Sunday, October 28, 2018

Farewell Crofton, Hello Parksville!

In 2016 when I tore the meniscus in my left knee, and 2017 when I took a bad fall on the ice and wrecked my right shoulder (leaving me unable to drive for quite a while, and permanently unable to do some of the home/yard maintenance stuff I'd always done for myself), I realized the pitfalls of living in a small village (population 1200) that has very few shops - two convenience stores, one thrift store, a couple of cafes and pubs.  No drug store, no hardware, no department store, no place to get any significant variety of groceries. No medical services.  Yes, there is a small city about twenty minutes away (population 5,000 for the city itself, and another 28,000 in the surrounding municipal area), but the bus service to get there is tedious and infrequent, taxis from there are expensive and seldom available, and there is no handi-dart service (a bus/taxi sort of system for seniors and others with disabilities) for Crofton.  And it is rather too far to walk.

"It's a long way to see the doctor...."

I don't want to be 'that senior' whose very small and geographically distant family has to make the difficult decision to move me to another living situation.  So I began the search for another home, one where there is no outside maintenance required (a condo or strata), in a place where there are more shops and services - preferably within walking distance of the ocean. I so love.

After an extensive search made more difficult by the ridiculous 'no pet' or 'one small pet' (often under 10 lbs!) policy that many seniors' condos/strata have, I finally just took the plunge, put my house on the market, sold it in 48 hours, and - much to my relief - found an appropriate place an hour and a bit north, in Parksville.  More about our new home in another post. (I have not been taking photos on our many walks as Maggie needs all my attention to keep her safe and calm amid traffic, beeping crosswalks, unfamiliar people and dogs, etc.   - that's no time to be staring through the lens of a camera.  As many of you know, there are few things I feel more strongly about than keeping dogs safe in new surroundings - or keeping dogs safe, period.) 

Maggie: "This is my beach now!"
(Photo taken a few months ago, before we moved)

But before shifting the blog to daily life in Parksville and our exploration of the parks and beaches around our new home, I wanted to thank the great people in Crofton who welcomed me nearly ten years ago, greeted me on my morning walks with my various old dogs, foster dogs, multiple dogs, scared dogs, visiting dogs.  My current anxiety-prone senior dog, Maggie, will miss her canine friends and their peoples, who respected her boundaries and took the necessary time to earn her trust.

Crofton has much going for it, not the least of which is its beauty - beauty in nature, in the sea, in the sunrises and sunsets, in the people.  Over the years, I've taken literally thousands of photos of this community and its surrounds.  Here, then, as my farewell tribute to Crofton, are just a few of my favourites:

From the moment  I arose,  no matter the season or the weather, the beauty of the sun rising over the bay filled me with awe:

Throughout the day, the birds and animals, the parks and shoreline, even the industry at the mill and log sort, provided me with slices of joy, peace, an assurance that there was still magic and beauty to be found in a world so oft gone crazy:

Eagle, Anna's humming bird, oystercatchers, Northern flicker.

Bear in fall and deer in winter

Heron soaring to the sky

Raven wishing us good luck

Crofton Lake, Sea Walk in fall, Eves Park, Lilies on Crofton Lake

Boat by a foggy pier
(taken when Spinnaker Steps went all the way to the water)

Boats in the harbour,
reflections in the water

Barges, tugs, and cargo ships

Fishing boat with colourful floats

The people - oh the people - young and old, laboring in fields or selling goods in front yards and pop up stalls, playing with their dogs, or going for a paddle around the bay or a walk on the beach - seldom did I meet one who did not treat me kindly, smile and say good morning, or stop for a chat.  I came to your town nearly ten years ago having only a slight acquaintance with a couple of people, and I am leaving behind many friends.  Thank you, Crofton.

Tatlo Farms when it was just beginning

Friends on Crofton waterfront

George peddling his figs near the ferry terminal

The dog-human connection
on a misty morning

Heading out into the bay

I have loved learning the history of this town - from the elders, from the information in our little museum, from columns in newspapers (and, before that, the town newsletter),  from story boards in parks, from locals who stopped to chat.  For five years, together with Liz Maxwell Forbes, I shared some of these stories in a column in the Chemainus Courier, and each column brought more stories to my attention, from more people who enriched my life so greatly.

Crofton Museum 

And at the end of each day, I felt comforted in the knowledge that  my move to Crofton, away from family and friends and all that was familiar, had been a good move, the right move,  a wonderful chapter of my life.  I can only hope that my new community will be as welcoming and as comforting and as full of good people who will soon become good friends, in this next chapter.

Thank you, Crofton,  You have been good to me.

We all sleep under the same moon,
We all rise to the same sun.
We are never any further away than a warm heart and a pleasant thought.


Unknown said...

don't make me cry...I do miss you..this is a wonderful the story line and memory of each beautiful photograph..i've been waiting for this... thank you jean...and i am eagerly awaiting pictures of your new neighbourhood...I get the noise bit for maggie...heavy traffic that she's not used to...and what a lovely way to say goodbye..people will be missing you...xo

Marie said...

A lovely tribute to a beautiful village! I am sure there will be many who miss you and your various four legged friends but also many who will welcome you to your new neighbourhood. Congratulations on your new home, I look forward to seeing photos of the new area. My moving day is Dec. 5th! and I look forward to new adventures also. Quiet hugs for Maggie!

Beate said...

Hi. I really like your photos of around Crofton! Usually one wouldn't see the area around here like that but, really captured the nature and landscape of Crofton! Its lovely.

Sheryl said...

Absolutely lovely! Both the photos and the sentiments. Enjoy your new home.

Unknown said...

Very lovely posting. Thank you for sharing your reflection on Crofton. .