All up and down this coast of B.C. boaters are familiar with the red railed wharfs. Built by the federal government down through the years to serve the needs of coastal communities who relied on the sea, they were either torn down or offloaded onto their communities several years ago. One never knows these days what state of repair they will be in when you come alongside to go ashore. The ones on Saltspring are in good repair and the other morning while waiting for the ferry across to Vancouver Island I took a stroll down the “Government Wharf’ at Vesuvius.
Last summer I tied up my rowing/sailing canoe ‘Tillikum’ and staggered ashore here. I was on a one day circumnavigation of Saltspring Island ( some 80 kilometers) and needed to phone home to let Heather know I was running late. I also desperately needed to exercise my legs which were cramping up. Then it was a hot September afternoon and I was feeling close to failing in my self appointed challenge. Today it is the cool early morning light of the beginning of summer and I`m feeling excited by the cast shadows of those red rails on the worn wooden steps.
That first photograph of rail shadows running diagonally down the steps sets the tone for all the others I take in that fifteen minutes as the ferry gets closer and closer to the nearby ferry dock. No broad vistas today, just tightly organized images of dock and water, rails and pilings. There is something poetic in this careful organizing of form and space. Just enough to tell this important thought that lies at the center of morning light on the Government wharf.