Dear Vancouver Island….

I love you Vancouver Island. Truly I do. Although sometimes you behave like a ‘bad-boyfriend’…a really bad one!

When I met you, many summers ago, you were charming like no other. I was smitten. When we began to go steady in the summer of 2013, our relationship sparkled with promise. When I moved in during the summer of 2015, I shouted our love from the mountaintops. I could not have been happier. Then winter came. You were sullen and moody. Your cloudbursts were constant. It was difficult to be outdoors with you. I felt trapped inside. Everyone said that you had never been like this before. “Be patient,” they said. “This is a one-off. It will pass.” Summer came, and I believed them.

But you must admit, dear Vancouver Island, the past seven months have been rough. You have been cold and unpredictable. Yes, many of your relations far and wide had similar rough spells. It didn’t make things easier. That was them. I had believed with all my heart that you were different. You were the chosen one. Your unpredictability became worrisome. Truth be told, I considered breaking up with you.

Then last week, you started to flirt your warmth again. Ever so slowly your dark, gray moodiness began to lift. Not full time, but enough for me to see glimpses of your bright, intoxicating smile. At ‘Fire and Ice’ (that amazing ice-carving-hot-chili-eating festival that is a small sample of your island uniqueness) you flaunted your sunny and colourful side. Due to your unpredictable nature, I bought tickets to an indoor Shari Ulrich concert. At intermission, you beamed, beckoning everyone to take their break outdoors and bask in your radiance. We all did. Ironically, Shari, a fellow Islander, included a song that she wrote while walking her dog in the island rain…have a listen below.

This past week, my parents visited from out-of-town. Not completely hiding your tempestuous nature, and despite a few damp spells, you were a gallant host. You provided my mother with a wonderful Mothers’ Day. High Tea at Milner Gardens, MARS Garden Tour and a meandering drive to visit family in Sooke were highlights of the week. Even mom thought I had been too tough on you. “How could anyone not LOVE Vancouver Island?” she reprimanded.

You now promise an exceptionally warm summer. “Warmer than usual” are the predictions. Although I’m determined to stay strong, I know that I will fall helplessly under your spell one more time.

Happy Mother’s Day from Vancouver Island (and Happy Birthday Jo-Anne Tattersall)!!

Views from the same yard five months apart.
Vancouver Island: Qualicum Beach Annual Fire and Ice Festival
Qualicum Beach, Fire & Ice 2017.
Shari Ulrich - Who also lives on Vancouver Island
Shari performing “Rain, Rain, Rain”. Watch it here
Vancouver Island: Visiting family in Sooke.
Temporary sunshine while visiting family in Sooke.
Milner Gardens, Vancouver Island
Mother’s Day High Tea at Milner Gardens.
Vancouver Island watercolour by Pauline Pike
Along with highlighting a sample of private gardens, the MARS Garden Tour also showcased the works of local artists. Shown here is a reprinted water colour by Pauline Pike. Notice her portrayal of Vancouver Island! (Pauline gave permission for her work to be included here.)
MARS Garden Tour, Vancouver Island
Happy Mother’s Day from Mom, Me, Richard and Dave on the MARS Garden Tour (notice my rain jacket and rain boots…just in case)!.

68 Replies to “Dear Vancouver Island….”

  1. Hi Donna, Did I ever tell you I love being in the presence of greatness? This blog entry was truly in that realm of greatness. I also enjoyed Shari Ulrich’s song! Have a wonderful mother’s day.

    1. Thank you so much, Fran! It definitely is a mutual admiration society! I’m so glad that you had a listen to Shari’s song. Wishing you a wonderful and relaxing day!

    1. Hi, Sue – We would love to have you visit anytime. Just say the word. Your Mother’s Day sounds awesome. I’m looking forward to our upcoming link-up!

  2. I understand how you feel. I LOVE Glasgow especially in the sunshine – we’ve just had a glorious week. Until yesterday when I was tourguiding a women’s history walk. We could have done with an Ark, honestly! Glasgow how, how could you let me down this way?
    Anabel Marsh recently posted…Budapest: The VárMy Profile

    1. Happy Mother’s Day to you too, Georgia! Thank you for being a frequent reader and a frequent commenter. I definitely should award ‘frequent flyer miles’!!

