Thursday, February 3, 2011


In writing my little book about a starfish on Roberts Creek beach, I've been flooded with memories and the deep desire to return there for a visit. Last night I emailed a number of friends to see if they were available in March break for me to land on their doorstep. I long for my old home. This piece I wrote a while back.....

         In the mid 1990's, in looking for a safer place for our son to enter high school, God provided a most beautiful place for us to live. We decided to move to the Sunshine Coast of British Columbia. A close friend had been living in a heritage house in Roberts Creek, and wanted to know if we wanted to live there as he was moving on to Seattle. We jumped at the chance.

        We had first visited the house in the dark of winter and were delighted to see upon waking that the house was mere metres from the ocean. The locals know the house as “The Castle”. Built by the community’s original settler, Harry Roberts, in 1917, it remains a large, red log structure with a “lookout room” on the second floor. When Harry originally built it for his bride Effie, he put turrets on the roof of the lookout room, thus forever having it stand out as “the castle.” The smell of the salt air and seasoned cedar permeated this building. The surf was less than 100 metres from the front room, and there wasn’t a room in the house that didn’t have an ocean view. We saw BC Ferries cross in front of our house many times a day. Seals, and at times sea lions, played in the surf and we spent hours upon hours beachcombing, always looking for bigger and more colorful shells and beach glass. We had quite a collection in our garden where we displayed our finds. The sea was ever-changing as it reflected the sky’s expressions of light and colour. No two days were the same on that coast. One thing for sure, the sea was rarely still and the tides were dramatic.

         One weekend something astonishing happened there. My family was not with me, but three girlfriends came on the ferry from the city to visit. It was a blustery March weekend. We took turns wowing each other with fancy foods and were faithful in our assigned hours to keep the woodstove burning. We went for a number of long walks on the beach and my city friends fell in love with the place. In front of our house, the beach was a maze of old, loose logs that had escaped the log booms during storms. The beachcombers would come for the best logs as soon as storms were over, but many logs were left, whitened over the years with sea salt. So there was a bit of a climb from our yard to the flat, sandy part of the beach.

         As we were exploring that weekend, I noticed that my friend’s gold necklace was open and hanging down. She gasped as she realized she had lost her most treasured jewelry, a pink gold cross with a ruby in it that had been her grandmother’s and a little gold star of David that had a diamond in the centre. As long as I had known Annette, she had worn this necklace. My heart sunk. Immediately the search was on. But a beach covered with logs and wood chips, rocks and sand? How tiny these pieces of jewelry seemed! After looking for over an hour, we decided to go back up to the house and see if we could hire someone with a metal detector. We did not succeed.

Imagine trying to find jewelry in this!

         As heartbroken as Annette was, she kept saying, “Really, I don’t want this to be the weekend we remember as the one when I lost my necklace. Let’s just let it go.” We gave up the search. But I prayed. Out loud and silently. “Lord,” I implored, “you know how important this is to my friend, your beloved. I know you can see this thing, please lead us to it.” And we let it go.

Roberts Creek beach at low tide.

         A couple of hours later, after a great dinner, just before sunset, the rain stopped and the sun came out briefly. We were looking out the window and saw a seal playing close to shore. We threw on our shoes and headed outdoors for a closer look. We just came through our gate and started out onto the logs when something shiny caught my eye. Right at my feet…there on the log, as if carefully placed, were Annette’s cross and star of David. We all did the happy dance and praised God together. We even joked that maybe that seal was an angel, sent to draw us out to the beach! And I stood there and realized once again, that our God is a Father who cares about what we care about. Nothing is too small for Him. He loves to surprise his children. He is so good.

"The Castle"

No comments:

Post a Comment