Every summer I swim in the waters of Burrard Inlet and English Bay. My favourite spot is Cates Park (Whey-ah-Wichen, Faces the Wind), which is nearly opposite a Chevron oil refinery that is responsible for a slow leak discovered a year ago. This refinery is east of the Second Narrows bridge which, as the name suggests, spans a narrow crossing — and it’s a shallow one as well. The number, size and capacity of oil tankers passing through here is growing, with no decline in sight as our thirst for oil continues to increase. This worries me because it leaves us ever more vulnerable to a spill that would ruin a coastline inhabited by the Tsleil-Waututh Nation long before this place had a name, and enjoyed by Metro Vancouver residents and tourists alike. The beaches and waters are home to starfish, crabs, jellyfish, geoducks and many varieties of birds. If you’re lucky, you’ll spot some other fish, a seal or even a whale. Eagles are frequent visitors.
We can’t afford an oil spill in Burrard Inlet, nor can we afford one anywhere along our beautiful coast. The consequences of the Exxon Valdez spill off Alaska are still felt there. A spill of that magnitude hasn’t yet happened to us — neither in BC nor in the Saint Lawrence — and on Monday, May 2 we have the opportunity to uphold the decision the Liberals made in 1972 by voting for candidates who support this ban.
Continue reading Joining 80% of BC residents, three North Vancouver candidates support oil tanker ban on BC’s north coast »
the evening with sinking sun beckoned me.
my shiny blue bicycle led me to a tiny paradise affectionately known as
“the little bahamas.”
it was unexpectedly appropriate.
shallow water, still as it can only be with no wind, no boats,
slopes quickly downward across the gritty sand, rocks and shells
(a clump of blue mussels clinging to something so thickly it became invisible)
where it tints silver-blue and in its rare clarity, with the welcoming spread of sand underneath it,
it seduces me to explore its depth up to my thighs.
in wintertime i feel the same,
only i do not indulge.
in summertime i cannot fight it, cannot break away and so as i move to retreat,
i turn back to admire it, desire it. it implores, and i wade back in.
Continue reading Irresistably »
a sign of autumn sails by,
silently suggesting that summer is on its merry way out.
fire in water, the wind-torn edges curled up,
it negotiates the gentle, lapping tide.
reflections steal the leaf from view.
two sailboats, steered from the shore by father
cut a quiet path through cool, salty waters.
the wakes of speedboats bounce them
as the waves undulate, roll, tumble against the beach,
each tip pushing another in diverging directions
until they ease upon the sand.
crisp whitecaps crumble into sea foam as they
dash the sand, splashing against me.
the heaviest suck back into the swell, dragging
sand and shells out from under my feet.
they whittle a steeper slope from the shore, a sculpture
that dries quickly in the warm sun.
the little girl’s blonde hair glows in the light
as she scrambles, shrieking with delight,
in and out of the water, mother casting a cautious gaze.
the thin, tropical sea foam gathers around
her feet and glistens all along the shore, in its slow,
she tosses handfuls of wet sand onto the dry.
huge waves pound the shore and delight me as I skitter back.
I no longer feel at one with the “sea” when my
limbs go numb and the water begins to sting around my calves.
but coot or not, this is bliss and I cannot leave it.
the sunlight curves across the beach, tickling the
water as if orchestrated, the rays singing.
I smile, stall and wait; the wind picks up.
as if the onlookers are betting on my decision,
I tip backward and barely move through the
chill before rising and trying once more,
only to get up, not defeated by the late season but
rather, refreshed and triumphant.
I smile up at the spectators and curl a towel
around myself, testing the water with my toes.
it no longer feels warm. the tide has ripped the heat
away and the sun is playing hide-and-seek
but I did it.
I pull myself away from liquid heaven,
the endless waves that make love to my overwhelmed skin,
as the sailboats head out to sea.
Thank you to Stephen Rees for the photograph to complement.