlier.
This would be different. Paul had never been to Pender. Once, long before she had known
him, he'd helped with the water taxi business out of Ganges Harbour to the Outer Islands,
and so he'd known Salt Spring.
It occurred to her, for the first time, that she may have decided "for" Salt Spring on
this flimsy piece of ancient history. Had her choice, then, simply been this transparent
effort to hold a piece of Paul, even a piece that hadn't been hers to know?
She blinked away sudden tears, refusing to allow this meandering into emotion.
It was too much, all too much!
As suddenly as it had come, the rise of tears evaporated, and she relaxed back into the
car seat, watching the looming docks sweep into view as the ferry nosed and jostled its
way into the Swartz Bay terminal.
She knew the Islander's trick of keeping to the median, turning into the ticket wicket
line-up, while still in the terminal confines, & was just in time to go through to the
Outer Gulf Islands line-up, and onto its two storey ferry.
This route offered a coffee shop, and she bought another one, even though she didn't need
it, as her passport to a table and quietness, with a view that put Salt Spring on the
horizon, apart, in the other direction, and she almost laughed aloud.
Too bad that Mattie wasn't with her...Mattie was someone she felt at ease with, and who
seemed to have understood about the kelp that long ago day. Mattie appreciated an
adventure, and might have liked the day off, too.
Day off. Day removed. Day apart.
Salt Spring's mountains faded off to the west, as the ferry slowed for the Otter Bay
arrival. Only two cars got off, the rest of the ferry's passengers going further, to Mayne
or to Galiano, with maybe a sortie to Saturna.
These Islands were just names to Frannie...she had never thought of visiting them, and
knew no one on them. Summer places, someone had once said, but that could hardly be
true...the school boat regularly brought middle and senior students to the high school on
Salt Spring. Someone had to be living there, year round.
She followed the other car, a maroon station wagon, up the hill and out of the terminal
parking area, and pulled over to the side of the road. A large wooden sign, with a painted
map, loomed beside her. She pondered it, realizing that, just as on Salt Spring, there was
going to be more than one little community area...well, she had time, nothing but, and she
would "do it all".
Her heart lightened, with the sky, and she swooped around the corner and down the hill to
the Driftwood Mall, a tiny plaza at the road's edge. Another coffee, a map from the
tourist outlet, and she could subside into Pender's rhythm, and try to see if this could
be the place for her...just for her.
A new beginning...that's what she was wanting.
She closed her eyes for a moment, and then clambered out of the car.
Please work, please work, please work, she intoned, under her breath, and pushed open the
steaming door of the bakery/coffee shop....
February 25, 2005.
Looking for the exceptional? Here it is, on super Salt Spring Island! Almost 4 acres, an
historic farm (heritage apple trees in the orchard), with a terrific country home
(featured in Harrowsmith magazine), plus a separate oceanside guest cottage, and a year
round dock to take your boat! Walk on beach, wonderful panoramic views of
ocean/islands/mountains, and sunny privacy (s/sw/w exposures -- sunsets forever!). Enjoy!
(See Li for the details!).
February 24, 2006.
Another "seasonal adventure" is a floatplane trip to Vancouver.
Two ways to go -- Harbour Air, Seair, and Salt Spring Air do regularly scheduled flights
to the "south terminal" of the Vancouver Airport.
Or, take the Harbour Air "downtown" flight, and arrive beside the Five Sails in Vancouver
Harbour. Salt Spring Air also offers a "downtown" flight choice, arriving at the Bayshore
Hotel, adjacent to Stanley Park.
Shopping, dining, sightseeing -- lots to do, and all of it can be accomplished in a day.
See Li for some suggestions, and enjoy!
Prefer to drive? Take the "red eye" ferry from Long Harbour to Tsswassan, and return on
the 7:30 p.m. ferry.
It's easy, and lots to do, & all of it being able to be accomplished in a day!
February 23, 2006.
