Thursday, October 6, 2011

Island Time - British Accents and Hitchhiking



It's curious how quickly the human body can adapt to a new location - for me personally, eagerly calling it home. This small island, Bowen Island, and this L’Abri-lifestyle have quickly snatched up my heart and mind to the point where, now, this is where I feel at home.

When out and about (yes, those words ought to be said with a Canadian accent) town (Vancouver), when I think about the return trip back to the island, the words that are in my head are, “Time to go home.” And when people ask where home is, my response often resonates with the idea that I’ve been temporarily relocated to Bowen Island.

This quaint (?) sweet (?) little (definitely) island of a few thousand....

Where the community is thick.
Where dogs take on human-level status.
Where standoffs with deer are frequent.
And where everyone seems to have a British accent.

What I love is the entry point to this community is the ferry. That’s where it call comes together.

Even though I’ve only been here for a short bit and could by no means be considered a resident (especially by the residents who have been here their entire lives) and it is not a reciprocated feeling, I feel this united feeling of belonging as we board and exit the ferry as a walk on. It’s like a parade as the islanders leave the ferry via foot, dispersing when they reach their homelands.

One of my favourite things about the island... two. Two things I like are that there are no chain stores allowed on the island (just try and put a McDonalds here - they would flip!) and the abundant network of walking trails.

Hitchhiking is also frequent, common, acceptable, reliable, and convenient here.

Oh! Oh! And they have bioluminescent plankton here (phosphorescent)! It’s incredible! One of the residents, Matt, has had us over multiple times to check it out in the bay. If you swim late enough at time, well, it’s insane! There’s these little plankton everywhere that light up when you bump into them. So when you jump in, swim, twirl, or move at all, little dots of blue light light up all over the place. When you get out of the water, the lights get out with you and quickly slip down your body. It’s fun to shoot streams of light out with your mouth and glittering all over. Surreal and magnificent. Definitely a wonderful sight to be seen if you can bare the cold (thank you Washington-water for preparing me).

And within this island is the L’Abri community - up on Bishop’s Hill in the thick of the forest with its own clearing, three ponds, and three residencies. Community within a community, like those Russian nesting dolls. Here is yet another place of belonging, culture, and routine (tea, tea, tea, tea, tea - five times a day) that I think merits its own post someday.

Bowen Island is serving me well. It’s a peaceful setting for the kind of growth I’m aiming for and holds enough pockets in the woods to hide in that I feel safe.

I’m grateful I live close enough to it (when I’m “home-home”) that with a bus-train-train-bus-ferry-hitchhike-walk ride, I can easily get myself back here for a weekend to slip back into the meandering rhythm of things.

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