  3. My first visit to Vancouver was in 1973. Your boyfriend was on good behaviour – a gallant host, as you say, for two weeks. Sunshine, clear blue skies, not a drop of rain. As I understood from the locals, we were extremely lucky.

    1. Hi, Maggie – I am so glad that you were able to get out to the island, and that you had a wonderful visit. Our summer weather is usually fairly reliable…although we can be on ‘drought alert’, especially in our small town. I never understand how we can go from an abundance of rain to drought. That seriously boggles my mind!

    1. Thanks, Kate. “Bipolar” is an excellent description of the weather that many of us have been experiencing. I will be borrowing that phrase!

  4. Good morning from Kelowna. There is snow on the tips of the mountains this morning and my newly planted hanging baskets are wondering what is happening. I know it will be summer eventually but this is ridiculous. 🙂

    1. Happy Mother’s Day, Diana! Thanks so much for reading and commenting. Wishing you a great day…and lots of sunshine for your hanging flower baskets!

  5. Aha, the good and the bad about Vancouver Island – seeing things in perspective, indeed. Luckily, summer is – finally – upon us. I hope so, anyway. We have been complaining more about a cold and dreary winter while in Northern California than when we were in New England the previous winter. It surely seems to drag on (especially now we are in said New England). What a great painting from Pauline Pike! Happy Mother’s Day!!
    Liesbet recently posted…Monthly Expenses – April 2017My Profile

    1. Hi, Liesbet- I love your positive thinking and am hopeful that our summer weather will arrive soon. Thanks for your comment on Pauline’s painting — she produces some incredible pieces!

  6. Donna,
    Your piece on Vancouver Island is truly wonderful. And this year our various relationships with the Island have been sorely tested.
    There have been times this winter when I almost longed for Winnipeg’s winter sunshine. But I still love the Island.!
    Have a lovely Mother’s Day.

    1. Hi, Margaret – Thank you so much for commenting. I totally understand about missing Winnipeg’s winter sunshine. There were numerous days that I longed for Beijing’s winter blue sky days. (How quickly my mind erased the other Beijing ‘weather’ days!)

  7. Mother Nature can’t seem to make up her mind, lately. We’ve been on a roller coaster ride with our temperatures. How blessed you are to live in such a lovely area, Donna. Your photos are beautiful!

  8. I just returned from a spring sojourn to Vancouver Island; Milner garden was on the itinerary as well. Going to the island from the prairies is like going to another country with its greenery and blooms. I never get enough of it.

    1. Hi, Mona – I am so glad that you enjoyed your recent visit to Vancouver Island and Milner Gardens. You are right; it is all relative! So far today, it is bright and sunny. Shamelessly, I am finding myself already forgiving the island for its past indiscretions!

  9. So glad you’ve made your peace with your boyfriend…we would miss you too much if you weren’t here to light up our lives!

  10. I feel privileged to be mentioned in you post. Thank you for the birthday wishes. I love the way you write as if Vancouver was a boyfriend, very clever and entertaining.

    1. Happy Birthday, Jo-Anne! I am so glad that you spotted my message to you. Looking forward to seeing you again soon!

  11. Even though we will miss each other (although I really think you should consider rearranging your travel plans 🙂 ) when we visit Vancouver Island later this year, I am looking forward to enjoying your beautiful oasis. High Tea at Milner Gardens appears not to be missed. Your gorgeous pictures make even the winter look inviting.
    Janis recently posted…Rockabilly Style Comes to Las VegasMy Profile

    1. Thanks, Janis – I am so sad that I will miss your visit. Hopefully you will LOVE Vancouver Island, and come back again to visit!

    1. Thank you for stopping by and commenting, Pat. I definitely recommend adding Vancouver Island to your list of places to visit!

  12. What a clever idea for a post, Donna, and very well written. Having been to the island many times, I know exactly what you are talking about. The gorgeous days are so incredibly gorgeous that they can easily lull you into a false sense of security that they will be ever thus. The betrayal, when it comes, hurts even more than if the bad boyfriend had shown his true colours every once in a while during the beautiful times.

    1. Hi, Karen – Thank you for your kind words. I am looking forward to your next visit to the Island. It would be great to meet-up!

    1. Thanks, Ally – You are incredibly perceptive. The islands out here all are a bit quirky. Ultimately, I believe that the Islanders would not want it any other way. Thank you for commenting!

