Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Pelagic Buses for Scholars

About 100 high school students, every weekday, make a journey of an hour or so each way, to and from the high school back to their island homes by water. We are island people and water is our highway. We live in a Southern Gulf Island area with four outer islands and the larger Lotus Island with the high school serving the entire area. These Gulf Islands lie, or more properly, bask, in what is now called The Salish Sea. Every day the pianist and I watch the two large water buses, The Scholar and the Graduate, transporting their precious cargo too and fro, passing our harbour window, beginning to leave for the outer islands at 6: 45 am, returning at 8:15 am and transporting the students home later in the afternoon. The commitment of society on these islands to education and scholarship is enormous. The commitment of the youth is exemplified by the sacrifice of time due to the travel required. The Winter in the northern waters, while largely inshore waters, is still periodically rough, and cold and dark at the times of coming and going ! If you are prepared to put that much time and effort into getting an education, it follows that you take yourself seriously. You have the right to be taken seriously by everyone else as well. The curious thing about it all is the trip through the islands is one of the country's, nay, one of the world's major beauty spots, even from time to time in the winter, but the students, so take it for granted, that it's old hat. As they get older and depart the islands, they will come to realize, I am sure, the incredible nature of their school journeys. In the meantime have fun, talk a lot,text a lot, do your homework and never bother to look out the window.

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