hydrangea blossoming

hydrangea blossoming
Hydrangea on the Edge of Blooming

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Looking at Point Roberts

I was at the market yesterday, standing by the door to introduce the Grocery Receipts Library Fundraiser to folks coming to the market, when one Canadian woman I was talking to said, "Tell me about Point Roberts.  How long have you lived here?  Whenever I come down here, I think this is just about the most unusual place I've ever been.  How did you get here to live?"

Not an unusual question in the sense that most of us who live here full-time probably ask ourselves that question regularly.  And ask it as well (at least internally) about people we have met casually who are our fellow-residents.  I am never really able to settle on an answer although I doubt if there is just one answer.  There are many Point Robertses here in these almost-five-square-miles just as there are many microclimates here.

This question was part of my original attraction to the abandoned houses here.  How is it that there were so many houses in such a tiny place that just fall into decades of disuse.  How is it that there is no one who cares enough to care or to convey it to someone who does or will.  How does one lose such vital contact with what has been a home?  I have never understood it, even as I have watched these houses collapse under their own weight and the external weather, and watched, as well, other houses start into that downward process.  (Photo on left is an abandoned mail box at work, I think.)

A young man from Emily Carr is currently doing a photography thesis project on Point Roberts. We met with him recently to talk about his project and it brought up in me, again, many of those thoughts and the statement that the lady at the market had made about this being an extremely unusual place did as well.

Is it unusual because it's so small?  Because it is divided between part-time and full-time residents?  Because the border influences our lives so strongly, especially since 9/11?  Because it has so many different divisions: part-timers/full-timers, tourists/residentes, Canadian/American, boaters/nonboaters, old people/younger people, east side/west side, housing developers/conservationists, economic developers/artists and the like, old families/the rest of us, longtime residents/new residents, cottagers/big housers, the voters' association/the taxpayers' association, the people who go to town meetings/the people who don't.  That's just a quick gathering of kinds of divisions that come to mind.  The divisions are not deadly; are often wonderfully entertaining.  But they do contain a certain kind of trapped community energy that might usefully be released to better purposes.

Ah, well, it's Sunday morning in the fall and we are about our unusual lives in our unusual home spots, thinking our usual thoughts.  Unusually, the sun is shining and the sky is blue, but it's time for coffee.

1 comment:

V said...

Sounds like you have many of the same divisions we have in San Francisco, writ very small. I can't wait to visit PR and see for myself! Maybe in a year or two.

-Peter from SF