I Give Credit to the Tulips, the Woods, the Words

The Tulips In My Back Yard

My husband and I still like each other.

We have had a lot of togetherness. A lot of uncertainty. A roller coaster of emotions.

Tulips take my husband outside.  He tends the garden. The brown, rich earth is his medium. He disappears in the beauty of creation.  He returns with a smile.

Tulips allow us some separation and space.

The garden helps us stay friends and our marriage stay healthy.

I give credit to the Tulips in our back yard.  A sign of Spring.  A sign of Renewal.  A sign of Hope.

 

 

My Neck Of The Woods

We are allowed to go for walks in our neighbourhood.  We are encouraged to exercise.  

I am very grateful.  I am aware many people on our planet do not have this privilege.

We have access to a forest and farms nearby. 

We move one foot in front of the other.  We are aware how time marches on. 

Today’s present moment is more important than the past or the future. 

I give credit to the Woods. Tranquil moments in nature replenish my soul.

 

Beautiful Words

I have many words that enter my life every day. 

Words entertain me.  They teach me.  

Words comfort me. They sustain me.

The words seep into my pores.

I give credit to the Words.  Words forever change me.

 

Grateful For My Life

Today I am healthy.  I live in a tranquil, beautiful part of the world.

Today’s present moment is all I truly have.

I give credit to the Tulips, the Woods, and especially the Words.

 

 

 

What do you do to stay mentally and physically healthy?

         

Postscript:

I have mentioned before how I learn something new from every single post I read.

Please continue writing, sharing and connecting. You will not always know when you have made a difference in someone’s life.

A Few Recent Words:         

  • Lisa Dorenfest: “…life has prepared me for this moment….”   “…visualizing what I want my life to look like post-pandemic.” Since I read these insightful words, I also have been “visualizing what I want my life to look like post-pandemic.”   Thank you for your wisdom, Lisa.  Lisa Dorenfest
  • Lauren Baydreamer  Exceptionally creative words capturing the mood and emotions of our present time.  I am left with goosebumps long after reading this powerful palindrome poetry.  “The Virus”
  • Natalie Natalie the Explorer  Shares a post each week where she focuses on “Every day is full of simple pleasures that make me feel positive and grateful.” “During these uncertain times, I choose to focus on the positives, work on finding a balance in my day, be flexible, and stay strong.” Natalie, your words help me focus on the beauty of my surroundings.  You are an inspiration.
  • Leanne Cresting The Hill  Marie Kondo’s books refer to items and a life that sparks joy. Leanne’s words and her message resonated with me: “…it’s okay to not fill every waking moment with something meaningful.” “Doing less sparks a lot of joy for me.”  
  • Joanne And Anyways…  Home schooling is a challenge for many right now.  Joanne shared a meme that continues to make me smile.  “It might take a village to raise a child, but it takes a vineyard to home-school one.”
  • Sue Sizzling Towards 60 & Beyond  Shared a game she plays online with her six-year-old grandson, Ethan. They find five things starting with a letter of the day.  Ethan writes it down, takes a photo of it and shares it with Sue.  I began doing this last week with six-year-old Sadie.  She loves this game!  Thank you, Sue.  You always make a difference in my week.
  • Dr. Bonnie Henry, Provincial Health Officer for British Columbia, informs calmly and clearly about COVID-19:   

This is not forever. This is just for now. Let’s all be kind, be calm, and stay safe.”

 

If This Is Wrong, I Don’t Want To Be Right

I feel pangs of guilt.  

Am I a terrible Mother and Grandmother?

Family Day

When our two daughters were very young, Sunday was always Family Day for us.  Nowadays, the kids call it Sunday/Fun Day.  Same day.  New name.

We carved out Sundays as a day we would spend together as a family.  We would go swimming, cross-country skiing, or hiking, depending on the season and the weather.

We would often take our girls on long Trail Hikes.  Nowadays, we call it Forest Bathing.  Same walk.  New name.

  • We would have fun, relaxed family time.
  • They would learn to appreciate nature.
  • We would all get some exercise and fresh air.
  • The goal was simply to be together.

 

Hiking With Very Young Children

It all sounds like a great idea.

For the first fifteen minutes.

How do you keep young children walking on a long hike, having fun, with minimal complaining?

My husband and I can only carry a thirty to fifty pound child for a short period of time.  We want to tire them out, not tire us out.

One Sunday, a spur of the moment decision resulted in the

               Birth Of A New Adventure! 

We Will Search For Licorice Trees 

Thirty-five years ago I packed some licorice candy strings along with healthy snacks in my knapsack for one of our hikes.

