Tuesday, September 02, 2008

Sidney Island

For me and two friends, Labour Day weekend marks more than the end of summer, our annual trip to Sidney Island. We take the kids that are out of diapers and camp for a couple of nights, a dads and kids weekend. The kids spend most of their time at the beach and we kick back. We catch-up and, like most of the camps, treks, and excavations I've been on, hum a theme song (a song which pervades the social consciousness of a group and seems to posses its own agency in doing so). This year, Take it on the Run by REO Speedwagon was on our lips, which isn't that bad a choice if you consider that parents frequently sing kids songs; at times I find myself singing the clumsy adaption of the 12 Days of Christmas for the LeapPad and some of the Barney's Favorites that my daughter repeatedly plays. Nevertheless, we are products of the Eighties, so it's no surprise Hey Rosetta, Wintersleep, and Tanya Tagaq songs don't become theme songs, despite their worthiness. Our '80s perspective, however, offers us much expertise in judging least deserving hits; this year The Boys in the Bright White Sports Car edged out TNT in the Simplest Lyrics category. Since we are upfront about our association with the Eighties, it is surprising that some radio stations, such as Jack, aren't. The Atlantic Monthly has this to say about the Eighties, "Like relentless zombies in a horror film, '80s nostalgia acts keep trudging along, undaunted." What is surprising is that my wife can still run into a teenager who yells, "Judas Priest rules" two inches from her face. I guess we'll have to endure for another generation or so.

Sidney Island's an idyllic setting for camping. Every time I'm there, I often pause in wonder at the surrounding vista: the stars also shine brighter here, so much so that it's like getting a new prescription. The island boasts a herd of fallow deer, which reminds me of the antelope that roam in the same dry, knee-high grass of the Serengeti. This year Parks Canada has installed some interpretive signs about the wildlife and history of the island; however, they've omitted the bomb shelter. It is a long rectangular structure with a vaulted ceiling and sturdy walls; two benches line the long walls and would have seated 20 or so. The grass roof and location amidst the trees would have kept it well camouflaged, but it is difficult to ascertain why it was built in the first place, given the low likelihood of an attack. Perhaps, the owner was caught up in the same hysteria that resulted in the Japanese internment camps. Nevertheless, it's well worth the visit; just wander about 500 metres SSE of the barracks to just inside the tree-line (east of the dead trees).

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