I betook myself to Westham Island this morning. it’s a very flat, fertile island in the Fraser River, approached by driving through the town of Ladner along beside the dyke and across a little wooden, one-lane bridge. In this fast-moving, high tech world it reassures me that we still have (and use) one-lane, wooden bridges.
The bridge spans Canoe Pass, a very shallow arm of the Fraser that tempts the boater by appearing to be a wonderful short cut out to the Strait of Georgia. Only if you’re in a canoe, hence the name. On the downstream side of the bridge is a cluster of houses built on floats – not exactly house boats, but houses that float.
Once across the bridge you’ll see an unusual welcome sign: “This island protected by the Westham Island gun club”. If you can accept those terms you drive on through ever-changing fields and older houses. You might have drifted back to the 1950’s, seeing old fashioned tractors. milk churns, mail boxes stood by the roadside, soem with flowers planted around them.
I stopped at The Herb Farm and bought a bunch of jewel-bright zinnias and some freshly dug tiny potatoes.
Turning for home I passed a brightly painted Victorian house surrounded by flowers. In the midst of the garden, knee-deep in red and white dahlias, was a white-haired older lady. It was an image that will stay with me.