It is a peaceful night, the sky washed with multiple shades of pink, the distant mountains of the mainland and the hills of Salt Spring Island bathed in soft purples. I walk Oliver, then Sadie and Charley, and lastly Belle, and with each walk the sky becomes more beautiful and the town becomes quieter and quieter. The hush is broken only by the occasional motorbike or car without a muffler (there are some things about Air Care inspections that I now appreciate very much - the need for intact exhaust/muffler systems being one of them!) or the boom boom boom of a car stereo played too loud. But in between, silence.
As the dogs and I walk the beach, I see a mom and her daughters swimming slowly in the cool ocean waters, dad watching from shore. I hear a young child share with her brother the seashell she has found, and a group of young adults softly singing familiar songs around a campfire in the RV park – Michael Row the Boat Ashore, Kumbayah, songs from my own youth.
It has been warm this week – too warm for my liking – and dusk is my friend. The dogs and I meet other dogs and their humans on our walks – each stops to chat for a moment, to introduce ourselves, or simply to comment on the relief the cool night air brings.
Small town friendliness, small town peace. It is what I remember from my childhood in another small town, and it is what I moved here for.
The restful evening stroll is the perfect end to a day that began with another form of small town friendliness – Chemainus Days, an annual event in the nearest town to ours. Chemainus is also a small town, though not as small as Crofton, but unlike Crofton is famous as a tourist attraction with its many murals, its boutique stores, its incredible tale of survival from a town that was dying to a town that is full of spirit and life.
The main street was closed to traffic today, and all along its length and width were tents and stalls and street entertainers, as merchants and organizations and individuals sold their wares, their home crafts, their garage sale items.
People and dogs were everywhere, and yet it didn’t feel oppressive as crowds usually do. There was always an empty bench to sit on in a shady spot, a quiet path to follow through the nearby park, the soothing sound of the waterwheel and the bright splashes of flowers to enjoy. Else and I filled up on mini donuts and smokies and gelato cones, picked up a few treasures, and drank in the colours and sounds and scents of a welcoming, friendly town.
Waterwheel and flowers
A dog and his store
Love Cast in Stone
Next weekend is Crofton Days – definitely not on the same scale as Chemainus Days but still something to bring people out, a celebration of summer, a pancake breakfast and fun for the kiddies, a small market to sell or buy fresh produce and homemade goods.
Art tours, studio tours, beach and park events crowd the summer calendar in this beautiful area and yet always, always, there are deserted trails for dogs to run off leash, wonderful unspoiled parkland where solitude and nature go hand in hand.
It is a land in balance. It is a blend of the best. It is where we live.
It is home.