Pender Harbour—Past Tense

Sibella showed me a place
where country quietness
tranquillized my soul.
Surrounded by circling eagles
we shucked a bucket of bivalves
from Oyster Lagoon near Bargain Narrows
that was layered with strata of shells.
I was sold.
A Sunshine Coast convert.

Then, swimming spots were
quiet pick and choose.
Garden Bay Lake juxtaposed the road
Sakinaw—stone’s throw from the sea—
and the lake called—Ruby—
whose depths hid a strange pounding noise.

In Kleindale I drank from a stream
where salmonberries dipped their orange caps,
and ate a snack of flat red thimbleberries.
Salmon, of course, cooked to pink perfection;
whose run was up a bramble covered stream
under the road
where they squandered their way
towards breeding beds of appropriate gravel.

There is a Pender Harbour smell
of crushed salal
arbutus bark
Oregon grape
and combined conifers.
A Salish maquis warmed by the sun
and blended with a salt spray,
to scent the hiker’s air.

At Oyster Bay I saw the osprey swoop
the merganser dance
the cormorant’s wingspread cape
and the heron’s sentinel stand in Gunboat Bay.
Quietly observed by beige blended deer
and ignored by a retinue of quail.

Picnic blackberries picked at Irvine’s Landing
where—from the edge of the red wharf—
a pink orange salmon sun set west.
East—the mountain named Daniel—
sacred to the Sechelt,
where remnants of stone rings
recognized the influence of the moon’s cycle.

Since I left, I heard that an ancient Yellow Cedar
was felled in the Caren range and abandoned.
Recorded by an anxious biologist
as the oldest tree in the whole of B.C.
It’s not the same today—
too many people have gone that way.