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The Chronicles : One | Two | Three | Four | Five

Chronicle One


Molly dreamed...she was walking on Kits beach...she stepped over a log and it turned into a canoe...she pushed it out to sea, the foaming waves licking at her ankles as she shoved the aluminum tube into the deeper rocked as she swung herself in, but it didn't tip...there were no paddles, but she didn't need any...the canoe knew where it was going, gliding gently out of English Bay, past the freighters sulkily waiting their turn at Vancouver's crowded docks...yes, the canoe knew where to go, it had been there before, and a sense of peace, of relief, washed over Molly as she saw the forested flank of a mountain rise to meet her in the Strait, a long harbour welcoming her in to the Island's fastness, and then, just before she reached the line of floating wharf at the harbour's end, she awoke to find herself still in the apartment, still hearing the grinding of the city all around her, the wail of sirens and the pulsing of the traffic, and the alarm buzzing her into a new work day. Her Island dream had faded again.


Molly met David for coffee after work. He chose the Starbucks at the corner of Robson and Thurlow, even though Molly craved a health juice from the O'Tooz juice bar around the corner. She watched David lick the foam from his cappucino.

"I had that dream again last night," she offered. He didn't answer, thinking about something else, as usual. He rarely listens to me anymore, thought Molly. "Maybe it means something...maybe it's telling me to take a holiday? I haven't had a day off in a long time."

David nodded distractedly. "Do you want to go to a movie tonight?" he replied.

Molly stared at the fleck of cappucino foam drooping off David's moustache. That was another was beginning to bother her watching other people eat. The whole thing of the chewing & the swallowing was getting to her. It was definitely time to go find that canoe, and to paddle off for awhile. She found herself taking the easy way out, and agreeing to see a movie. At least she would be able to get out of having to talk for a couple of hours.


When Molly bought the Sun newspaper, a thing she never did, but she wanted to do a crossword puzzle to calm her nerves, she found the ad for a weekend on Salt Spring. "For women only", it read. It wasn't that she really liked women only things, but it would mean that David wouldn't be able to whine & say in his usual wheedling way, "well, why can't I come?". She was beginning to feel like a clone these days. Or, worse, a twin. She had always thought it must be terrible to be a twin...always someone else there...always another voice that must be answered. "For women only...a Yoga retreat on beautiful Salt Spring Island. Tranquil location. All meals & accomodation provided". Molly reached for the phone & punched in the numbers. Enough was enough. It was time to take the dream by its shaggy edges & shake it into being.


The ferry lurched out of the Tsswassan terminal 30 minutes late. Molly stood out on the deck, drinking in the smog free air, staring at the circle of mountains ringing the Strait, arcing to the sky from Vancouver Island, around past the Sechelt Peninsula, crouching above the cityscape of Vancouver, and south into the U.S.A. She had always loved the mountains of the Coast. The ferry hooted, & she jumped with the noise. A group of children pelted, laughing, past her, disappearing around the corner of the front deck. The holiday effervescence of this unexpected escape from routine buoyed her; she couldn't wait to arrive at whatever it was she had signed on for. The narrow gate of Active Pass, Galiano Island on one side, and Mayne Island on the other, shut off the distant city from sight. Out of sight, out of mind...wasn't that what was promised? The ferry slid out of the boiling whirlpools of the narrow Pass into the calm sea separating Pender and Salt Spring Islands. The lopsided curve of Mount Maxwell on Salt Spring was the beacon that guided the ferry into its Long Harbour slip. She followed the line of cars off the ferry, the telephoned directions easy to follow, her heart elated with the joy of the unexpected. Salt Spring Island...the adventure had begun.


Molly took the road through the little shopping village of Ganges, and decided to stop for a minute before going to the Yoga retreat location. She parked beside the post office, and began to walk the few square blocks of stores and park that were Ganges. She stopped and checked out the window displays of the different art galleries and craft stores. She noticed that many of the items had been created on Salt Spring, and reflected on the number of artists that must live on the Island. She went into a real estate office, and met Li Read, who gave her an information package on Salt Spring, things to do and what to be sure to see, and also gave her a real estate brochure of current properties for sale.

