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June 06, 2011

Aim to be friendly on Salt Spring

Meet Bella as a baby on the shoulder of Amy taken at least a year ago
One of the many good things about Salt Spring is that if you're feeling isolated, you know you can always go into town, buy a coffee, sit down and more often than not someone you know will come along and join you. This happened to me even when I didn't live here. It's sort of how I met the Camper Man

I'll be honest and say that the past two months working at home, writing and trying to find new writing work and exploring off island Communications work has been a challenge for many reasons, not the least of which is the amount of time it means I'm spending alone.
Silence might be golden when you live in New York but when your weekdays are mainly spent interfacing with a computer and seeing nothing while you work except ocean, trees, bunnies, deer, swallows, robins and hummingbirds, things can just get too quiet for me. Afterall, in the past, I did work in a department at UBC that had 55 professors, 175 grad students and 700 undergrads, not to mention about 65 employees AND I lived on Robson Street near Stanley Park so there's quiet and then there's pinch yourself to see if you're still above the grass (not under it) quiet.
One morning last week, having had enough of my own company, I went down to The Treehouse Cafe. I was going to have a late breakfast. As I entered The Treehouse, Terena LeCorre, who owns it with her husband Marc, was heading towards a table.We both eyed each other at the same time, and I hesitantly asked her if I could join her because I've met her a few times but really only to say Hello.

We ended up having a really nice, easy conversation that lasted about an hour and if not for her, I wouldn't have been directed out to visit Salt Spring Island Bread Co, owned by Heather Campbell and I wouldn't have been able to finish writing an article about Salt Spring for Boulevard Magazine that I was having a lot of trouble with.

So, after our lovely conversation and the boost to my mood, I heeded Terena's advice and drove out to Ruckle Park, which has always been a refuge and then on the way out of Ruckle, I drove to Heather Campbell's studio and property that is situated to take in a 180 degree view panningMount Bruce, Swartz Bay, the San Juan Island, Mount Baker, Saturna, and Pender. (Sorry, I purposely left my camera at home that day so I might need to make another trip this Friday which, according to Heather, is actually the best day to come since she and two assistants who have worked with her for 10 years, do the baking that day). She's not open Saturdays but sells her bread at The Saturday Market.

While I was there, two ladies were visiting from Vancouver and Heather gave us a mini tour showing us the view from inside the house that her husband, Phillip Van Horn, an architect, renovated after they moved here in 1997. It's a really comfortable, just one-bedroom, light-filled open-style house with windows all around to capture the spectacular views off the terrace.  Then her and I chatted just a short time in her bakery which is a converted garage with old garage doors that you pull up in the summer on three sides. Every bit of the property seems so full of light. There's also a tiny room of its own in a separate free standing buildin with nothing but a double bed, a wood-burning stove and a spectacular view. It's meant for close friends who visit and small enough to keep the potential visiting crowds at bay. As a parting gift, she gave me a lemon loaf. 

Sometimes, I see people here who don't seem very friendly. You can walk right past them and they won't even acknowledge you. Some of them actually run businesses here.  I just have to feel sorry for them because they're missing so many great opportunities.

I try to give people the benefit of the doubt because often I am lost in my own thoughts and have undoubtedly done the same without realizing it, but taking the smallest risk you can make by smiling and saying hi, even if you don't know people, will not only make the island an even nicer place but could open up your own world to possibilities you never imagined.

Try it!

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