I began to discretely hang licorice strings further ahead on our path.  I did have an accomplice to distract the girls and keep an eye on them.  My complicit husband.

Finding the licorice trees did energize the girls and now they were running along the path.  They would squeal with delight when they found licorice strings hanging on a tree branch. 

              Long hikes became a lot more fun for the entire family.

 

Fast Forward Three Decades

My two daughters were recently reminiscing about our Sunday adventures when they were young girls.  They began giggling about the licorice trees.

I found out they believed for many years afterwards, licorice strings grew on trees.

A fleeting pang of guilt.  Am I a terrible Mother?

 

Last Sunday, A Funday

My husband and I took our two granddaughters for a hike last Sunday to a pretty area called the Kinsol Trestle.

I told four-year-old, Abby, and six-year-old, Sadie, to keep a lookout for licorice trees and licorice strings. 

They both gave me a puzzled, curious look. 

Sadie brought up a good point.  They had no idea what to look for?

Until they came across rainbow-coloured licorice strings hanging over a tree branch.

 

The Rest Of The Afternoon

Sadie and Abby searched high and low for this rare treasure growing in the forest.  For the rest of the afternoon there was no stopping the two of them.

We finally had to insist we turn around and head back to our vehicle.

Promises were made to return in the Spring to continue looking for this tasty treat. 

Our granddaughters did not question the existence of licorice trees.  They looked up at me with trusting eyes.

Is this wrong?  Have I gone too far?

A fleeting pang of guilt.  Am I a terrible Grandmother?

 

Perpetuating The Myths

Licorice trees belong in the category of the Tooth Fairy, The Easter Bunny and Santa Claus.  Fictitious, imaginary characters and fantasy brought to life by adults. 

I do have fleeting pangs of guilt when I bring these stories alive.

I also hear the squeals of laughter as Sadie and Abby run along the trail.  I see the joy and delight in their eyes when they find the licorice strings.    

My husband and I share a secret, knowing smile.  A moment in life where we are in this together.

                  Sharing memories.  Creating memories.

At The End Of The Day

We return Sadie and Abby to their parents late Sunday afternoon. 

They were bubbling over with excitement sharing the adventures of their day.  They also shared their bag of licorice strings with their Mom and Dad.

As we were leaving, Sadie yells out, “The Best Day Ever!”

                              

If This Is Wrong, I Don’t Want To Be Right 

Sadie and Abby will eventually find out the truth about the licorice trees.  I suspect they will giggle when they reminisce about their Sunday/Funday adventures.  

Three decades from now they may take their own children on a forest hike looking for licorice strings.  They may want to share the joy and delight of a new adventure.

They may want to spend a fun, relaxed Sunday, simply spending time together.

                              “The Best Day Ever!”

 

 

Have you played games to make long hikes fun for children?

Did you believe in imaginary characters when you were a child?

 

Postscript: 

About the Kinsol Trestle:  The Kinsol Trestle is also known as the Koksilah River Trestle.  It is one of the highest wooden railway trestles in the world. It provides a spectacular crossing of the Koksilah River. (Weblink)

Your visit:  If you come onto The Island  Vancouver Island Link   and visit the Kinsol Trestle, be on the lookout for licorice trees.  Please keep the rainbow-coloured licorice strings our little secret. These trees are very rare and we hope to find some licorice strings in the Spring on our next Trail Hike. 

Warning:  We make sure the girls do not touch anything or put anything in their mouths they find in the forest unless their parents or grandparents have given their approval.  They have received strict warnings in the past to not touch any mushrooms.  We do have poisonous mushrooms on The Island.

Do You Have Different Friends For Different Seasons?

 

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Holland Creek Trail, Ladysmith, British Columbia

 

What happens when The Widow Badass, Retirement Reflections and Behind the Scenery meet up?

You guessed it!  A whole lot of shenanigans!

I am sharing your word, Joanne .  Thank you for sharing your friend.

 

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Two Beautiful Ladies on a carpet of leaves

We Have Three Types Of Friends In Life

  • Friends for a Reason. 

  • Friends for a Season.

  • And Friends for a Lifetime.

 

 

The Reason

Deb  The Widow Badass Blog  was visiting The Island.  Donna Retirement Reflections Blog  plus Deb and I met at “The Old Town Bakery” in Ladysmith thanks to Donna’s recommendation.

I know only a few things about Ladysmith.

  • Pamela Anderson was born and raised here.
  • The Christmas Festival of Lights is a huge event.  
  • It is worth stopping at The Old Town Bakery, voted as having “The best cinnamon buns on the island.” 

