Wednesday, July 18, 2018

False Narrows

False Narrows, Gabriola Island
I live on the edge of a Salish Sea passage called False Narrows, a sometimes treacherous channel between two islands.  When the tide is high, it looks inviting, a promise of deep blue water  between two open sections of ocean.  But lurking beneath the surface are the broad, oyster- and clam-rich sandbars that will catch an unwary boater.  When the tide is low, the sand islands bare themselves to the sky and to rubber-booted tide-pool explorers.  A deep, marked channel  guides the careful boater through to the open water on the other side, but even following the markings, paddlers and sailboards will struggle against the current, and motorboats will find their props clogged with trailing kelp. Last summer a sailboater tacked too close to the shallows and got caught by the dropping tide.  He and his passengers had to wait hours for the tide to lift them off the sand.

Sometimes I sip my coffee, sit back and watch. I admire the beauty of the changing landscape, count the herons, smile at the otters, marvel at the wingspan of the eagles. Other days the metaphor takes over.  Don't we all see the surface rather than the hazards hidden below?  Those with experience and careful preparation know the harmless way through to the other side.  And sometimes, a hapless blunderer will roar through the shallows, blithely unaware that he or she is centimetres from disaster. False narrows, false promises, blind luck.

Some say, when they hear I've moved to a Gulf Island, people tell me, "that will be so relaxing."  I'm definitely more in tune with natural rhythms, but the ebb and flow creates no shortage of daily drama.

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