If I listen hard enough to the basement of my eyes, I can hear the tinny crash and rattle of collapsing rods and cones. Things are breaking down.
This is my last Sunshine Sketches column for my beloved Coast Reporter.
I need to thank my readers, who have kept me supplied with the tips and stories that have filled this space for so long. I am especially grateful to the old-timers, many of whom have now passed on, for sharing their memories of the early days on the Coast with me and pointing out interesting places to draw. Friends have asked me why I amending this series. It's largely because of health set-backs which have made fine detail ink drawings and research very difficult.
But it's also because I think I have nothing left to say. What could be worse than a writer who doesn't know when to quit? I have published over 200 columns and the three-volume Sunshine Sketches. I've drawn and told yarns about places and people from Port Mellon to Egmont. That's enough, I think.
Most significantly, though, the Sunshine Coast that I have faithfully chronicled over the years is disappearing before my eyes. I haven't the heart to write about events like the growth of gated communities, logging in the Chapman Creek watershed, the loss of the Wakefield Inn and the destruction of the Davis Bay trees. I grieve to see friends who must give up their homes because they can't pay the taxes.
It hurts to see one's beloved rural lifestyle morph into a mini-city of condos and beach communities.
I don't want to write about it any more.
It has been a splendid ride over the past decade, but everything ends.
A special note of thanks to my esteemed editor, Ian Jacques, who has been so courteous and helpful, and his predecessors Neville Judd and Jane Seyd. Some writers see editors as their natural enemies, but my editors have been gifts from God. Bless you, and thanks.
So, faithful readers, thanks for everything. I have a space at the Sechelt Farmers Market on Saturday mornings where I display my books and art, and I'd be thrilled if you dropped by and told me that my column had in some way enriched your life.
The three volumes in Terry Barker's Sunshine Sketches are available in many Coast stores. You can view some of his mood photos of Coast scenes at Pearl's Bakery in Sechelt or the Beach Buoy in Davis Bay, or meet him any Saturday morning at the Sechelt Farmers and Artisans Market. You can reach him at 604-885-0278 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.