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Tracie Skarbo was motivated to write by her father, who was her biggest supporter. “He was always behind me, rallying me on with my writing. I would always see him with a book in hand. He gave me a great appreciation for the written word, and the power and responsibility that writers have to shape those who read their words. He also taught me to respect nature and to value the beauty within it; my reflections on my environment are just an extension of this.” Skarbo was raised on Vancouver Island and is working on her next two books.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Island Girl

I cast out my new lure in the slight breeze over the rocky shore and across the smooth surface of the ocean saying a little prayer.  Not much of one, just that I would be grateful to actually keep it instead of losing it to the seaweed and the rocks below.  And if it became a lucky lure, good for multiple strikes, that would be great too. 

I am a lucky woman to live on the west coast of Vancouver Island, Canada, and every time I come out to this beach—not a five minute drive from where I live—I give gratitude to the powers that be.  The beach, the ocean and her moods, and both the animals and people who live here are a constant inspiration. 

Today I was in for a treat.  I heard him singing before I could see him, the breeze carrying his voice over the water.  He was on the other side of one of the rocky fingers jutting out along the shore.  But there could be no mistaking the low husky voice and those chants in a native dialogue that seemed to fill me with an unexpected comfort when I heard them.  I figured he must be an elder or perhaps a medicine man from the reserve community that was close by, and these chants he sang were for the ocean and her children.  As if to answer in greeting, an Eagle stutter whistled from the pines behind me.   

He rounded the bend and his familiar yellow Kayak came into view, still a ways down the beach and complete with the little Terrier figurehead. 

I never saw the man without the dog, or the dog without the man.  They were inseparable and seemed to have a symbiotic relationship so in tune they were together.  At times the dog would jump off of the Kayak and then swim along the boat, or swim for shore and then run along the beach while his master paddled along.  Then when he was tired he would either swim back to the Kayak or signal with a bark for his master to come and pick him up.   

It was peaceful to watch the two interacting without words, while I cast out my line and felt the little fish bite while I waited for bigger prey.  Often times seal and otter are out here to enjoy the waves.  Or the resident blue heron comes to fish with me while the sun sets in the west, giving purple hues to the snowcapped mountains in the east.

I went to live in Calgary, Alberta for a couple years, and found that I had this deep heartsick longing for the coastal waters and the mild climates, I had to move back.  I shake my head at it now, wondering why I had ever thought I could be a Cowgirl.  When it should have been so clear all along that to the depths of my bones, I am an Island girl, and only with the scent of the ocean am I truly home.


  1. I used to live near the ocean, but now am 90 miles inland, I'm lucky if I get to the shore once or twice a year. You are fortunate to live where you do. Enjoyable read :)

  2. Maybe this just shows how good a writer you are because all of a sudden I started looking up these songs... Island In The Sun, Joseph Arthur "In The Sun", etc. Reminds me how much I miss sitting by the lake

  3. I am so glad that my words inspired you too look up those songs Marquis! Katley, I am very fortunate indeed, and whenever I am out there enjoying the shore and sea, I give thanks. :) Thanks for coming by and having a peek!