Sometimes, it's fun to sample one's own area, as if one had become a tourist!
Why not check into the Cranberry B & B, and enjoy the view! How about the Quarrystone
House B & B? Great!
Cloud 9, Anne's Oceanfront, and Hale Eddy B & B are some other enticing choices!
Fine dining? It doesn't get any better than Piccolo's!
Other choices? Calvin's Restaurant, Oystercatcher, Moby's Pub, Harbour House Hotel,
Seaside Kitchen, Treehouse South, Raven Street Cafe, Barb's Buns.
Clear day? There's Ruckle Park and Mt. Maxwell Park...the spirit soars!
Wander the first rate galleries, enjoy coffee at the Roasting Company, browse the
bookstores, check out the new season at Mouat's Clothing Company, buy a ticket for the
latest offering at ArtSpring...enjoy the Island, and remember how wonderful it all was
when one first arrived. Bring some of that "freshness" back, and shed the winter
February 22, 2006.
It's fun, too, to voyage off to another Gulf Island. Catch the ferry from Long Harbour, on
Salt Spring, en route to Tsswassan (Vancouver's ferry terminal), and hop off on Pender --
the Poet's Cove development offers a first class resort hotel experience, and you will be
Prefer to sample Mayne? The Oceanside Country Inn is a Hastings House style experience, on
Mayne Island, and you'll be spoiled here, too.
Galiano? The Galiano Inn and Spa, and the Longwood Country Inn, are two different and
equally charming options on this pretty Island.
If you're going, see Li for some suggestions of other things to do and to see!
February 21, 2006.
Still looking for some "off Island" experiences?
Why not take the ferry from Vesuvius to Crofton, and do some shopping in the Duncan area?
Old Town Duncan offers interesting boutiques, and you might be surprised at the array that
will attract you. Dining out? Dinner at the Grapevine Restaurant, at Maple Bay, is a
lovely experience -- sort of like a cross between Calvin's and Piccolo's.
Wanting a "big box" experience? Nanaimo delivers with Costco, Home Depot, Staples, etc.,
and Woodgrove Mall boasts that it has more retail options than anywhere else on Vancouver
Island. There's Pier One, a Chapters bookstore, and a Michael's Crafts here, too.
Where to dine? The Pub at Yellowpoint (The Crow and Gate) is worth a detour in from the
Island Highway -- it's an authentic English style pub experience, and worth a visit!
Wanting to dine in Nanaimo? I highly recommend the Longwood Pub, in the Longwood Centre,
just down the highway from Woodgrove Mall.
See Li for some more suggestions, here!
February 20, 2006.
Looking for some "not quite winter/not quite spring" uplift?
A great daytrip would be a visit to Sidney-by-the-Sea -- check out the antique stores, the
Feng Shui store (newly located on Beacon Avenue), the art galleries, and the pleasure of
strolling a different street!
Thinking of redoing your entire decor? House Dressing Company will have lots of ideas for
Robert Bateman, Canada's noted wildlife painter, and a Salt Spring resident, showcases his
work at Sidney's Peninsula Gallery.
Muffet and Louisa offers lots of home styling decorating items, including bed and bath,
and also kitchen ideas.
Tanner's is an old-fashioned bookstore/magazine store, and, if you can't find it on their
shelves, they'll order!
Places to eat? One of the best is Dock 503, on Tsehum Harbour, adjacent to Philbrook's
Boatyard. It's the Piccolo's of Sidney, in my opinion!
All of the Greek restaurants on Beacon Avenue, in downtown Sidney, are fun experiences,
and all of them offer a little different experience. I think the owners might all be
Lunn's Bakery/Coffee Shop is a fixture in the Sidney scene, and is worth a visit, too.
Your "picks"??? Let Li know!
February 19, 2006.
