Hollyhock Journal 2

Peter meets me at the Powell River airport. We stop at Hindles so I can buy four Pentel pens, necessary tools since the computer’s not with me, first time in years. Over Margaret’s dinner of salmon, rice, his garden spinach salad and assorted fruit from their treasury of jars, Peter says, “There’s been quite a bit of wind lately. My friend Bob might be able to come down and pick you up at the Comox ferry and take you to Campbell River and the ferries to Quadra and Cortez.”


That would be at least a ten hour trip from here. Peter sends me off with his Tracker.  I’ll return with it tomorrow for our hike.

Arrival at Knoll House after my long day in transit from California has the perennial numinous feel. The steep ascent of the bumpy driveway through a high green tunnel, the grassy clearing at the top, the small, windowless structure, taller than wide, roofed with a four sided pyramid. I find the key under the rock, climb the stairs, cross the lofty living space, draw the curtains on the sliders and gaze: low-lit cloud-filled sky, snow-topped mountains, expanse of water, Mace Point on Savary Island across the passage, treetops below the bluff, the opening in the woods glowing yellow and green.


In the middle of the mossy path a softly shaped black bear returns my gaze.

I open the slider and the bear ambles off into the forest.  I head down the path to the larger clearing we’ve made on the bluff, and the prospect widens to include the Ragged Islands to the north, Hernando and Twin to the west, and at the end of the passage between them my destination on the coast of Cortes.

Water pooled in tiny terraces under the moss flows downhill. It starts to rain and I retreat under a canopy of large firs to protect my camera.  A rainbow arcs from the sea over the house behind me. As background clouds darken, its colors intensify.


Next morning I take the Tracker over to Michael’s new homesite. Big signs on Pryor Road advertise Evergreen Creek Estates, five lots marked SOLD! The road he agonized over for years now a pleasant drive, especially that section raised fifteen feet above the creekbed. He comes out of his motor home in underwear.  I can hardly get my arms around him for a hug. Inside I ask him for a cup of coffee. “Ive got high speed internet, straight from Twin Islands,” he crows pointing out the window to the big view. “Look at these plans for the house.” A forty-year dream approaching fulfillment.

I drive down to Lund for breakfast and provisions at Nancy’s Bakery.  The sky is complex, weather changing.  At the Water Taxi office, I set up plan B.  It would cost a hundred twenty five dollars to drop me off at Cortes Bay.  That’s about equivalent to the kayak rental, for which I’ve already made a sixty-five dollar deposit.  Fifty-fifty chance I’ll be paddling.

By 11:00 I’m back at Peter’s. Up Wilde Road we park and hike on the Sunshine Coast Trail along Appleton Creek. Our endless conversation continues. He’s recently attended a retreat where they worked on detaching the busy list maker in the mind from the quiet observer.

The ground is springy.  Cascade after cascade roars through the canyon, runoff after weeks of rain.


The underlying  ground bass resonates in my diaphragm.  We drop down to the edge and I cup my ears.  We couldn’t be here unless Eagle had created this trail, along with hundreds of miles more: finding the routes, marking them, cutting them, maintaining them, publicizing them and defending them against the pillagers.


When we first came there was only bush-crashing and logging roads. One or two people’s vision, grassroots power.  The Powell River story: Kathaumixw, the world choral festival, dreamed up by the high school music teacher, the local Malaspina College campus, the Lund Theatre Troupe, Lund Farm Day Camp. The B.C. story,  Hollyhock.

After we swim in Sliammon Lake, Peter drops me off at Knoll House. I disassemble and clear the deck’s clogged downspout, wander along my trails,  read some talks in the Suzuki Roshi book Jan once left here: life/death, present moment, breath in and out.  She calls. It took her five hours today to get medical attention for Claire.  Ultrasound reveals something like a ruptured cyst on ovary.  Not clear what’s next.

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