I think i knew myself better when i was six. Life was all about the experience. I had no concept of mine or anyone else body. I had few true possessions and what I did have had no actual monetary value. Life was purely what it was moment to moment and it was great. I was still quite young when my father left the fishing industry. He stopped fishing full time when I was ten and sold the boat when i was fourteen of so. And yet even though I spent so little time fishing and actually living that life it is forever engrained in me. It has created a passion that i can barely put to words. It is through this project that i hope to be able to express this passion and capture something that is a part of my soul. My soul is 20 km wide and 1000 km long.
I was flipping through one of my grandmothers photo albums the other day and i came across a photo of Butedale. The photo really wasn't that old. I would peg is around late 1980's. I mean that's old in my lifetime but not in hers. My grandmother is chief shutter bug in our family and she is an absolute story teller through and through. So its really no wonder that she has spawned four story telling/picture taking grandchildren. Anyways it was really heartwarming to come across this photo she had taken a few years back, a place where I just was taking the very same photo. Only in my grandmothers photo, which was at the most 20 years old, Butedale still looked like a quaint coastal village. The roofs were all still intact and there were more buildings still standing and the sun was shinning over this quaint little town. It absolutely amazing how fast things change. Butedale is such a symbol of life. How easily such things are forgotten, left in the past to literally rot. Things that helped build our lives as we know them today.
I guess I've just never really been a person to want to bound forward into the future without pausing to remember and pay homage to the past. My grandmother included. I am a product of her incessant (and yes i do mean incessant story telling and snapshot taking) she instilled in me the importance of recording and remembering and passing on stories that matter to her and inevitably now matter to me. I can finish most of her story telling sentences because i have heard those stories time and time again. But for me that's what this is all about.
Butedale was a scary looking place when we went there this summer. The roofs are all collapsed and the walls are crashing down. If i could put a soundtrack to way it looked, it would be a loud one. And yet for one man this is home. The caretakers name is Lou. He is originally from Quebec but has obviously been West a long time. He is not what most people would consider a friendly guy but he had a warm heart which given the opportunity would shine through brightly. He has an orange cat, named Tiger, and a big old dog and a twelve year old boy who he had taken on for the summer. Lou seemed the type to scare people off more than welcome them in but it was all for show. He was crusty on the outside and squishy on the inside. He had been living at Butedale for 4 or 5 years. Other than the cat, dog and the boy who was there for the summer, Lou lives in this cannery village alone. It was originally built to house a couple hundred people maybe more since half the buildings were gone.
Butedale oozes a strange energy. The buildings would scream if they could. Strange noises, cracks and creeks are almost constant. The Rumble of the water from the nearby falls. In fact the whole mountain side the village is built on is constantly dripping. Little streams and rivers ran in, out and under all the buildings and boardwalks. It feels as thought the water is pushing the whole place down and it is. Trickling, drips, creaks and splashes.
I could still close my eyes and imagine my great grandfather here so many years before. He was the manager i believe and so he would have been a very powerful man at Butedale. Seems kind of strange to have any kind of power over a place like that. A place that seems completely under the control of the water that surrounds and flows beneath it. At one time this was bustling center of the fishing industry. The energy of that center is still very much there.