A few weeks ago, we were quietly strolling along the water’s edge next to the sea wall with our old Ben on his leash, when a woman stopped us. She asked if we realized that we were breaking the law. “It’s March 1,” she said. “No dogs allowed on the beach!”
“Oh, dear,” we replied, “we must have forgotten to wind our calendar.”
And, indeed we had.
For, here it was again, March Madness or what the locals call, the annual Brant Wildlife Festival. As the story goes, the area is apparently a favourite stopover for migrating Brant geese … sort of like an A&W would be to us on our way to Kelowna. And, one day about 10 years ago, some dogs happened to run along the beach and bark at a flock of these wayfaring birds. Immediately, the chief bird counter sounded the alarm. He reported it to the chief bird conservation officer who immediately alerted the mayor.
They held a meeting and a law was passed: In order to maybe prevent the probable wholesale stampeding of thousands of Brant geese, possibly sending them careening off their migration path to likely starve to death in some miserable god-forsaken swamp, it was made known that henceforth no dog, leashed or unleashed, would be permitted on the beach from March 1 through April 30, ad infinitum.
So, here we are, 10 years later, banished to the noisy asphalt once again for two glorious spring months.
We watch kids running along the beach, screeching at that eardrum-piercing decibel that only they can attain, as an older group nearby tries to hurl a stump the size of a Smart car into the water.
Further along, a bunch of leather-clad bikers partake in a raucous stone-skipping contest.
We watch a photographer clapping her hands and shouting to make a flock of scoters take flight for a spontaneous action shot. A Zodiac roars by.
One day, we could actually make out, if we squinted real hard, a thin black line half way between the shore and Hornby Island which someone with a strong pair of binoculars assured us were Brant geese!
Well, they can call us selfish, redneck, Brant-busting louts, but, for us, the sanity of May can’t come too soon.
Fern and Laurence Wayman