" SpiritofSaltSpring:BC:Canada:GulfIslands:SaltSpring:Salt Spring:

November 22, 2012

Love and Hate and Geography

I left Salt Spring a little more than a year ago. I packed up my stuff and left behind the panic that was rising inside me as another winter of being in a 450 sq. ft. cabin, alone, as the rain dropped ceaselessly, and the quiet closed in even more densely than the grey-white fog, descended.

I appreciated all that I'd learned from negotiating being on my own. But then again, I was always pretty good at that, I thought, until I reached the limit on Salt Spring, last year, at the end of October. I couldn't wait to get off the island. It wouldn't have mattered one bit to me if someone had screamed, "Don't let the ferry guardrail bump your bum on the way off" when I left more than ready.

If you live on an island, you probably have your own experience of how a confined geography can shape psychological space as well.

So, now, a little more than a year later, as I think about a friend who feels the same way and can't wait to leave an island that is her home, I can't help but think about how that's the way life is: cyclical. What attracts, repels, sometimes creeping up on us by surprise. And, when it strikes, somehow we're both surprised and have been expecting it.  If we listen to our feelings, regardless of how ugly they may be, we will eventually find our way back to what attracted us if we were truly in love in the first place.

I'm about to visit Salt Spring for a week-long visit next week, and now, I can't wait to return for a short visit.

I will visit Ruckle Park to make sure that I get the feelings right about that place as I'm about to write about it. That park is the reason I fell in love with the island so many years ago. I fell in love with the forest, the beach, the owls in the trees, the ewes and the turkeys, the light that bathes everything golden on an August morning, the auburn tree bark, the Ruckle Barn and heritage houses and the stillness of a full moon glimmering across the blue-black waves.

And, when I say that I think, well, isn't life just like that. The things we love, we can sometimes no longer bear. We do love our partner, really we do, but sometimes we can't bear them even one more minute, being in their presence, watching them chew their food.

We do love our job but we are sick to death of having to get up every morning and have to go to it and be around people that we have to because that's why they call it work, it comes with confines.

We do love our kids but sometimes, there's no way around it, they are a pain in the butt.

We do love our friends but sometimes we must keep them at arms-length for a while until the magic that first happened can, hopefully, be found again. Abracadabra.

And, when I find myself in that space, I always hear one of my favourite sayings: When the boat reaches the pier, everything will go straight.

Do you have a place that you consider your touchstone? If so, why?