Before I write anything I feel I should say that I am still a new comer to Lasqueti Island, and my experience should in no way be taken as representative of Lasqueti as a whole. Perhaps it is best to read this as a story and nothing more…
Lasqueti feels like the frontier. It feels not quite like going backwards in time. It could perhaps be going forward in time to what I might imagine a post apocalyptic, recovering humanity to look like. Or it could just be a different, parallel universe.
Things started to change when I left Victoria, BC. And of course they would, as it was then, while waiting for my ride, that I parked myself on the steps of the Convention Center, leaned back on my pack, and began to read the Celestine Prophecy by James Redfield. As I looked at the cover and then started to turn to the first page a young man walking by and said, with a knowing look, “Celestine Prophecy?”
The first insight of the prophecy: We become conscious of the coincidences of our lives.
About a half hour later I got in a little white van with the name Island Link written on its side. I was the only passenger on this fair March day in the year 2012. I chatted with the driver, a friendly man from the northern part of Vancouver Island.
It wasn’t until we reached Nanaimo that a few other passengers, three women probably in their mid sixties, joined us. As I dozed in and out of sleep for the rest of the ride I overheard conversations of a big windstorm that knocked out power for three days. Apparently they live out near the end of the power line so their houses were some of the last to regain power. Another conversation lets me know that one of the women doesn’t own a car and never has. Nor does she have a computer. I have a feeling that if I thought Friday harbor was a small town I am about to find myself in an even smaller town, or in what might even be no town at all.
I am the first to be dropped off at French Creek, where I have been told the ferry to Lasqueti leaves. The driver helps me gather my things, makes sure I haven’t forgotten anything, and sends me off with a flattering comment about getting to meet a pretty girl from Boston.
I look around me, getting my bearings. Next to me is a small general store, and just ten or so feet away is an old man leaning against the wall. He gives me a nod and says, “I think you’ve got a while to wait.” It’s about 3pm and the ferry doesn’t come until five thirty. I sit for a while outside the general store then wander inside to inquire about where exactly the ferry picks people up and if I have to buy a ticket. The young woman at the cash register calls in her dad and asks him, “Is the ferry running today?” He says he’s not sure and goes to look for a schedule, but returns to say he must have given the last one away a few days ago. I’m not too worried as Mark, who I will be staying with on Lasqueti, told me it would be running every day except Tuesday and Wednesday. Today is Thursday. So I ask again abut where exactly I go to catch the ferry and am directed down the pier.
As I walk down the pier seagulls swarm around me and there is a noise that my mind thinks must belong to a seal or sea lion but my eyes can’t find the source of. There are a bunch of cars parked, all of which look like they could use a tune up or a paint job, and signs for seafood here and there, but it doesn’t look like anyone is selling today. Despite an occasional person or car, the place feels eerily empty. Eventually I find a little bus stop like shelter and a hand painted sign saying Lasqueti ferry. I park myself here and pull out my book.
The second insight of the Prophecy: We are able to see the history of the modern age as a whole and are able to identify a particular preoccupation that developed during the later half of this millennium and awaken from this preoccupation. That preoccupation has been to develop a more comfortable way to survive. But we’ve forgotten that we still don’t know what we are surviving for.