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Texada Island for me 私にとってのタクセーダ島(1)

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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….

バンクーバーのあるアメリカ大陸と州都ビクトリアのあるバンクーバー島の間にはたくさんの美しい島がある。中でも一番大きい島がタクセーダ島だ。大きいといっても殆どが国有地で森林地帯、人が住んでいるのはごくわずかな北東部と西端に限られる。人口は1000人くらい。

ここに知人のジョンを訪ねてキャンプしに来たのが始まりだった。ジョンはこの島の郵便局長さんだ。確か私の記憶が正しければ2004年の夏だったと思う。フェリーを3回も乗り継いでなんとも言えない辺ぴな所に来たと思った。でも鹿が驚くほど沢山いて、静寂、平和そのもの、真っ暗な闇の中に見たこともないくらい星がぎっしり詰まった大空に感動した。

子供の頃、明石のおばあちゃんが実家の漆山というところに連れていってくれた。おばあちゃんの実家には農作業で大事な役割を果たす大きな牛がいた。怖くて牛舎の前を通るときはドキドキして目を固くつむって全速力で走り抜けたのを思い出す。おばあちゃんと一緒に肥えの匂いのする畑に行って大きくて熟れたスイカを足で転がしながら家まで歩いたことも大事な思い出だ。なんとなくそんな私の田舎体験を彷彿させてくれる雰囲気がタクセーダ島にはある。日本の田舎とは似ても似つかぬカナダなのに…

キャンプで2泊した後、海の見えるベンチに座って小鳥の合唱を聞きながら、真っ青な海の静けさに身を沈めながら、この島に私達のコテージを建てようと話し合った。

それからもはや14年。毎年、年に数回は来て癒しに浸る島。14年の間にはバンクーバーでは怒濤のような変化があった。人口も交通量も増え、不動産の価値は数倍にも上昇した。転職、引っ越し、リタイア、子供達の巣立ち、孫たちの誕生と私達の生活もずいぶん変わった。それに比べるとタクセーダ島の変化はゆるやかだ。ジョンとスーザンも知人からタクセーダのファミリーになった。相変わらず沢山いる鹿、親切な人々、ソーシャルネットワークのせいか観光客が若干増えたような気がするけど、白髪の増えた知人たちの笑顔が変わらず嬉しい。

コテージを建ててすぐに、東京の実家の庭に生えていた藤の苗を持って来て庭に植えた。亡き母が丹念に育てていた藤だ。13年もの間、かろうじて生きてはいるものの全然育たなくて今にも消えてしまいそうだったその藤が、何を思ったのか14年目にして1メートル以上も急に伸びて柱に巻きつくばかりに育っていて驚いた。気候が合わないからダメなんだろうとあきらめていたのに。母に報告したら喜んでくれただろうに…とふと思って悲しくなった。どうかこのまま大きくなって花を咲かせてくれるといいな。

Author: Haruyo Abramson

I'm a musician, mom, and grandma, living in BC, Canada with my husband and three dogs.

One thought on “Texada Island for me 私にとってのタクセーダ島(1)

  1. Pingback: Texada islandの観光情報はココでGETしよう - Fattyからお便り

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