Tripp Road runs alongside the west side of St. Mary’s Lake. It’s really more of a lane that eventually turns to gravel and dead ends in the forest. I’ve walked its length many times and today, after a few years’ absence, I’m a bit surprised that it’s changed very little. But this is Salt Spring, not the mainland, and things have their own pace and pattern here.
I’m breathing in the fragrances of spring, grateful that my genetics do not include pollen allergies. Bird song upholsters the air – robins, blackbirds, finches, wrens and more that I don’t recognize including a single-noted call that moves through the forest like a tuning fork, only more soulful. The mystery bird drops a key and sings, then moves back up a key and holds onto the note like an opera diva. Pure entertainment.
The lake pops into view between houses and trees, so calm and mellow today. Cars drive by, most drivers wave or nod hello. A bee crash lands in my hair (did I mention there are plenty of bees here?) momentarily distracting me from the view of Maple Ridge Cottages. The handful of rustic cottages look like they’ve been spruced up a bit and all but one has a car parked in front. Guests can wander down the grassy bank to a small pier on the lake.
On the way back, two cars pass me without slowing down and spray me with bits of gravel. Both have B.C. plates. So much, I say to myself, for that renowned Canadian politeness. I see a trillium lily and forget about bad road manners. The white petals are an elegant surprise among the ferns and other greenery.
Back at the house, I sit on the deck and think about the little yellow finch I saw earlier in the day as it took a pit stop on a nearby branch, its beak stuffed with nesting material. Glancing at the northern horizon, I can see part of the Coastal Range, the mountains that give Vancouver its world famous backdrop. Just before dusk, my sister and I watch the pair of yearling deer take a stroll in the front garden, nibbling on grass. The city, with its traffic and crowds, seems a faraway place.