old red wheelbarrow
with a yellow tire beside
a white picket fence
The first thing I notice after we disembark from the ferry at Victoria port on Vancouver Island is two red and white flags -- the stars and stripes and the maple leaf -- curling in the breeze behind a blue cedar tree. The island, part of British Columbia, nests between two neighboring nations, and I feel a friendly blending everywhere we go. However, there are definite differences. For example, all of the wheelbarrows I see on the island are red with a yellow tire and a blue stand, whereas wheelbarrows in the U.S. may have a red, blue, yellow or green bucket, but the tire itself is inevitably black.
We are scheduled to go to Butchart Gardens this afternoon but we're lost. The GPS doesn't work, we don't have a paper map and Gabe doesn't have reception on his cell phone, even though he paid extra for his service to extend to this area. And it's raining. After driving around the little town of Brentwood Bay for awhile, Gabe and Susan pull into a parking lot and go into a nearby coffee shop to ask directions. We sit in the cars for awhile and I take a photo of Samantha smiling through raindrops on the car window. Finally, we get out and go into the coffee shop. I order a matcha latte but just admire the sweets on display.
By the time we head off again it's getting late and it's still raining. At the entrance to the gardens, we see a group of Chinese, all carrying black umbrellas, boarding a tour bus. I didn't bring an umbrella, only a rain cape, and I was trying, unsuccessfully, to picture taking photos without getting my camera wet. Gabe asks the woman at the ticket gate whether she would advise waiting until tomorrow. She says, yes, the weather will be clear and the gardens open at 9. I'm relieved. I don't think any of us fancied taking photos in the rain. So we turn around and head for OUR Ecovillage, a sustainable learning community where we will be guests for a few days. However, Gabe doesn't exactly know how to get there and no one answers the phone at the village, so we just start driving north toward Cowichan Valley. On the way, the rain lets up so we pull over at an overlook and get out to take photos of the vibrant, rain soaked landscape.
Finally, someone answers the phone and we get directions, arriving just in time for dinner.