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Texada Island for me 私にとってのタクセーダ島(1)

In between mainland Vancouver and Vancouver Island, there are many beautiful islands. Amongst them Texada Island is the largest one. It is big, but most of the island is crown land covered by deep forests. People reside in small areas in the northeastern and western parts of the island. The total population is about 1000 people.

The first time we ever visited this island was when we came to see our acquaintance John who lived and worked on the island as post master. We camped at the Shelter Point Park, a beautiful camp ground on the west side of the island. If I remember it right, it was the summer of 2004. Taking three ferries from Vancouver, I was excited to have arrived at such a remote place; surprised to see so many deer everywhere; amazed how quiet and peaceful it was. The nights were ink dark and the big sky was filled packed by an infinite number of stars.

When I was a child, my grandma took me to her hometown called Urushiyama in Hyogo prefecture of Japan. There was a huge black cow which did all the hard work in the fields of the farm. I remember I was so scared of it. I used to run as fast as I could with my eyes shut to the other side of the cow hut. Walking to the field with my grandma and picking a ripe big watermelon, then kicking and rolling it gently all the way to the house is also a precious memory from my childhood….. I don’t know why, but there is something on Texada Island that brings me back those memories. Although Texada is not anything like rural Japan….

After camping two nights Neil and I sat on a bench overlooking Pacific Ocean, listening to birds singing, sinking ourselves in the blues of sky and water, we talked about having our cottage on this magical island.

And it’s been 14 years. We have been coming to Texada Island a few times a year. Vancouver’s last 14 years was amazing. It experienced enormous change like a raging wave, at least that’s how I feel. Ballooning population and subsequent traffic volume and noise increase, surging real estate values…. Our personal life has changed dramatically as well. My career change, our move to Lions Bay, becoming empty nesters, birth of our grandchildren, and our retirement…. Compared to that, the change at Texada Island was gentle. So many deer as always, friendly islanders, and perhaps more tourist visitors….an effect of social network media? Our then acquaintances, John and Susan, became our Texada family. In 14 years most of us, except John, added few pounds and white stuff on our heads, but people’s smiles, as always, are still making me happy.

Right after we built our cottage, I brought back a little willow volunteer shoot from my parents’ house in Tokyo. The willow was something my mother loved so much. I planted it at the trellis in front of the cottage 13 years ago. For all these years it was barely alive, never grew, and I thought it would die any time. I had almost given up, thinking it just couldn’t adopt to the new climate. Surprisingly this year, I found it grew about a meter bigger just ready to climb up the trellis. Wow….I wished I could show it to my mother. Sad that she has passed on 6 years ago….May her wisteria keep growing and give us joy of beautiful flowers some time soon….








Lulu ルル

It’s been 2 years since our dear Kuma passed away. I was thinking for a while that this summer would probably be a good time for welcoming our second dog who would be Kafka’s little sister. I found Lulu (originally Luro) on Facebook. She was an abandoned dog rescued in Taiwan, looking to be adopted. After contacting the rescue association and being scrutinized for suitability, I was finally told her arrival date and time. Neil and I went to pick her up at the Vancouver International Airport. There were three other dogs of similar circumstances arriving from Taiwan on the same flight. After a long long journey from southern Taiwan, Lulu finally arrived at our home. She is a relatively small cute-faced Formosan Mountain mutt dog mutt. Having been a street dog in Taiwan, she reminds me of stray dogs I used to see all the time when I was growing up on streets of towns and villages in Japan. When I think of it, I never see those mutt stray dogs on streets any more. Where did they all go? They must have been captured and destroyed….?

Lulu is extremely timid. She is scared of everything. Strangely she was scared of stairs in the house. She was puzzled and frozen, no going up or down, so that means, no going out the door or following me to the bedroom. I had to carry her in my arms every time I wanted her to use the stairs. Inconveniently, she was/still is always frightened to be carried….. so what can I do? However, on the third day, she decided to try, got her courage up, tried to put her foot on the first step. And…. she found how easy it was. I could see she gained a big confidence. In no time, she was running up and down like a bird, faster than anybody else, skipping over 2-3 steps at a time.

Then, another hurdle was getting in and out the car when going for walking. She was super frightened to jump in and out the car. One day, Kafka jumped off like he always does, and Lulu just followed him without thinking. Wow! She was surprised at herself!! And so was I. Then, it just became a routine and she is like a deer now. She is scared of men, especially when they are running or holding something long. She would cry and freeze. She might have had some fearful experience like being chased by somebody with a stick…. However, by the third week, she seems to have overcame that fear. She will not get frozen, at least, while walking. She is still fearful of strangers, especially men, though.

Lulu is with us for three weeks now. The girl who was too scared to eat anything when somebody was near her, now begs Neil for more food. The girl who was so scared of the big and tall Neil, now runs to him when called. She now sleeps her belly up, so relaxed. She loves long walks, not scared of walking unleashed any more… Although difficult at times, we are getting opportunities to practice our patience. One day at a time, little by little, she is becoming to be our baby girl…