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October 24, 2015

Juste En Trou D'Eau

By Maryanna Gabriel

Suddenly I feel like a name dropper. Memories have come sweeping back. My mother met Pierre Trudeau at a party and spoke with him for a prolonged time. After that, his photo was pasted over the kitchen sink presumably to help with dish drudgery. It was there for a month or so. Perhaps it was for this reason that my father developed an intense dislike of this man who now has the appellation "the father of Canadian politics" it is to be assumed because he steered us through separatism and inaugurated the Canadian Constitution. It would seem he has fathered a dynasty.
... ahhh, fresh air

I had no idea I was feeling so oppressed by a government that minimally participated in climate change, refused to assist Syrian refugees, initiated retirement at 67, and employed bombing overseas. We never used to stand for these things as Canadians. Last night I saw how a nest of vipers have been breeding in the Val D'or RCMP where First Nations women have been repeatedly raped and dumped for a period of twenty years. It makes me angry. I love that the new Prime Minister wants to put a stop to the "trail of tears", hundreds of missing and murdered indigenous women in a country that has not seemed to care. It is enough to make people speak out, isn't it?

Unlike my mother before me, while I probably will not be bumping into Trudeau at any parties I suddenly feel like I can square my shoulders as I take in the fresh air.

October 17, 2015

Not Out Of The Woods

By Maryanna Gabriel

I recently  had someone visiting me from a large Canadian city who asked me in a rather quavering tone, did the deer here bite? I stared at her. I thought to myself how appalling it must be to be so out of touch with nature. To my credit I kept a straight face and replied quietly, "No".

She countered with the question, was there anything to worry about then. "You mean bears and such? I said lightly. She nodded. I hesitated. I was not going to tell her about the time I saw a black bear ambling towards the canal road. It was only once in twenty years after all. Shaking my head, I turned from her with a clear conscience and bustled off hoping her stay here would settle the question.

It was not much later I was reading the "Salt Spring Exchange". There had just been a cougar siting on Starks Road and for folks to be careful. My friend was long gone. Deer may not bite but cougars surely do. It was a reminder for me that a little humility might not be amiss when it comes to these types of conversations. We are still not out of the woods.

October 10, 2015


By Maryanna Gabriel

I am reading Bill Bryson and he is using a most wonderful word... "pootled". If he can do it I most certainly can. After leaving Hornby Island we pootled up to Courtenay for a wonderful Eggs Benedict at one of my favourite restaurants there, The Atlas. It comes with an attractive stack of fruit topped by a tomatillo which always delights me. Happily smacking our lips we meandered into historic Cumberland. It used to be desolate and haunted looking. Not any more. I was surprised to see the place bustling and thriving with nary a For Sale sign visible. Pootling over to Coombs we were able to visit the market there where goats are supposed to be on the roof and aren't. I was able to get some Sriracha Sauce for half the price. This sauce seems to be a food trend. I have no idea what I am going to do with it but I have been seeing it called for lately in a lot of recipes. Maybe I will make pootled eggs with Sriracha Sauce while doing the cha-cha. 

That said, after eating ice cream , we visited beautiful Rathtrevor Park in lovely seaside
.Rathtrevor...  I usually avoid the place because of crowds. 
Parksville. I usually avoid the place because of the crowds but as we explored I began scratching my head.... I remembered more sand for one and I was puzzled for awhile because I recalled camping there with my children at the brink of ocean's edge. That is no more either. Sufficiently enlightened and updated by our wanderings we pootled our way home to live happily ever after. Now on my island here, the rains have come and it is time to burrow in quietly by the fireside with the cooler days. 

October 3, 2015

Vitamin Sea

By Maryanna Gabriel

"It was good to be a little island, a part of the world and a world of its own
All surrounded by the bright blue sea."
                                                         Margaret Brown

 Hornby Island, a pristine sparkling beauty...
I wanted to show my friend from Australia some of the beauty of the coastal waters here. She had, after all, taken me on an extensive tour in Tasmania. There the pristine sparkling beauty compares to ours. I knew Hornby Island might be quieter at this time of year and so off we went. It was the right choice. The sun shone brightly, and the landscape was golden. We walked the beautiful bluffs and explored the sweet sandy beaches, our toes splashing through the warm tidal pools. Bleached logs gleamed on the strand, often upright, amid remnants of midden
... lines of rock demarcate the oyster plots.
from occupation of the Coastal Salish. Tired, I fell asleep on beautiful Tribune Bay and later we explored the roads and beaches. We saw the oyster leases, lines of rock on the beaches that demarcated the plots, and watched as some picked up their days catch. I read some of the early history and understood why I had never come here growing up with my family. The ferries only commenced in the 1960's and at that time it took only three cars at a time. Today, this quiet place was completely quiet. With a population of less than a thousand, businesses shut their doors on Labour Day. No matter. Like islands ourselves we were self contained.

The place held us under it's spell and we were both completely captivated. We were glad we had come.