Have boat, will travel?? Why not investigate a water-access-only Island? Here's a great
lot on Wise Island, just off Montague Marine Park, and mere minutes from Galiano's
Montague Harbour marina. Expansive views, and sunsets forever! See Li for more details on
this oceanfront "dream", awaiting you!
February 18, 2006.
The beauty of the Gulf Islands is protected by a government body, known as the Islands
Trust, which came into being in the mid- 1970s.
The mandate of the Trust is "to preserve & protect", and this Trust is for the benefit of
all B.C., not just for Gulf Islands residents.
In the 70s, several key things were "left out" of the Trust; this would include an aging
population and affordable housing.
There are no apartments, for example, on Salt Spring Island, the largest and best serviced
of the Southern Gulf Islands, and a tenant is totally dependent upon a property owner
renting out their house, if they can't move to the Island, at this time, or in renting out
their guest cottage.
The Trust calls guest cottages seasonal residences, though, and so this rental, on an
annual basis, contravenes the Trust's bylaws for Salt Spring Island.
Home occupations are encouraged on all of the Gulf Islands, including on Salt Spring
All zonings were designated, even though not built out, back in the 1970s, and so
commercially zoned parcels, and resort based properties/multifamily (townhome) parcels,
were all "disclosed" at this early moment, even though not developed, initially.
It's not possible, then, to rezone residential zonings to a commercial or multifamily
useage. This limitation on density and growth, through zoning controls, is one of the main
factors in the Islands Trust control of development, on every Gulf Island.
On Salt Spring, there's one hotel, one motel, and nine resorts, ranging from two to 16
cottages. B & Bs are considered home occupations, and not commercial entities. Weekly
rentals became an interesting feature of this resort based economy, until very recently.
Often, owners would move out of their houses, and rent for substantial dollars, in "the
season" (mainly: June, July, August, early September). Such short-term rentals were not in
competition with an annual tenant.
However, a few years ago, B & B owners thought that there might be "unfair competition"
from weekly rentals, and resort owners, who were commercial options and paid commercial
taxes, were not enamoured of either the weekly rental or the B & B choices.
A "fuss" began, and there was an effort to close down weekly rentals, by some Islanders.
Several moratoriums to such a closure were in place, and, under the previous Trustees, a
bylaw was receiving readings, en route to being passed, which would have allowed weekly
rentals, under strict guidelines.
Every three years, there's a civic election in B.C., and, on the Gulf Islands, which are
unincorporated areas/not municipalities, there would be elections for two trustees per
Island (it's not based on population), at this time.
This past November, two trustees were elected, for the first time, who ran on a "ticket"
of maintaining the Trust's mandate ("to preserve & protect"). They recently turned down
the opportunity, at this time, to allow weekly rentals.
The Trust's jurisdiction might or might not truly be in this area of what one might do on
one's own property. There may be some repurcussions re this recent decision, as, for many
Islanders, it is the tourist business that allows them the opportunity to be able to live
on this Island.
There is no industry on Salt Spring and the other Gulf Islands; they are tourist
destinations, in the main.
The Trustees concern is to keep the Island as it "is", and yet, to allow for viable
community life, it's important that people be able to encourage & entertain a solid &
supportive business life.
The Trust meetings are held in the afternoons, when people who work and who might have an
opinion worth listening to, are unable to attend. Thus, it's often the same set of people
who meet, and who make decisions. Are these decisions truly for the best for the Island,
The Trust was brought into being to preserve the park-like atmosphere of the Islands, for
the benefit of all B.C. residents.
To facilitate this, though, it's also important that the people who choose to live on the
Island be given the opportunity to do so with ease. The sharing of the Island's pleasures
can surely be one route to both economic viability and to preservation of the
environmental charms of the Island.
The local (& mainly volunteer) chamber of commerce, which represents the business
interests on the Island, needs to take a larger role in these Trust meetings, so that all
voices can be heard.
Everyone wants the same thing -- to enjoy the pristine and interesting environment of the
Island. In preserving same, it's also important to preserve the quality of life of the
Islanders, so that we don't end up with everyone having to "leave", in order to "live".
