Coming Home

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I have just come home from a four day trip up island.

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We stayed in a town called Campbell River and travelled out from there to see the other sides of this island I now call home. I live near the city of Victoria, it is on the southern tip of Vancouver Island and we often travel around the coast looking for new sights and fishing spots. It is difficult to get a feel for this place without driving out into the wilderness. Much of the island is inaccessible other than by bumpy forestry roads, and it is these roads that we put to full use over the weekend. They took us through clear cuts and over rivers filled with salmon.

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The salmon have also come home. Many have travelled for three years in the ocean, avoiding predators and fishing vessels, to find their way back to the same river, stream or creek, that they were spawned in. They will drop their own eggs or fertilize those of the female ahead of them, and then slowly rot and die. It is an amazing feat. Every year I wonder what draws them home. What amazing sense tells them that their birth stream is where they should return over any other. They have not stayed there and been territorial from birth to death, they have travelled, further than many of us ever will, and yet they keep coming home.

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While watching the salmon we saw a black bear trying to catch one for its dinner. I hope never to get over the awe I feel seeing large animals like the bear in the forests near where I live. Growing up in Wales, there was nothing comparable to the orca, bald eagles, bears, wolves, elk, cougar and much more that this island holds. Despite repeated logging, the forests are still mysterious and more than a little dangerous. They are still not home to humans.

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To understand an island you must travel around it. I am making my way a little at a time. With each trip I get closer to calling it home while keeping my birth place close to my heart.

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