Quiet, peaceful countryside. Folks wave to one another as they pass on the road, the one road which leads in and out of this community. It is about 11 kilometers long, paved and winds gently downhill, over a set of train tracks until it ends in someones yard. Beyond that is the Fraser River which travels in a semi-circle around the farms and acreages near the end of the road. I live in that semi-circle.
My neighbors to the west are an older Jehovah’s Witness couple who have been raising two of their grandchildren. On the east is a mystery. It is a 5 acre property that was once inhabited by an older couple, retired from sod farming. There is a modest, but well kept house and a large shop, fully insulated and wired. Several groups of people come and go from this place whose gate is always locked. They stay anywhere from 15 minutes to 2 hours before leaving the gate carefully locked once again. There is a pattern to their visits. The shiny black truck comes each day around noon for 1/2 an hour. Every second week a couple in their 50’s, wearing dark glasses and driving an old, noisy car come and mow the lawn. About every 30 to 40 days, a brown pickup truck sporting a canopy, all with tinted dark windows brings its drivers out. The rough looking couple (in dark glasses day or night) will arrive for 3 or 4 days, back up to the shop and load mystery items into the truck for 2 hours. Some months they have help. A woman in her 40’s, wearing the required dark glasses and driving a blue mini-van (again, tinted windows), comes out and helps. Once the bustle settles down, the black truck is seen each day again. None of the occupants acknowledge me if I wave or look into their faces as they occasionally pass me on the road.
When the place sold several years ago, I had such high hopes for friendship. But the place lays quiet most days, its curtained windows and gates sternly closed to the activies within.