The constant flow of people coming in and out of this bakery and my taste buds agree with all of the praise. 

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The Season

Autumn.

A beautiful, peaceful time of year with changing colours and cooler temperatures.

Perfect for going on a hike and exploring The Holland Creek Trail in Ladysmith.  Another great recommendation from Donna.  Donna shares more detailed information and beautiful photos here

 

 

 

 

 

Perfect for spending time with these two amazing women. 

That evening, at home, my husband asked me about my day and my new friends.

 Searching for words, I told him,  “Donna and Deb are More.”

            “They are More interesting, More witty, More kind and caring, and More beautiful inside and out than you may imagine reading their blogs.  We had a lot of fun!”

 

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Walking into a Fairy Tale

Friends For A Lifetime

Most of us have made more than one Friend in our lifetime:

  • The going to the movies Friend.
  • The work Friend.
  • The foodie Friend.
  • The fearless adventurer Friend.
  • The pour your heart out and share your soul Friend.  
  • The very wise Friend.
  • And more recently, the Blogging Friend.

 

If we are fortunate, we will have Friends for a Lifetime.  Priceless.

 

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The Salmon Whisperer
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Pretty in the Rain

The Autumn of my life

I am truly grateful for all of my Friends.  

You have enriched my life beyond measure.

I cherish our precious time together.  An irreplaceable gift.

We share hobbies.  We share stories.  We share a part of ourselves.

                  

                      Our life becomes More.   We become More.

 

Do you have long term friends?  Have you recently made new friends? 

 

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Obligatory Selfie of three goofy (oops, intelligent) women

Roughing it! Why Leave The Comforts Of Home?

Why Go Camping?

 

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  • Is it the Forest Bathing?  Do the trees emit oils that replenish my body?
  • Is it the Ions near the ocean?  I feel more in balance when I am near water. 
  • Is it the Silence in the presence of nature.  My breathing slows down.  I have a sense of peace and belonging.

 

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Getting There

 We are all packed and excited to get on our way.  We are heading to Long Beach on the West Coast of Vancouver Island.   

This campground is fully booked almost a year in advance.  The sites are a hot commodity, almost as difficult to obtain as tickets to U2, Pink, and Justin Bieber.

It takes us approximately six hours to drive to the West Coast.  No ferry travel, which is a bonus.  We travel through lush forests and beside beautiful lakes.  10 Reasons Why You Should Not Live On The Island

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We Bring The Basics

  • Eight foot camper.  Easier than a tent.
  • Tarps.  Tarps.  And more Tarps.  My husband is the Griswold of camping.
  • Layers of clothing.  It is Fall weather with a combination of sun and rain.
  • Camping food.  Everything tastes better outdoors.
  • Many books downloaded on an ereader plus hard copy books.
  • A good, flexible attitude.  Nature and camping can be unpredictable.

 

We Bring Extras

  • Fondue Pot.  A real treat and a tradition for the two of us.
  • Blueberry tea ingredients.  A classic recipe resurfaced from 1970’s camping.  A combination of amaretto liqueur, orange liqueur, hot Earl Grey tea or Orange Pekoe tea.
  • Propane campfire.  Campfire bans are often in effect.
  • More tarps.

 

8 Reasons I Love To Go Camping

1.  I spend uninterrupted time with my husband.  Our discussions contain topics we don’t delve into at home.  These topics often contain the truly important layers of our life. 

Our discussions often contain silence.

       “When you can sit in perfect silence with someone, you truly know how to

                          communicate.” Richard Wagamese

 

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2.  I go for long hikes. 

3.  I watch the sunset. 

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4.  I see the stars and the planets at night. 

5.  I take many photos giving me new perspectives on my surroundings.

 

 

6.  I can read all day and not feel guilty how I should be getting more accomplished at home. I indulged in many books this past week.  (see bottom of page)

 

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 7.  The Sound of the Ocean.  The Sounds of the Birds.

                             The Sounds of Silence. 

8.  Ocean and lakes as far as the eyes can see. Untouched old growth forests.  Open spaces.  

                It is in these Spaces where I feel most Whole. 

 

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Why Leave The Comforts Of Home?

Many great books are available on the Blue Zones and the concept of Health, Happiness and Living our Best Life.  One of the books I just finished reading is “The Blue Zones of Happiness” by Dan Buettner.  This book reinforces and  summarizes many of the concepts we have learned about enriching the quality of our life.  

Hundreds of factors affect our happiness. The research shows how 40% is what we can affect through our behaviour.  Most of us are familiar with:  exercise, eating healthy, meditation, declutter, minimalist lifestyle, surround ourselves with positive, supportive people, to name a few.