The Trust needs to be careful to keep the sustainable farming, the sustainable logging,
and the sustainable tourism alive and well, as a base underlying and supporting further
park reserve opportunities.
At the moment, "everyone" is here, and that's an enviable community aspect that is worth
saving. A diversity of population is as important as a biosphere diversity, and the two
are not mutually exclusive.
See Li for more thoughts on this!
See you at the next Trust meeting?
February 17, 2006.
Kayak from nearby beach! Close to all of Ganges Village's amenities, yet wonderfully
tranquil and "rural" area! This is a special one, and has a separate guest cottage, too!
See Li for more details on this lovely Salt Spring Island "English Country" home.
February 16, 2006.
on inner skin of glass
February 15, 2006.
Looking for a pastoral gem? Here's one, waiting for you! And, it's on special Salt Spring
Island! See Li for the details!
February 14, 2006.
"let it go - the
smashed word broken
open vow or
the oath cracked length
wise - let it go it
was sworn to go
let them go - the
truthful liars and
the false fair friends
and the boths and
neithers - you must let them go they
were born to go
let all go - the
big small middling
tall bigger really
the biggest and all
things - let all go
dear so comes love"
(e.e. cummings -- "100 Selected Poems").
February 13, 2006.
Step into this wonderful view! It lives on Pender Island. See Li for the details!
February 12, 2006.
"I want to make myself an empty room:
Quiet whitewashed walls with slant sunshine
And a fresh breeze through open windows."
(Deng Ming-Dao: "Tao...Daily Meditations").
February 11, 2006.
Looking for an enlightening read? Check out Andrew Beath's book: "Consciousness in Action
(the Power of Beauty, Love and Courage in a Violent Time)".
Lantern Press in New York recently published Andrew's book.
Andrew, a part-time resident of Salt Spring Island, came to the Island in October to do a
reading and book signing of his work, and also to hold a discussion, along with Peter
Levitt, the Salt Spring poet and author, who made a valuable contribution to Andrew's
book, on the topic of subconscious activism.
Andrew described his work as:
"This book describes the human condition in a broad philosophical context. It also does so
in personal terms by incorporating inspiring stories of beauty, love and courage that
address the mystifying dilemmas facing each of us: Who are we? How did we come to inherit
our current circumstance? What can we do to resolve our time of discontent?
In some respects this book could be considered a new creation myth, one that could only be
born of our epoch.
One reader observed that the book reminded him of Gulliver's Travels: ideas and plot lines
of humanity's existence weave through the intellectual terrain of many remarkable
participants, who tell relevant personal stories from their own life experiences."
More information: "If you'd like to read the first chapter and/or an inspiring story by
Peter Levitt, Julia Butterfly Hill, Joana Macy, Shiva Rea and others, go to:
To order the book: The easiest way is to call the EarthWays office at: 310-456-2267.
Say hello to Andrew from Li!
February 10, 2006.
"Movement, objects, speech, and words:
We communicate through gross symbols.
We call them "objective",
But we cannot escape our point of view."
(Deng Ming-Dao: "Tao...Daily Meditations").
February 9, 2006.
Interested in an Alaskan cruise with Yoga? Contact Cornelia about this exceptional
offering (call Li for her number).
Cornelia has been practicing Yoga for the past ten years, and is a trained instructor in
the practice of Astanga Yoga, and is also influenced by both Iyengar Yoga and Forrest
The trip is from May 7 to 14th, on Holland America Line.
Cornelia states: "I teach Yoga because I believe the practice leads to greater health and
mobility and is both a preventative and a restorative for many ailments and diseases.
Beyond the physical benefits, Yoga also leads to peace of mind, enhanced awareness and
And: "In the quiet mind, clarity, strength and joy prevail".
