It’s amazing how a stunning landscape image with no people in it whatsoever could hold such a powerful memory of the birth of friendships with a wide range of people.
In this case I was hanging out along the estuary in Royston with a big crop of new friends. I remember one guy had just trucked it back to Vancouver Island from the Alberta oilfields, having just pulled in 100 grand over the past few years. He would hang out for a few months and then it was back to the God’s Country grind for that BMX enthusiast.
Later I would learn we were at the site of an experimental seafood laboratory, where businessmen and women strategized about the future of geoduck and scallop aquaculture. But none of us had any clue about that. Pretty sure there were beers involved. I know someone was drinking Okanagan Premium Cider (although let’s be honest, there’s not really anything premium about it).
It was also one of the first times, if not the very first time, I hung out with the East African crew I would spend quite a bit of time with in the months to come. It would result in a solid treeplanting stretch, genuine concerns about all-too-real or potentially trumped-up coups on the other side of the world and plenty of dancing to generic Top 40 of the era: you know, questionable EDM, country-pop and hyperbolically sexualized dancehall.
The funny thing is, at that particular moment, I didn’t realize how iconic this image would become in my brain. When you’re constantly surrounded by beauty, as we are on Vancouver Island so much of the time, it’s so easy to just let it wash over you. I knew the sunset was nice, but it was only in the days to come that I came to appreciate how special that moment was.
This picture would later become a mousepad (back in the days when I used a mouse). It would become a desktop background (back in the days when I used a desktop). And now it’s a Frequency Horizon blog post, of course (you know, in these days when I still blog for some reason). For awhile I didn’t want to look at it just because it reminded me of how I had spent two years of my life living somewhere that was exceedingly beautiful but contained no surfable breaks.
Now I hold this photo up as a perfect representation of a time in my life where I worked really hard on projects I was proud of, met amazing people from around the world and saw some of the most beautiful sunsets of my entire life. That’s Vancouver Island living for ya — providing a rich tapestry of experiences and friendships, if you’re willing to embrace the sacrifice it takes to make it happen.