Childhood Sweets


It's been almost two years now since I left Edmonton, AB, and moved to Sooke, BC. Sorry, Edmonton, I haven't missed you at all. I'm totally blinded by love of the West Coast.

I spent most of my childhood living on Sooke Lake Road, near Goldstream Provincial Park. The Dayliner, a passenger train that ran from downtown Victoria up island to Courtenay, would pass us in the morning, and again ride by around dinner time as the train returned round trip. I remember going to the corner store and paying a quarter for a chocolate bar. In times of trouble, I wandered the paths behind our home and hid my fears among the pink Lady Slippers. These delicate wildflowers attracted me, their petal crowns soft against my cheek when I lay down on the needle carpet of the forest floor.

The old neighbourhood has changed, of course, but Humpback Road is still narrow and twisty and beautiful alongside the reservoir. I learned to ride a bike at the bottom of Humpback where it straightens out before joining Sooke Lake Road near the park entrance of Goldstream. I felt the first crush of infatuation there too. The child in me always looks back up to the hills to catch a glimpse of the legendary Sasquatch.

Pacific Salmon are now working their way up the Goldstream River to spawn before they die. They find their way back up parent streams to their home pools each year at this time. Their cycle of life is a reminder to me of the passing of time, and of the season so rich in colour. I too found my way back home, and now live a short drive from Humpback Road. I love driving through the woods that connect me to my childhood. It is there that I first dreamed of being a writer.

The Best Places To Drop In

I woke and looked out the window to see a beautiful blue sky this morning, no wind moving the trees, and my first thought was about going stand up paddle boarding. I knew that if I was serious about going that I would need to make sure my husband wanted to go too, we'd have to decide on a place to drop in, we'd have to check the tide table if we were heading out on on the ocean, and then dress for the cooler weather.  The hardest part of getting ready is deciding where to drop in. Here in Sooke, we like going to Muir Creek, Whiffen Spit, or Cooper's Cove in the Sooke Basin. 

Muir Creek is located 12 km (7 miles) past the Village of Sooke. There is a gravel area just past the Muir Creek Bridge for parking. It's a very short walk to the location we drop in, directly below the bridge. From the mouth of the creek we can paddle out in either direction to the sea, or if the water is too choppy, we can stay in the more sheltered area of the creek as long as the tide is in. 

Whiffen Spit Park is a very popular spot for locals and tourists wanting to walk the gravel walkway to the lighthouse at the far end of the spit. There is limited parking in the paved lot right at the entrance of the walkway so we like to go as early as possible. The water is always busy with boaters leaving the marina, but there is an abundance of seals in the area, and they always pop up around us with curious looks. 

Cooper's Cove, or as I have nicknamed the area, Jelly Fish Bay, has a large gravel area for parking and another short walk to the drop in. There are a number of areas to explore from the cove, and even on windy days there is a protected channel you can paddle to and practice short, fast strokes against the current. This is a good skill to have for the choppy waters around the basin.

We've taken our boards to a number of lakes around the Greater Victoria area, and my personal preference is Prospect Lake. I found Thetis Lake to be too busy, Matheson Lake to be too windy. It's a longer walk with the board to drop in at Prospect Lake, but it's a beautiful drive to the north end location of Whitehead Park where a public dock is located.

When the decision of where to go is the complication of my morning, I reflect that life is pretty wonderful here at the south end of Vancouver Island.

Where Love Leads

Love of the wind whispering to me through the forest, misty air saturating my skin, each breath full of the sea, brought me back to the Island, back to the life inside of me.   

Love separated me from my first home, took me away to create a new life. The thought of returning never buried, the hope remained that we would reunite.

Love led me to the fern gully, the broom covered hills and the river of frogs singing at night. Love opened the door for us to connect, for your blooms to brighten everyone's sight.

Love gave me all this to cherish and to keep close and hold tight, but you, Diane, showed how to open wider and be stronger and when to fight. 

Love brought family and friends together today to celebrate and connect us through your life. Love always will lead me to you, Diane, love recaptures your light.  

Love whispers to me in the wind, the dark, the rainy storming night. Love leads me through the darkness to morning, a brand new day, birds in flight. Love of the Island, love of the sea, love of the life given to me.