On Salt Spring, Cornelia teaches from the Forest Hill Studio, where she also offers a
gallery of her artistic expression, as a noted sculptor.
See Li for more details! Enjoy the adventure!
February 8, 2006.
"If the boulders are moved,
Even a river will change its flow."
(Deng Ming-Dao: "Tao...Daily Meditations").
February 7, 2006.
Salt Spring Blues...
No one could remember when the disappearance happened.
At first, there was no sense that Old Sol had gone.
One day, you'd see him, walking from the store at Fernwood, up to the trail onto his
property. The next, you'd see him down at Fulford, waving at the line of cars weaving onto
the Island, the ferry steaming at the dock.
Or, maybe he was picking up the power bar wrappers flung at the road side, by cyclists, on
one of those Salt Spring to Pender to Galiano bike tours, stuffing the litter into green
bags, tagged and left at the road's edge, awaiting pick-up.
Sometimes, you even saw him taking a breather on the picnic table at the edge of Ganges
Village, staring at the docks, watching the floatplanes coming in and out of the Harbour;
he'd always said he'd been a pilot in the war, but no one had ever asked him which
war...world war 2? Korea? Viet Nam? It was always just "the war". Generic. Maybe that's
what war was; who was to say?
Billie was the first to comment, over a latte at the Roasters, "so, haven't seen Old Sol
around lately... have you?"
That started it, right there. Suddenly, everyone noticed his absence.
Peter agreed, only because Martie kept carping at him, to check out Old Sol's cabin on the
trail to Musgrave. Nothing. Place was cold, woodstove didn't show any embers, just cold.
"Looks like he's been gone for awhile", Peter pronounced, over a beer at the Fulford Pub.
His drinking buddies nodded, as if it was just a usual thing, all of them thinking that
some time or another they might just do their version of that famous Australian custom of
Go walkabout...disappear...reinvent...recharge...no responsibilities.
Freedom, maybe? Unanswerable.
They all stared into their Salt Spring Pale Ale, their Pender Porter, their Mayne Stout,
as if those amber liquids could give them the answer.
No one could remember, either, when Old Sol had turned up on the Island. The real
old-timers said he'd arrived in the 60s, along with that group on the commune by Ruckle
Others said he'd only been on the Island a couple of years, someone who had once run a big
company, and had had a nervous breakdown, then escaped to the rural peace of the Island.
Someone else said that he'd been born on the Island, then lived away, returning when his
marriage broke up and his kids were grown.
Lots of stories, and no particular pattern to any of them.
An Islander, through and through.
Someone who helped out, and did his bit.
Florrie thought she remembered him walking onto the ferry at the Long Harbour terminal.
Maybe he'd gone to Vancouver for the day? Maybe he'd gotten off on Pender, or Mayne, or
Galiano, to visit a friend?
Did he have any friends?
No one knew, for sure.
The R.C.M.P. asked questions, and put the tracker dogs onto the trail leading from his
cabin, but nothing turned up.
Someone else thought they'd seen him on Galiano, hiking to the north end, somewhere out
past Dionisio Marine Park and past Spanish Hills. This turned out to be a rumour, and soon
After awhile, everyone kind of forgot that he'd been there, and had disappeared...forgot
to keep thinking about it, as days lengthened into weeks, and they became immersed in
their own thoughts and rhythms.
Florrie and her dance ensemble gave two recitals, and one workshop, proving the value of
going to Argentina for those special lessons. Don, her friend from San Francisco, spent
some time on the Island, and Florrie went to visit him, taking her kids, too.
Mattie found a new supplier for her pottery, a gallery in Sidney, which opened up the
Victoria marketplace, and her specialty orders began to climb. This meant that she didn't
have the time for the home schooling, too, and Peter finally prevailed that they should
send the twins to the Salt Spring Centre School, and stop all this nesting instinct.
Mattie watched him, thoughtful, knowing that there was more to this than concern about the
twins social development, but unable to ask the right questions. She remained silent, her
thoughts in a tumble, uncertain for the first time, ever, where Peter was in this marital
equation they'd created.
