A few summers ago, my mom, the kids and myself spent a few days at the French Creek Cabins just north of Parksville on the island. They were lovely rustic cabins with the added bonus of facing a lovely secluded cove beside the French Creek Marina. It was heaven. Deer and bunnies strolled through the park and the waves lulled us to sleep each night after a day of swimming and beach combing.
It was a wild beach – storm-tossed – and our evening stroll consisted of a scramble towards the marina, and then up the little road and round to the entrance of the resort. I loved this because we got to check out the little houses that were on that street. THAT side of French Creek was very different from the north side of the marina that was developed by gorgeous modern glass houses that stared out at the ocean. On this side…..well, it was a mix.
We drooled over the new build that sat sadly empty on a spectacular piece of property that was covered in yellow sea grass down the water. I loved a yellow house with a gate that was carved to look like a bookcase filled with books. But there was one house, that I couldn’t stop thinking about and filled my head wondering at its creation.
I have now named it the jigsaw house. I am sure its origins are very humble and ordinary, but I don’t care. It has been a victim of my daydreaming and imagination.
The home has obviously been lovingly built by hand and from bits and bobs rescued and repurposed. I assume that the placement of that large window shows an appreciation of the ocean view by the owners. As well as the fact that house is raised up on gangly legs.
The house makes me a bit sad because it no longer fits where it rests. Modernity and development now encroach from all sides. The marina and seafood processing plant’s parking encroaches on their ocean view as does now the imminent sale of the French Creek Cabins and I am sure the developers have been talking to them and their neighbours land too.
It is a house out of time in more ways than one. Waterfront and water view properties are at a premium on the West Coast and gone are the days of rambling overgrown properties that beg for endless days of beachcombing and driftwood bonfire nights.
In 1984 I read Stephen King’s The Talisman. I couldn’t put the book down. I read it during my classes, on my breaks….I was totally swept up in his world.
I think the Jigsaw House belongs in The Territories.
The house doesn’t belong in a world of asphalt parking lots and faceless overpriced developments. The sun and sandblasted painted walls and hodge podge of rescued windows and doors do not fit with the whiff of gentrification that is sweeping through French Creek.
The Jigsaw House belongs on a windswept curve of beach, seagrass and gorse. It should stand alone. The only sounds are the boom of the logs crashing up on the beach and the call of the sea birds. The deer and rabbits that wander through the brush should not have to deal with the Island Highway, just a few dusty tracks.
On busy days when I am surrounded by the yammer of my family. Four people who need my attention for the smallest things, I like to think of the Jigsaw House and all the sounds and smell of the ocean that the image triggers for me. I love the ocean and our west coast waters are so magical. Perhaps one day I will live near enough to hear its soothing sounds from my own jigsaw house.
Perhaps instead of a developer destroying this little piece of magic, it will manage to wiggle its way back to where it should be.
I hope so.
I don’t have any plans to see that part of the island anytime soon. I think to have the house exist in an almost Schroedinger’s type of maybe or maybe not is okay right now in between my visits to French Creek.
It can exist for now in my head with the sound of the waterlogged timbers crashing into each other on that tiny curve of beach in a quiet part of The Territories.