Masset Sounds… and Scents, Sights, and Sensations

In the past, I wrote a weekly column, entitled “Masset Sounds,” in the Queen Charlotte Islands Observer newspaper. The column’s name came from Masset Sound, a geographical feature at approximately 54N 132W, just off the shoreline of Masset, Haida Gwaii. In the column, I attempted to capture the spirit of the Masset/t area. Following are some excerpts which describe that community during springtime.

March Sounds

tulip and daffodil leaves stretching up with promise of blooms soon to come… surveyors busily measuring and marking in preparation for the summer building season… pussy willows in bloom along Trumpeter Drive… buds on bushes the last weekend of February turning into new bright green foliage the first weekend of March… Brownies out in Delkatla Sanctuary observing spring activity of flora and fauna… seed potatoes and rose bushes on sale at local stores… soccer and baseball equipment being dragged out of storage

happy shouts of children on Spring Break playing in a late snowfall… and just 24 hours later folks spending the afternoon strolling down the beaches and enjoying the glorious spring sunshine and warmth… to be closely followed by the splish-splash of rubber boots stomping through endless puddles as winter defiantly throws out another storm… all interspersed by joyful moments of sunshine casting a spotlight on bunches of bright yellow daffodils nodding their heads, ignoring the puddles and melting patches of snow lying nearby

1,2,3,4,5… our annual daffodil count is on and we hear lots of counting as daffodils in abundance are bringing their bright splash of sunlight into our lives again

April Sounds

bird calls of all descriptions echoing throughout the sanctuary and in backyards and woodlands everywhere… shy, tiny, pale pink buds of huckleberries; long slender salal buds of brighter hue, and of brightest pink, the blossoms of salmonberries with each petal eagerly flung wide to sun rays and raindrops… yellow blooms of broom; fragile mauve orchids shyly drooping their heads in quiet, shady corners; bright white blossoms of strawberry plants in suny, open trailside clearings; and one very bright red tulip standing proudly alone in the midst of a tangled patch of wild berry bushes!

cheerful strains of Girl Guide voices singing “val-der-i-val-der-a” on a Saturday hike to the Pesuta Shipwreck…

animated end-of-winter discussions about deer-count memories on those dark evening drives between Masset and points south… with some heated debate over who really holds the record (one night we counted 136 in the 20 minute drive between Port and Garbage Dump Hill!)

salty sea-scent wafts on the breeze as neighbors, on their patio, slice up thick honey-golden strands of ghow (herring roe on kelp)… the warm scent of fresh-turned earth rises from other yards, where folks are busy with spring planting… clothes billowing on back-yard clothes lines as stiff gusts of wintry breeze clash with the gentle warmth of spring sunshine… mom and daughter wandering down the lane, mom patiently waiting while her little one stops to examine each new sight along the path… sun reflecting with dazzling intensity off Pat’s shell-covered front yard…

true-blue, finely rippled water in the harbour glitters with sun-sparkled highlights under skies of a paler blue… the screeching sound of power tools on the docks reminds us that it will soon befishing season for the small-town fleet that gently, sleepily floats in neat double rows… bright red, sharp-tipped tulips, soft velvety-purple pansies, and pretty yellow and burgundy primroses pop their heads up from garden pots

much laughter and good cheer as senior at the Adult Day Program adorn themselves in some very creative Easter Bonnets, and share a time of visiting, fun, and Easter goodies at the annual Easter party at the Elder’s Hall in Old Massett

May sounds

Tayhayghen Elementary’s semi-annual Spring Carnival, packed as always to overflowing with students, parents, teachers, and friends all thoroughly enjoying themselves and supporting the school through barbecues, raffles, games of chance, candy floss, face painting, white elephant sales, snacks, community displays, clowns, ice cream parlor, bake sale, French Creperie, and the famous cake walk featuring the wonderful, creative, decorated cakes of Masset’s junior bakers

walking in the rain… circle-sale-ing in the rain… the annual round of Masset Circle Sales carries on, despite the withdrawl of most of the Armed Forces, and the PMQs now owned by private individuals… with crowds out in droves as usual (just about Masset’s greatest “togetherness” event of the year)

Ms. Merali’s annual primary class “Author’s Tea” (alas, Ms. Merali has just retired…who will carry on this famous Masset tradition??)

the first salmonberries are ripe, red and orange, juicy, sweet, melt-in-your-mouth wonderful! And the trees and bushes are so incredibly green: prickly deep-forest-green spruce and hemlock branches tipped with soft-lime-green-new growth; large shiny green salal leaves sprinkled with pure white blossoms; tiny red-tipped green huckleberry leaves; fresh green grasses springing up among yellowed winter-worn grasses. And yellow everywhere – sunshine, in full brilliance or valiantly struggling to peek through big grey clouds, or laughing as it shares the heavens with spring showers; children giggling, rubbing velvety yellow buttercups across their chins to discover if they’re in love; and brilliant yellow, red-tinted, broom bushes in full glorious bloom… lilac blossoms, cherry blossoms, fresh cut grass, freshly turned gardens… the scents are truly intoxicating… down at Delkatla slough the bald eagles are soaring overhead, while a hundred different species of bird feed in the rich waters

lots of great times at Masset’s annual Harbour Days celebration: starting off with the delcious scents of a pancake breakfast hosted by the Lion’s Club, and ending with the booms and sparkles of  the annual fireworks display… and inbetween, information booths, barbeques, roller-blading and other sports competitions, baseball tournament, rides on the BC Hydro bucket, St. Paul’s annual salmon barbeque, candle-light Civic Pride dinner, the Big Parade, and all kinds of other community-minded events

piles of garbage piled up in front of everybody’s homes, as folks get into the swing of Masset’s annual Clean-up Week… and some folks prowl around looking for great “shop-easy” deals in those piles

mid-1990s

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