Annerose: How do you experience differently the coastal island forest and the forest of your childhood, the central interior forest?
Terrill: The most profound difference is that along the west coast, except for brief periods of the year, there are very few mosquitoes. The ones we do have ask permission before they bite and they don’t come dive bombing in from several miles away. When I moved here, it was a little unnerving not to have that steady hum in the woods from early spring to late summer. Quickly though, I adjusted to the sounds of waves and winds instead. We do get the occasional snowfall but not often and it doesn’t last long. The other significant difference on Mayne Island is we have no large wild animals. There might be an occasional time where a cougar or elk will have swam over from another island but they tend to just keep going. There are no bear or moose and the deer are extremely use to people and will become lawn ornaments if you allow them. We do have lots of eagles, otter, mink, seals, sea lions, hawks, turkey vultures and shore birds. There are a few grouse and lots of flickers, robins and forest birds. The trees are often bigger and the vegetation is different. This, along with the sea, means everything smells different than near my childhood home outside of Vanderhoof. The winds bend the trees as they grow and tops are frequently broken off in winter storms. The temperature is mostly mild and neither too hot nor too cold. Winter rains usually keep us truly identified as a northern rain forest. Six weeks of heavy grey sky and a kind of damp that makes your bones ache is not uncommon during the shorter days in a year. There are seldom any of those sparking blue on white winter days in February of the central interior that give rise to cross country skiing and strapping on snowshoes. This I miss along with the autumn colours of the poplars and cottonwood trees. The mosquitoes and -40 degrees not so much.