Slow Falling of Cedars

One of the Crew’s many daughters, Alice, joins Jupiter at Port McNeill for a brief cruise to two outports and an anchorage. The weather prediction is unambiguous: fog followed by 36 hours of Force 7 winds flowing into all the straits and narrows along the intended route.

The morning of departure dawns opaque in a misty vindication of Canadian weather forecasting. Jupiter casts off and proceeds eastward where all points are out of focus.

On approach to the day’s destination, Lagoon Cove Marina, the west-wind sends out its feely fingers to tease up wavelets from normally still waters.

Arrival alongside the docks is untroubled by drafts, but Jupiter is soon joined by other nowcast refugees, and boats fill floats trunk to tail. Barbarian gusts find a way over an island and around a headland to torment mariners by broadsiding all boats within this otherwise weatherproof harbor.

This would be an excellent time for a hike, sayeth the crew, and the two—mother and daughter—in boots and windstoppers step off Jupiter onto a dock rolling now with stormy haymakers tossing a hat overboard.

Off into the Big Bear Woods they traipse through a dense forest of cedars in the wind, where a lumbering bear was seen this forenoon.

“Bear-bear, here we come Mister Bear” and other loud expressions of bear-aware fanfare are neither heard nor heeded in the growling weather.

The third crew member remains aboard adding fenders, adjusting lines and trying to conjure one quixotic weather modeler among a crowd of crybabies.

A creak, creak, creak and a crack, crack, crack is heard, but “it might be a woodpecker.” Then with a great gimcrackery crash an old and unseen tree breaks its bonds and falls nearby, narrowly missing the bear, but poleaxing and pollarding more than a few of its timberly neighbors.

Now is the time to turnabout back to Jupiter tossing on the docks.

It is also the time to prepare a platter of food to share at the traditional afternoon boaters’ potlatch where shelter can be found at the workshop shed. Lagoon Cove is the golden yolk of the Devil’s Egg Triangle where seaside happy hours take place everyday in every weather.

Lagoon Cove’s community center where mariners meet daily to share food and scuttlebutt.

By cocktail hour all thirty-four boaters leave their ships to the wind and gather at the wharf-top workshop, queueing for food and friendship.

A creak, creak, creak, and a crack, crack, crack is heard, and shouts of “Tree coming down right here!”

The assembled mariners disperse like a flock of gulls chased off a beach, plates and goblets of grog tumbling in the bursting gale. A tall cedar slowly crashes off the hill by the gathering place creating a woody waste, narrowly missing the deck, the handrails and the partygoers.

The maw left by the tree that came calling.

Concerned that more trees might fall, management prudently moves the remains of the day to the docks. And the bear moves elsewhere.

The Mariners’ Picnic

If you go down in the woods today you’re sure of a big surprise
If you go down in the woods today you’d better look up at the skies
For every bear that ever there was will gather there for certain because
Today’s the day the mariners have their picnic

Every mariner who’s been good is sure of treat today
There’s lots of marvelous things to eat and wonderful things to say
Beneath the trees where nobody sees they’ll drink and eat as long as they please
‘Cos that’s the way the mariners have their picnic

Picnic time for mariners
The salty mariners are having a lovely time today
Watch them, catch them unawares and see them picnic up above the bay

See them gaily gad about
They love to brag and shout
They always have major repairs
At six o’clock their bilges and oil leaks will call them back aboard
Because they’re fixing little mariners

If you go down in the woods today you better not go alone
Its windy down in the woods today and better to stay not roam
For every bear that ever there was will gather there for certain because
Today’s the day the mariners have their picnic

Bumps on Stumps

If a tree falls in the forest and you are there to hear it, grill up some favorite sausages. Cool, then slice into rings. Top alternating stumps with whole grain mustard and berry pepper jelly.


  1. Tina Jones says:

    Ah..beautiful Lagoon Cove…enjoyed many a ‘Happy Hour’ there..pot lucks…and enjoying then owner “Bill’s” who has since passed…sumptuous prawns😋
    Nice hiking too…
    Enjoy the rest of your summer Team JUPITER ~

  2. Nice allusion to Snow Falling on Cedars! 🙂 A fine and moving read.

    I was at Lagoon Cove once- walked down the trail from the “far” dock to the workshop and came back five minutes later to a steaming pile of bear scat in the middle of said trail. I can only image that the bear was just a few feet away the first time I passed by. Maybe it is best not to imagine too much…

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *