Tuesday, July 28, 1998

Saltspring Island (placenames) (Journal entry)

I awoke thinking of Salt Spring Island. Phrases we once said: We're going to Ganges for some Labatt's Blue. We're going up Mount Vesuvius and Mount Maxwell. Salt Point, Long Harbor, Indian Wells. So many orphan names attached to memory. Now mere fragments.

This place is the haven of wildlife artist Robert Bateman, and of movie stars: Al Pacino Patrick Stewart, Robin Williams. We never saw any.

But I do remember all the nesting eagles at Beaver Point. Like Christmas tree ornaments. The pictogram that I carved into living rock. A Kwakiutl sun face design for the solstice.

I remember naming the deer. We camped at Henry Ruckle's farmstead at Beaver Point, Now Ruckle Provincial Park.

And the odd bits: the first to arrive were nine slaves in 1857. They landed in Vesuvius Bay, the northwest corner of the island. Refugees from California. Last time I was on  Salt Spring Island, it was a refuge for draft dodgers, from the Vietnam war. Bob was thinking of defecting. We were looking for a place to call home.

A cultural crossroads on the Gulf islands. The Hawaiians, the Kanakas (Polynesian for human beings) whose descendants still live here. We visited the Hawaiian graves at Fulford Harbour, at St. Paul's Church, some dating back to 1885. No markers for the First Peoples, the Salishan and Saanich.

rev. 6/17

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