It didn't seem possible, right now, to ask. She turned away, and stared at the order book.
It was easier to contemplate decisions about colour and texture and shape and size, to
narrow her vision to the demands of her clay, and to let her fears about Peter's evading
of her, except in the night, to dissipate. Maybe Peter could wait....
After awhile, something else popped up in the Island's chat mode, and Old Sol's
disappearance became background noise, diminishing to something that only dogs and deer
could hear...people even forgot he'd been there on that picnic table, overseeing the
unfinished boardwalk, the floatplanes regular gliding into and out of the Harbour, the
traffic snarl as two ferry arrivals at the same time disgorged lines of cars into Ganges
Village, within five minutes of each other (when is that traffic light coming, muttered
the lineup, until they were through the bottleneck and on to their destinations).....Old
Sol was ancient history.
Meanwhile, lambs cavorted in newly green fields, daffodils pushed snowdrops and crocus
bulbs out of their way, tulips began to unfold, and gardeners put in Spring potatoes and
lettuce, under plastic coats.
The earth smelled new.
People stood, sniffing like wolves, as Spring burrowed up from under their feet and burst
into bud and early camelia and rhododendron florets, and early flowering magnolias
whispered into being.
Everything felt stale, from behind grimy car windows, and spirits lifted, dissatisfied
with winter's hibernation, desperate to be out and about....
Meanwhile, baby eagles tested flight patterns, and fawns docilely followed, single file,
their skittish mothers, and seagulls screamed over Chocolate Island, and seals smacked the
Harbour, fishing for herring and rock cod, and the crab fishermen checked their traps, and
kayakers went to sea on calm days promising summer....
The world came alive, and Old Sol's disappearance faded to something beyond background
music. No one had time, suddenly, to linger at the Roasters or to contemplate other's
An alarm from within. Quick, quick, quick....create and create and create.
The Island lifted from its winter dreams, its motor churning out of idle into first gear.
February 6, 2006.
Don't forget the "Cute Pets" annual contest! Called the Pet Hall of Fame Contest, it's
just $10.95 (plus gst) to enter, and it's sponsored by the weekly Driftwood newspaper.
Deadline to enter is March 3rd. Photos are published on March 15th, in the newspaper.
You can win a prize, and proceeds go to support the local S.P.C.A.
Bring in the photo, in person, to the newspaper office, or, email at:
Dogs? Cats? Chickens? Parrots? Your horse? You decide!
Bring a smile!
February 5, 2006.
Did you know that several of the resorts and B & Bs offer special "get aways" on
Even if you live on Island, it might be fun to treat yourself to the pampering and good
food that is offered by the country "inns", and the local restaurants, to celebrate this
Piccolo's and Calvin's Restaurants are both offering "special menus" for the occasion.
The Cottage Resort and Cranberry B & B also offer specials for Valentine's weekend
More suggestions??? See Li!
Don't forget your special "someone"!
February 4, 2006.
"Quel jour sommes-nous
Nous sommes tous les jours
Nous sommes toute la vie
Nous nous aimons et nous vivons
Nous vivons et nous nous aimons
Et nous ne savons pas ce que c'est que la vie
Et nous ne savons pas ce que c'est que le jour
Et nous ne savons pas ce que c'est que l'amour."
(Jacques Prevert: "Chanson").
February 3, 2006.
Leslie on Salt Spring came up with a terrific idea, to "replace" the annual SeaCapers
event, held in June. Her thought was to offer a regatta. Along with more traditional
sailing races, there would be First Nations war canoe races, sea kayak races, and a Ganges
to Fulford race, with a dog leg to Pender Island.
This is a terrific idea, and could easily evolve into an annual event, that would draw
people from all over the Islands.
