This bay on the wilder south-west side of Saltspring Island was once a stopping point for early coastal steamships that provided transportation links before roads, railways, and aircraft were developed. Not so many years ago an abandoned house nestled into the run-riot garden and non-native decorative trees beside the beach. Today this coastline and the old farm fields and barn that lie just behind the forested slopes are a provincial park and at this time of year it is spectacular, with its spring blossoms, mossy rocks and fresh leaves. Beautiful, but somehow sad with its echoes of farming long abandoned. I walk for pleasure amid the results of so much earnest labour; the fields being reclaimed by alder, the barn sagging with its milking parlour long since abandoned.
The old home-site near the beach has been 'remediated', but the trees planted long ago still please our eyes; the magnolia, the Japanese maple, the redwood and the laurel hedge are strong healthy specimens. The original settler's plantings amid the 'wilderness' are our link to time past but so much continues and is our link to time future. The stream that once burbled past their door and provided drinking and irrigation water still flows down from the hills and through the fields and swamps. The tide still rises and falls and produces seafood for the gathering. Geese still pass overhead on their way north, ravens soar on the updrafts against the mountainside and owls patrol the night skies where the same stars patterns show themselves between drifting clouds.
The interesting aspect I am noticing today, amid this blend of old and new, is that all this is harmonious. Even the old fallen cedar posts with their tangled fencing wire are on this Spring day inevitably part of death, decay and renewal. Human structures and farming practices are being repaired by powerful new growth.
One can acknowledge the passage of time and the sadness of the ruin of human dreams but be thankful for the bigger picture; for nature's relentless 'make and mend'.