Buetnner’s book contains research from Sonja Lyubomirsky.  She wrote a popular book a few years ago “The How of Happiness.  She discusses,  

          “the challenge lies in sustaining the new level of happiness.”

Lyubomirsky cautions, 

“If you repeat the same happiness-boosting strategies too often, they begin to feel routine.  They lost their ability to lift your spirits.”

 

 

We need to vary our activities. This concept can apply to our nutrition and diet. It can also apply to exercise, stretching and maintaining a healthy body. 

Marty, from  Snakes in the Grass  shared in  The Core of it All   how his chiropractor advised him,  doing the same sequence of stretches will lose it’s benefit over time.  We need to mix it up.  Our body does not derive the same benefit from doing the same, routine activities over and over again.  

For me, camping falls into this category.  I benefit from a change in my surroundings, a change in my activities and a change of pace.

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My Life

I appreciate my day to day life and the comforts of my home.

 I also feel great when I have a change of scenery, I vary my routine and I go camping.

I gain perspective and I feel the harmony, balance, and beauty in nature. 

I rest, recharge and replenish my spirit in solitude.  I am better able to manage life’s challenges.

I am reminded how I am a part of the bigger picture.  I belong here.  I am timeless. 

                          I become my Authentic Self.

                         

 

What activities make you feel your best?  Do you vary your routine?  Have you gone camping?

 

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Blog sites:  Thought-provoking, informative articles on the vast subject of Happiness.  

Kathy:  Smart Living 365   Shares many great posts helping us Live our Best Life.

Nancy:  Defining Third Age  A series of posts sharing information from courses she has taken on the Science of Happiness.

Leanne:  Cresting the Hill    Many interesting articles on the health benefits of “calm” “peace” “serenity” “balance” in our lives.  This specific post discusses the concept of “Unbusy.”  Choosing to be Unbusy in Retirement

 

Books I read on my Fall Camping Trip: 

The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe” by C.S. Lewis.  I recently saw the “Magician’s Nephew” in Chemainus.  I was curious about the “Chronicles of Narnia” series. 

“The Book of Life” by Deborah Harkness.  Book three of “Old Souls Trilogy, A Discovery of Witches.” I read the first two books last Fall.

Embers” Richard Wagamese.  A book filled with rich, yet simple words containing a wealth of wisdom.  I LOVE this author.  This author was brought into my life by a lovely, smart, wise, intuitive, family member.  You know who you are.  Thank you for sharing your light.

The Blue Zones of Happiness” Dan Buettner 

A Mother for His Twins” by Jill Weatherholt.  I met Jill this past year following her blog site.  I was immediately pulled into this engaging story and I read the entire book in one evening. Suspense, characters you love, the concept of choices and forgiveness.  I did shed some tears at the end.  jillweatherholt.com 

 Better Blogging with Photography” by Terri Webster Schrandt.  An amazing photographer with a very interesting blog site.  Many gems in this book.  Second Wind Leisure Perspectives

“The Artist’s Way” by Julia Cameron

“Habits for Success” by Brian G. Benson

 

 

 

 

Have you heard about “The Little Town That Did?”

Do you ever read about a place that piques your interest and you hope to see it in person one day?

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My Photo Malahat Lookout(August, 2019)painnt app – Mercury

I used to read a little magazine called “Reader’s Digest” from cover to cover as a young girl.  After I moved away from home my Father bought me a subscription to this magazine.  “Reader’s Digest” was my pop culture, my humour, my miscellaneous trivia, and it contained an abundance of interesting, informative articles.

One of the articles in this magazine in the 1980’s was about a town that had recreated itself on Vancouver Island.  At that time we were living in Northern British Columbia. 

I always remembered this story and I was hoping to one day visit 

                  Chemainus, “The Little Town That Did.”

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Chemainus is in the District of North Cowichan, on the east coast of Vancouver Island. 

Lumber used to be the primary industry in this town. The lumber mill operated off and on for 120 years until the mill closed down in the early 1980’s.

As part of a revitalization project, local and international artists were commissioned to create 

                 Giant Murals on the downtown business walls showcasing the history and the culture of Chemainus. 

And like “The Little Engine That Could” written by Watty Piper, Chemainus became known as “The Little Town That Did.”

 

28 Years Ago

When we moved to “The Island” in 1991 we began exploring many areas near our home.   10 Reasons Why You Should Not Live On The Island   We camped in Strathcona Provincial Park and at Long Beach our first summer. 

We also drove to the picturesque town of Chemainus.  Many times.