  13. Vancouver Island looks like a beautiful place to live! I particularly liked seeing your before-and-after pictures of winter and spring in your yard. Glad you had a good Mother’s Day. Thank you for sharing at #BloggingGrandmothersLinkParty. I’m sharing your post on social media.
    Carol (“Mimi”) recently posted…Blogging Grandmothers Link Party #15My Profile

    1. Hi, Dee – The little island is called “Chrome Island”. I took the photo from Denman Island which is a short ferry ride away from where we live. Thanks for commenting and for sharing. #BloggingGrandmothersLinkParty#15

    1. Hi, Lori – I’ve never been to Utah but it’s definitely on my travel list. Thanks for commenting!
      #BloggingGrandmothersLinkParty#15

  14. I love your perspective. And the pictures are gorgeous. I want to move to Vancouver Island. 🙂 Thank you for linking up and co-hosting at the #BloggingGrandmothersLinkParty. I shared this post.

    1. Hi, Clearissa – If you ever do visit Vancouver Island please let me know. I’d be most happy to show you around!
      #BloggingGrandmothersLinkParty!

    1. Thanks, Jean – What a nice thing to say.
      And you have proven yourself very clever in avoiding the winter months on Vancouver Island. That is a smart thing to do when you can!

  15. Vancouver looks beautiful. I hope to get to visit these one day, which is a possibility because my sister lives in Sequim, WA. Your story was wonderful to read! Thank you for sharing it on the Blogging Grandmothers Link Party! Pinned to my Travels board and shared on social media!
    Teresa recently posted…Blogging Grandmothers Link Party #15My Profile

    1. Thanks so much, Teresa. If you do decide to visit your sister and come out this way, please let me know. It would be great to meet up. Us ‘Blogging Grandmothers’ need to stick together! 😀

  16. Sounds to me as if you have as much rain on Vancouver Island as we do in Swansea, in South Wales. All the same, there’s still a lot of beauty about, even in the rain. Don’t let Vancouver Island put you off from living is such a beautiful part of the world, Donna. It looks amazing. And that high tea! Wow! Looks like it was a lovely afternoon. I’d have eaten everything.
    Hugh Roberts recently posted…Colleen’s #Book #Reviews – “Glimpses,” by Author, @HughRoberts05My Profile

    1. Thanks, Hugh – These are very wise words indeed. You should have joined us for High Tea. Between the four of us, we did not even touch the top tier of the serving tray…we were simple too full from the bottom and mid layers!

        1. Thanks, Hugh – I’d like to say that it was well-refined restraint that saved the final tier. Sadly, it was simply fullness. Actually we were full all day. That certainly won’t stop us from returning next Mother’s Day! 😀

    1. Brief sunshine only at nap time? That pretty much describes our last seven months on the Island! But yesterday and today have been ‘instant summer!’ Shorts, flipflops and bright colours everywhere! Bring it on!!

  17. I’ve been to Vancouver several times, but to the Island only once. In all occasions I was incredibly lucky to see only the bright, sunny, hospitable side of the west coast. Who wouldn’t fall in love?!

    You’ve had a rough winter – extraordinarily rough. I hope the summer is much kinder to you.
    Joanne Sisco recently posted…More To Chew OnMy Profile

    1. Thanks, Joanne! I’m glad that you have made it out to the Island, and that it treated you well! Knock on computer, we seem to be having a long-awaited break in our weather. We could comfortably wear shorts, t-shirts and flipflops yesterday and today. The weather report predicts “sunny skies” and “warm temperatures” (i.e 22 C) for the week ahead. Fingers crossed! I hope that your weather is behaving nicely as well.

      1. Sadly, our’s is not behaving. This has been a chilly May long weekend. Yesterday was pouring rain and 12C, today is gray and 15C.
        … but I still got out on my bike today, so all is good 🙂

        Enjoy the rest of this long weekend!!
        Joanne Sisco recently posted…More To Chew OnMy Profile

        1. I am so sorry to hear about your gray weather, Joanne. It seems like Toronto and Vancouver Island have had much ‘opposite weather’ this year. When it is has been bright and sunny there, it has been cold and rainy here. Wishing you sunny skies soon. I’m glad to hear that you had a chance to get on your bike. More trail adventures?

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