Mt. Doug Hiking

If you compare this picture to the one below taken in May, you will see how different the mountain is in the middle of the summer. There is a sluggishness in the air as all life conserves energy and water. Now, the mountain smells like hay and crushed strawberries, and the dry dirt and stony paths need to be negotiated with the same caution as in the winter.

I could not choose a favorite time of year up here, but there is something in the heat and stillness of summer, which is different from the stillness of expectant spring or hibernating winter, that is unhurried; it encourages an emptying, a waiting–meditation. I heard no birds or bees this day. Few had ventured out to hike in the heat of the midday, at least not on the south side.

The mountain is very different from the irrigated industrial Blenkinsop gardens below, which are busy keeping up with the lettuce, potatoes, beans, and berries.

A few housekeeping items: there is a light at the north end of Shelbourne to allow safer crossing, and there are some new forest markers as well. Someone has also hung a swing from a tall tree. Go find it.

This website will change its focus soon. While I will continue to hike the mountain, this blog will be one category, and logged less frequently. I am starting to work on my postgraduate degree and I think I would like to document my progress. For those of you who subscribe, I hope you will continue to do so.

The summer is short: see it, feel it.


Storm Drain vs. Garden

This is not your usual hiking update. It is not about the natural greenery found in Mt. Doug and the creatures that I encounter there, but about the cultivated space of our yards.

Along the backyard easement, the trees, flowers, and vegetables lovingly tended over the years have been removed, replaced with an eight foot ditch dug for new storm drain infrastructure.

My neighbor’s garden was an award-winning space, so lovingly tended over their thirty years on this land. They gave away what they could, potted others, but within a few days, rare peonies, magnolias, maples, and perennial flower beds were turned to tilled soil.

They had planned to enjoy the fruits of their labor for years to come, now they will have to start all over. As she cried over the destruction, she also complemented the Saanich arborist who is trying to save as much as possible.

It made me wonder about the whole point of it all. If it was not to be preserved for the future, had the years of labor, digging in the dirt, the expenses, the seasonal beauty, and the stewardship been an immediate end in itself?

The hummingbird who made its home in the cedar border has gone for now. I saw the squirrel running up the street in a frenzy.

This doesn’t seem to be a job that could have been prevented. My neighbors are trying to capture the joy in planning a new garden.

We all hope to live to see its mature grandeur.