We often had visitors and Chemainus did not disappoint.  It was the perfect place to explore on foot with family and friends of all ages.

 

Now, 28 years later

It occurred to me how I haven’t spent much time exploring Chemainus for many years. 

I go to Chemainus at least twice a year to see the live theatre shows with family and friends.  The performances are always excellent!  In the month of August we saw “The Magician’s Nephew” and “Mamma Mia.” 

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We drive directly to the theatre to watch the productions and then we drive home.

This year, we decided to spend the day in Chemainus.

                We decided to become a tourist again.

Chemainus has interesting galleries, boutiques, coffee shops, restaurants,  ice cream parlours and  

                 Forty-plus World Famous Giant Murals.

     

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10 Takeaways When Planning a Visit to Chemainus

1.  Leave early.

2.  Bring a camera and good walking shoes.

3.  Stop at scenic lookouts on the drive through the mountain pass called the Malahat.

 

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4.  Plan on visiting a show at the unique, intimate Chemainus Theatre.  Book early!  The shows are usually sold out well in advance.

5.  Walk into a delightful candy store.  It is a fun, colourful and sweet place to visit.  You will learn how many of the decorations and trim were hand painted.  

 

6.  Make sure to leave room for an ice cream cone.  The girls had strawberry cheesecake and cotton candy flavours.  I had a double which included three flavours.  Mine was blackberry, peanut butter chocolate and green tea (don’t judge me…….I love ice cream!)

 

7.  Enjoy the visit with children and adults young at heart.

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Sadie having fun with “Old-Timers on a Bench” (painnt app)

8.  Visit Chemainus with a dear friend.  The extra hours together, priceless!

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A dear friend of mine for over 50 years

9.  Plan to spend time strolling along the streets looking at the murals and learning about the history of Chemainus.  Pictures do not do the murals justice.   Enjoy the extensive artwork and read the stories describing the murals.

Chemainus is now a world famous tourist destination showcasing forty-plus giant murals with new murals being added.  An Outdoor Art Gallery. 

 

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10.  Drumroll please:

              Become a tourist again.   I am glad I did!

 

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Sources:

I had fun playing with painnt app (free) on a few photos.  A fun suggestion from Terri Webster Schrandt who is an amazing photographer with a very interesting blog site   Second Wind Leisure Perspectives 

Further information on Chemainus:  Chemainus     Mural Town    Weekly Wanders

North Cowichan

 

 

 

10 Reasons Why You Should NOT Live On “The Island”

 

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Botanical Beach

1.  You will waste your precious time spending hours walking on beaches and checking out tidal pools.

 

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Botanical Beach

2.  You will have to put up with fresh, clean air and a constant breeze.

3.  People are very neighbourly and approachable here.  Expect a friendly wave with the obligatory friendly wave in return. You will have to constantly say “hi,” a tiresome custom.

4.  You will have to tolerate views of lakes and the ocean as far as the eye can see.    

 

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Cowichan Lake – photo credit Alisha (my daughter)

 

5.  Camping outdoors on “The Island” will mean almost no bugs.  You will not have the pleasure of swatting, swelling, investing in bug repellent and Afterbite.

 

 

 

 

6.  You will have to get accustomed to the colour green.  Moss, ferns and diverse, spectacular trees are found in our forests.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

7.  You will take too many photos and have the challenge of selecting only a few favourite ones.  One of the pictures below is an often photographed little bonsai conifer growing out of an old mossy stump.

This Fairy Lake tree became famous when Adam Gibb’s photo was selected as one of the 100 winning images from 48,000 global submissions for Wildlife Photographer of the Year 2012.  Adam Gibb’s photo     

        

 

 

 

8.  Hiking with friends will consume a great deal of your time.  You will never run out of places to explore.  Decisions.  Decisions.  

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9.  You will want to avoid the Malahat at the end of a long weekend in the Summer.  Taking the  Pacific Marine Circle Route   home will add stress to your day.

You will have to drive an extra hour through a beautiful rain forest, gaze at stunning scenery and endure minimal traffic. 

The extra one hour drive may turn into four hours because you will want to stop and explore the beautiful sites along this route. You may possibly include a leisurely lunch in the picturesque town of Port Renfrew.  

An entirely wasted day! (in Paradise)

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10.  And most importantly, why you should NOT live on “The Island?” 

                                       Will you be able to keep “Vancouver Island” our little secret?

                                               I think not.  Especially when you call it “home.”

 

Dedicated to:  All the visitors that come to “The Island” each year.  The people that make “The Island” their home.  And to Deb,  Widow Badass Blog  who has discovered  our little secret.”