There is already an annual "Around Salt Spring Sailing Race", which is held on the "May
24th holiday weekend", the weekend before the U.S. Memorial Day weekend. It is often used
as a "dry run" for crews who plan to also enter the famous "Swiftsure" race, out of
Victoria, which is always held on the Memorial Day weekend. This event, though, only
involves the sailing fraternity.
A June regatta weekend could involve everyone on the Island, including the purveyors of
local foods & wines, with outdoor dining options, street dancing in the parking lot
adjacent to Thrifty's, and the entire weekend could be open to many different kinds of
seafaring craft, other than the traditional racing sloops.
If Leslie calls on you, for your input, think about her ideas!
Another example of the proactive "Islander" at work!
If you'd like to speak with Leslie, call Li for her number.
Any more ideas out there????
February 2, 2006.
"Meaning in life is arbitrary.
Why ruin the universe with rigidity?"
(Deng Ming-Dao: "Tao...Daily Meditations").
February 1, 2006.
Salt Spring Blues...
"Did you hear?"
"Florrie's met someone. In Argentina."
"Someone? You mean a special someone?"
"Very special, if you listen to Billie!"
"Is she going to live in Argentina?"
"No, he's from San Francisco, and they met at the class with that famous dancer that
Florrie was always talking about."
"No kidding! It's like that movie that was playing last week, "Under the Tuscan Sun", or
something. Maybe we should all go somewhere else, and meet someone!"
It's true, though, Frannie thought, waving Cynthia on her way. Maybe we should all go
somewhere else. That makes the third person, this week, who's met someone new, someone
exciting, someone just for them.
Frannie pushed the clay from the wheel, and dipped her hands into the muddy water in her
lucky blue plastic bowl.
It had been a long time since she'd thought about Paul. Paul of the shocking blonde hair,
of the blue eyes that were more green than blue, in a certain light, Paul of the
His death in the fishboat sinking, off the Queen Charlotte's, had sent her reeling into
several blind alleys, fetching up, at last, on the tranquil shores of Booth Bay, an
inhabitant in an old friend's Salt Spring guest cottage. There, she had begun to play with
her past life, in fits and starts, beginning with simple coil pots and evolving slowly,
with the spiralling rhythm of the wheel, into thrown vessels, rimed with leaves and
pebbles and smashed bits of quartz, Paul's fractured eyes glinting out at her from the
finished firing of each vase or bowl.
Her mantra, now, was to share, to care, to do for the "other". Each time there was a need,
she would write a cheque from her small savings and post it on its way...doctors without
borders was her favourite. She loved the way they were always first, ignoring the chaos
they descended into, dealing one to one with each person that presented in front of them.
Brave, she would think, pressing down the stamp, taping the envelope shut for good
measure. Each pot she threw would have a name, after that, with the most recent debacle as
It was a way of obliterating the hole that Paul had left for her, his only bequeath to her
being this constant craving for his closeness, his listening soul. Soul mate. Soul
companion. Was it possible to meet one's other half without having fully appreciated who
it was? This halfling wraith she had become did try to get through each day, and it was,
on the whole, possible.
Sometimes, wrapping her Mexican shawl closely around her, swathing her shoulders in its
rough wool warmth, as she walked the gravel road to the mail box, she fought off the
longing for companion footsteps at her side, tried to ignore the welling longing for
another's voice, another's smile...it was the inability to share that caught at her, and
always in unexpected ways.
This time, no sooner than Cynthia had gone on her way, the gossip falling easily from her
lips, Frannie had tried to settle back on the work stool, the unfinished pot drying on the
wheel, the very thought of an Argentinian sun frying her into immobility. The interrupted
work was ruined, though, and she had pulled the fractured clay into the slop bowl.
"In my ending is my beginning", had promised the poet, T.S. Eliot. Frannie had studied
poetry at college, and Eliot had been on the curriculum.
Well, there had been a lot of endings, and a lot of circular meanderings in her life, to
date, and she couldn't see where she recognized any map points on the way.
