Wednesday, July 23, 2014
May your life be simple and your reservoir full
This is how life almost off the grid can affect you in a mere 13 days: It’s thundering rain this afternoon at our borrowed beach house in the Discovery Islands, and my first thought when it started to fall was, “This will be good for the reservoir.”
Paul and I are currently in the waning days of an amazing housesit on North Rendezvous Island, at a property that is normally a little summer resort for getting away from it all but at the moment is totally ours. I can hardly believe our good fortune to have all of Solstua West to ourselves. I would be indebted for life to owners Pete and Karen Tonseth for the opportunity had I not been already indebted for life to Karen for picking up me and a Honduran dog in Vancouver after we got stuck there in April with no way home to Victoria.
But back to the edge of the grid. A home like this – solar electricity only, water an ongoing concern in the summer months, no grocery stores for miles and even then only if you can drive a boat there (which we don’t know how to do) – quickly gets you thinking differently about things.
For me there’s usually never enough sun, but these past couple of weeks I’ve found myself dwelling on the consequences of too many hot days in a row. And I’m feeling genuine pleasure at the sound of the rain pounding down all around us right now, imagining the depleted reservoir filled to the brim again and the dry gardens and lawns grateful for a good soak.
I’ve been stung by two bees since being here, which also brought home to me another aspect of life on a remote island: No easy access to medical care. I’m not allergic to bees but they say that can all change with the wrong bee. So I stood there for a few minutes after the first sting just to see if I’d just met my wrong bee, and thinking that if my time really had come, at least I’d be dying in brilliant sunshine on a lovely island. But it turned out to be just another bee sting.
Before we left for the island, we packed provisions like we were headed for wilderness. I guess in a way we were; the nearest corner store is a 40-minute boat ride away on Quadra Island, and as mentioned, we don’t know how to operate a boat. (Or manoeuvre the intimidating Surge Narrows.) But it’s wilderness with a super-nice gas stove, on-demand hot water and solar-powered fridge and freezer. So I can’t complain, even if I did eat through my treasured bag of raisins way sooner than I’d intended and at this very moment would kill for a big restaurant meal of fish and chips.
We have no TV here, but I knew I wouldn’t miss that much. It’s just so disappointing, all those channels and nothing interesting. I didn’t bring anywhere near enough books, but happily there’s a place called the Bluff Cabin where Solstua West guests can hang out, and it’s full of books. And there are two kayaks and about a million miles of water to explore.
I’m in my thoughts more here, probably because there just aren't the same number of distractions. I’m an introvert who loves solitude, but now there are so few people around that I feel a bit excited when I see someone pulling up at the dock.
It has been a restorative, peaceful time – a gift that has brought me back to this beautiful country of mine after more than two years of living in another country that I still miss a great deal. Life can be wonderfully simple, with space for reflecting on the light left on unnecessarily, the overly long shower, too much time on-line. I’m here with my most hated form of weather falling all around me, and I'm thinking: Let it come.