Life On The Mainland

I keep saying it’s for now.

I talk about when I move back. Where I’ll move. I picture my little cabin sheltered by ancient Douglas Firs. Just me and a dog. I feel a dog will make me a better woman. And a bight little studio space in the village. A few blocks from the water. That’s the dream.

I’ve been back on the mainland for a couple months now. I moved here for my business. To give it the best start I could. But I feel a bit out of place here. Ten years on Vancouver Island has changed me.

Langley is all big houses and big trucks.

New Westminster is all bridge traffic and train whistles.

Vancouver is all black outfits and glassy skyscrapers.

But there are the mountains here.

Oh those mountain ridge lines.

They really are the backdrop to our daily life.

I grew up here, watching the sun rise over Mount Baker every morning from our kitchen window. My Dad has hundreds, if not thousands of photographs of that peak. Each one different light, different weather, but the same angle. What a coffee table book his collection would make!

I’ve been talking with my mainland friends, trying to figure out what it is about the island that I love so much. Because it’s not without it’s challenges. Not without it’s difficulties. But they say in life we choose our “hard.”

Time.

For me, it comes down to choosing time.

The mainland is all commuting and traffic volume and bridge closures. I spend hours running errands here. I feel less efficient. It’s all urban sprawl. There is no hub, no village centre. The neighbourhood are larger. On the island, yes, there’s still commuting, and traffic volume - Colwood Crawl anyone? But the cities are smaller, the shops are closer. Within walking distance from each other. What takes me all day to accomplish on the mainland, I could bang out in a couple hours over on the island. And what did I do with time spent not commuting, you may ask?

I went to the beach. Daily.

I went for a hike. Weekly.

And still the everyday business of life got done.

It’s a different way of life there. A slower pace. Island folk have the luxury of time. And in that time I found a connection to a deeper meaning. A thread of connection that ties me to the world itself. In my daily walks along the water’s edge I would notice the cycle of the moon by the shift in the tides, the change of season with the presence or absence of marine birds - the winter birds are my favourite. In the forest I’d witness the pass of a day by the change in the sun’s angle through the trees. I love nothing more than to perch high on a mountain peak and watch the sun set behind the next ridge line. It reminds me that the world keeps turning, and if you slow down enough to notice, you can see it turning.

That is why I want to go back. For that life. For that time.

That is my dream.

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