It was more like lurch and destroy, not search and enjoy.
Billie had once told her that Cynthia found men on the internet matching services, and was
constantly going off Island to have coffee or dinner or indepth evenings called "dates".
A date....how odd. She must have dated Paul at some point, but she couldn't remember that,
How could one trust an internet date meeting? she'd asked Billie. Anyone could say
anything, over the internet...there was no checking up, that was for sure!
Billie had shrugged; it wasn't important. She had Mike, after all.
Frannie scowled at the new lump of worked clay, dripping and solid, awaiting her pliant
fingers and the rhythmic whine of the turning wheel.
Maybe she should join Florrie at the tango classes in town? The paper had printed a new
class roster. Florrie had described it like being reborn...the sinuous turns on the dance
floor might promise seduction and allure.
Frannie closed her eyes, her fingers probing the sleekness of the clay, and dreamed her
dream of sunshine and fields and ocean glitter, a summer sound and smell, a past so
distant, now, that it was kept from tattering by the scotch tape of her memories.
Did she dare to begin again? Isn't that what Dr. Methuen had asked, at her last session?
Did she dare?
She opened her eyes, and pushed the wheel into action, excess water and clay flying off
into the corners, splattering her canvas work apron with smears of mud. The elongated neck
of a pot began to swoop upwards, too narrow, up, up, up...it folded suddenly, gone, and
the collapsed lump was swept off into the slop pot at her feet.
This was stupid. It wasn't working today. She would go for a walk, a walk all the way down
to Fulford Harbour, and she would concentrate on the path, on the pebbles, on the silvered
strands of dead grasses, until she was on the beach. The swans would be there, gliding the
length of the Harbour, beautifully unaware of anyone's anguish back on the shore.
She would call Florrie when she got back from the walk, and find out the truth of
Cynthia's tales. Florrie would tell her if there was room in the next class, if it was
possible for short and square people to dance like acrobats, across a polished floor,
bending and swaying like cobras to music.
Meanwhile, the clouds at the north end began to lower, almost touching the farm below
Southey Point, brushing past the sheep and the large pig...more rain on its way.
Meanwhile, the floatplane from Vancouver arrived at the Ganges Village dock, and two
people clambered out, slipping a bit on the wet rungs, one of them clutching a bulging
attache case, two paper cylinders scrolled up under his arm. Meanwhile, the otters on the
beach below Hastings House slithered into and out of the water, fishing in the outgoing
tidal currents. Meanwhile, two seagulls patrolled Ganges Harbour, catching a wind current,
gliding out past Powder Island to Goat Island's spectral trees.
Late winter or early spring...whichever...a blurring of one season into the next.
Frannie paced her way to Pattison's Store, at the Harbour's mouth, ignoring the
lengthening lineup of cars for the ferry back to Victoria.
Maybe it could start with the dancing. In this year of the dog, maybe anything was
possible. Even shutting Paul away in the closet of memory was possible, to be dusted and
fluffed out, every now and again, when needed. For high days and holidays. Right now,
though, she needed another voice.
What was that refrain from long ago? If you can't be near the one you love, then love the
one you're with?
Yes...that was it.
Frannie mused and dreamed and plodded her way there and back, forgetful, in the end, why
she had left the wheel and why she had ended up outside, in the tussle and hum of
She sat on the scarred and nicked stool, scarf still wrapped around her throat, her hat
pulled tightly to her head. She sliced off another slab of clay, and worked it, like
dough, until she felt its slippery call.
The wheel and the clay and the hands and the body pulled forth the elegant line of a bowl.
She lost herself, the process in charge, and woke up, much later, staring at what she had
Meanwhile, the Island dreamed around her.
Entries from Past Months
Contact Li Read at RE/MAX Salt Spring, 131 Lower Ganges
Road, Salt Spring Island, BC, V8K 2T2, Toll-Free 1-800-731-7131