Just back from my vacation on Salt Spring Island, BC – back to reality.
A couple of days ago I was on Baker Beach, watching the interaction between four eagles and some gulls and crows. At one point, one of the eagles snatched a fish out of the sea, and was flying back when one of the crows suddenly darted upwards to knock the fish out of its talons. That was one brave crow – there were a similar number of crows to eagles, so there was no mobbing involved. (I’m one of those backyard birders that loves crows – pure heavy metal. Yes, I know they are filthy scavengers that eat songbird nestlings, but they are every bit as smart as ravens.)
For a long time I wanted to move to Salt Spring, but now I’m not so sure. I wonder how dependent these places are on cheap oil – what happens when recession hits and ferries stop running? Take away the tourists, and the millionaires – who are much like tourists in that they come and go – and I wonder what will happen to the local economy. There’s still a lot of agricultural land, but not much arable land growing staples like corn and veggies.
All the same, there’s something about islands that speak to me. I’ve spent a lot of time on the Scottish islands, particularly the Western Isles – I’ve flown into Barra airport on the only scheduled passenger service to land on a beach. I can cope with rural, with isolation and quiet. Just not with subsistence farming, which I think a lot of out-of-the way places will return to, in the not-too-distant future. Perhaps I should explain that my view of the world, post peak hydrocarbons, revolves around small towns surrounded by commercial farms, as opposed to everyone becoming self-sufficient. I see the Victorian age coming back - with all its urban squalor and dark, satanic mills.
Funnily enough, every time I mentioned peak oil during the vacation, the current Mrs. Wild called me a communist. Perhaps it’s a similar vocation - being a ranting, lone dissenter and all that. You start to see everything differently once you drink the peak oil Cool Aid. There’s nothing more tedious than being buttonholed by a commie ranting about class struggle, so maybe she meant it in that sense.
But I think of that crow, hammering an eagle three times its size.