"This is a beautiful Island," Molly said to Li Read.

"Yes, it is," agreed Li. "I've been here ten years now, and I could live anywhere, but I choose to be here...people come to the Island to vacation, and they all love it, but when you live here, it's like peeling off the first layer of an onion, and then you see its real charm, and why we're all so lucky to be able to be here! It's not like living in a small town, many people have come here, from so many places, that there's a real cosmopolitan sense of life, with a tolerance for people not usually found in small towns...everyone is interested in the environment, though, and treasuring the natural beauty of this area. We're so close to Vancouver and to Victoria, and to the rest of Vancouver Island, that we can go off on daytrips to the city, and recharge, if we want to. It's always such a relief to see the ferry get close to our Island, though, on the return trip home!"

Molly gave Li her address, and asked to be on Li's mailing list for Island information and real estate updates, and said that she'd be back.

"You're going to be really glad you came to the Yoga retreat," said Li. "It gives you that quiet moment to listen to what you really want to be doing in life. Keep in touch...let me know how you found it."

Molly waved goodbye, and crossed the street to the local coffee house, the smell of roasting coffee enticing her in. A bookstore offering internet access was next door. If David had been along, he would have immersed himself there, she thought. David...they had been friends for so long...things were not the same, though. This was a weekend to be honest with herself...and things were definitely not the same with David as far as she was concerned. 'A quiet moment to listen to what you really want to be doing in life'...that was what Li had said about the Yoga retreat...maybe the point of that recurring dream, the canoe gliding to the Island, pulling her into something...maybe the point of all her recent restlessness was about to become clear.... Molly finished her latte, and continued on her way, the village dropping out of sight behind her as she pointed the car up the hill and along a secondary, forested road, to the large sprawling house that was to be her home for the next two days. Was that apprehension or excitement that thrummed in her body? There was no going back now.


"So, what was it like?"

Molly looked at David. She had forgotten how intense he could be, how he almost vibrated with suppressed energy.

"It was interesting," she replied.


Molly shrugged, ignoring the sarcastic tone in his voice; she refused to be drawn into the bickering pattern they seemed to have fallen into. She looked down at the sidewalk, at their feet, striding in unison. They had agreed ages ago to go to this gallery wasn't what she really wanted to do, this first night back in the city. What she really wanted to do was to sit quietly, to think about the calm center she had momentarily blundered into on her weekend retreat. That, and the silence of the forest at night on Salt Spring. She did not want to share this quietness with David...he would make fun of her, she was certain. He was not an Island person, she decided. Or, was he? Was all this brittle panache just a veneer, the real David lurking somewhere underneath the plastic and sparkle?

"It was really a very pretty place...maybe we could go some weekend? They have Bed & Breakfasts...resorts...there's a lake there, with cottages...we could rent one".

"Sure, sometime, why not?" He pulled her behind him into the gallery, already full of people sipping wine and dissecting the artist's works displayed on the wall.

Molly let him disappear into the agitation of the crowd. She turned her back on the splashes of violent colour climbing the gallery walls, and left, running up the sidewalk to the bus just about to pull away from the curb. This confusion and clamour was no longer for her. She was going to have to figure out how to get back to the Island to stay...maybe she could buy a business, or start one? There must be something she could do to earn a living did other people do it? She sat next to the window on the almost empty bus, oblivious to the view of pavement, storefronts, people, traffic...she would write to Li tomorrow & get her to send some information on how to move to Salt Spring & how to be able to work there...there had to be a way to make it all happen...Li would be able to help....


To be continued....

Does Molly buy the craft store that's for sale? Does Molly buy a townhouse with a view? Does David follow her to Salt Spring? Who did she meet on the ferry back to the Island? Did she learn how to talk to a llama? Did she take kayaking lessons from the local marina?

Suggestions welcome! email me with your ideas!

Contact Li Read at Sea to Sky Premier Properties (Salt Spring), 4 - 105 Rainbow Road, Salt Spring Island, BC, V8K 2V5; Direct Tel: 1-250-537-7647