This morning I wandered at Buntzen Lake. I had not been there all winter as it’s a higher elevation and gets more snow. Actually, while I was wandering, the sun peaked out, and later hail came down in small white chunks. The main trail around the lake beside the dog beach is closed for repairs, but other trails are open. Not much of spring is showing yet; a few leaf buds on bushes, but things are slow this year and it’s been a long cold winter here on the coast. When we first moved here from Ontario, we camped beside this lake. It’s a treasure. It’s where Hollystone Coven perform their ceremonies. Here’s an excerpt from To Charm a Killer where Estrada and Sensara arrive for their Mabon ceremony:
Mesmerized by the forest, for a while he walked in silence. There was no death in this Pacific woodland; only transformation as the dying nourished the living. Miniature ferns sprouted from crooks and hollows of disjointed upper limbs. Mushroom colonies hovered in crevasses; thin stalks twisting like snakes as they competed for space, their rusty caps perfect circles.
Cocking his head like a raven, he flung back the long dark locks that tumbled across his eyes. “I love these shaggy tree folks.” He touched the soft hairy mosses that draped in fractured folds from the decaying tree limbs. Hearing no objection, he rambled on. “This forest could be Fanghorn. Maybe we could conjure up our own Treebeard. Befriend an Ent. Can you imagine all these trees ripping up their roots and marching off like Birnam Wood to Dunsinane, only true Canadian pines, rustling and dragging their—”
Sensara gasped and hugged her chest.
“What?” he whispered.
“Shiver? That’s three. What is it?”
“I don’t know, but I feel sick. Something’s wrong.”
Grounding himself, he shot imaginary roots from the soles of his feet deep into the earth’s crust. If there was one thing he trusted, it was Sensara’s radar. “We’re almost there. Come on. We’ll cast the circle.”
At the signal tree, they veered off a grass-flecked game trail between massive ferns. Buntzen Lake simmered below, a smoky emerald in the growing dusk. Ancient granite mountains encircled the water; their snow-tipped spires still harbouring scattered traces of last winter’s storms. Pine spikes jutted like slivers from the distant peaks, split only by immense mottled rock that gaped through the trees—faces of mountain spirits and Old World giants.
When she shivered again, the energy shot through the air and up his arm like a jolt of lightning. “Jesus. I felt that.”
“Something’s coming, Estrada. I don’t know what it is or how to stop it—but unless we do, people will die.”