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October 16, 2011

Salt Spring's Fernwood Dock as Rural Water Cooler

More often than not when I stroll down to the Fernwood Dock on the north end of Salt Spring Island where I live, I'll meet someone there to chat with.  I like to think of it as the water cooler of the North End, although that description is a stupendous stretch from the reality of what might take place around an office water cooler. To be honest, however, I don't recall ever really having a conversation around an office water cooler. Do you? The photocopier on the other hand, now that's a hotbed of social activity!

The weekend before, I met some new landed immigrants from Korea who were using chicken thighs as bait inside crab traps to catch small, bright red rock crabs that honestly, must have about as much meat in them as a sparrow's leg.

On  this beautiful Thanksgiving day, I met Elena Johnson and Joe Nagy from Vancouver. Initially they were talking to other Salt Spring residents also out for a stroll on a sparkling Thanksgiving Sunday. When the others moved on, I continued talking with them.

They were here from Vancouver and staying at The Harbour House Hotel. Elena is a poet. She relocated from a little village in New Brunswick of 222 people (221 when she left) when she was accepted into the MFA Creative Writing program at UBC a few years back.  Of course I was interested. She has had great personal success in the past couple of months getting her poems published in various literary journals in Canada including: the Literary Review of Canada; Dandelion; Arc; and This Magazine; as well as being included in RockSalt: An Anthology published from MotherTongue Publishing run by Mona Fertig here on island.

Joe has been in his chair for 13 years after a forestry accident and together they have this wonderful energy about them which I think comes through in the photo (above).

Tuesday, I dropped in at Bruce's Kitchen as I usually do to touch base and they showed up right behind me. We all had lunch together and we were speaking about writing programs and various other things about Salt Spring (which for the record they found to be really, really friendly) when a woman sitting next to us interrupted us and asked if we would like to hear one of her own poems. Of course, we agreed and she proceeded to recite this...

by Laura L. Lang

Lost in the moment
Fear rises to the surface
Like the head in your glass of beer...

You blow it away
Choosing not to drink it
Becoming part of the haze

VIctory for a moment
But fleeting it would seem
For fear that has not been dealt with
Will crawl back on its knees..

And when you think you've beaten it
Fear rises to the occassion
You've only second guessed it
Now it is part of the equation..

All you are and ever would be
Are lost in the the fears we refuse to see
In order for your dreams to take shape and form
You must face your fears, by riding out the storm.

You may or may not know that Chef Bruce Wood loves poetry. One of his favourite poems is by Pablo Neruda, it's called Your Feet.

Meanwhile, Elena is working on a book of poetry and it will be good to look for that when it gets published. Always nice to meet the visitors who are drawn to the island for some R&R.