This is not only the last wallpaper image of the season, but the 100th that I’ve shared since I began putting numbers on them in my file. I think there were perhaps a dozen or so earlier ones that now have been lost to the mists of time. Because it seems a significant number, I thought I would share a significant image.
It’s significant to me because it’s the center of Lyne’s and my universe - Raleigh Island. You can see very clearly why it was also significant to all the books, because without it, I never would have been able to keep my plane safely on the River. At that point in time, my business was the distribution of Challenger aircraft in Canada, so if I couldn’t safely keep the plane at the island, I’d never have come here.
Raleigh (also known as Spong) is the only island (of the 1864) with a perfectly protected natural harbor with a gentle sloping ramp at the end that allowed me tie the plane down on terra firm in the lee of the little cottage. It was the first time in a century that it had been offered for sale and I became the luckiest person alive when the planets aligned. I still am.
Beyond allowing me to keep my plane here, it unexpectedly resulted in a career change. In an attempt to show unknowing friends at home how amazing the River is, I eventually realized I had the images to showcase it to a wider audience through my first book. That quest to (as my old friend Paul Malo would say) “build a greater appreciation for the place,” seemed more important than selling airplanes.
The River truly was life-changing for me and it is entirely because of this island, “One in a Thousand,” the title of the interactive iPad book that I wrote with Donna Walsh Inglehart that shares the story of my crazy adventures here.
It was also life changing for Victor & Maria Prus. Victor was a decorated Polish pilot in the RAF while Maria spent those years in a Nazi concentration camp for her activities in the underground. When they first arrived in Canada, they rented and lived on the island until eventually being able to purchase it.
When I met them, Victor quietly shared with me a memory; "After work each day, we would row out to the island. Maria would light the woodstove while I went fishing. We couldn't afford the grocery store." Raleigh served as their treasured refuge and healing place, peaceful, private and beautiful, until they passed the torch as its steward along to me. Victor passed away in January in his 100th year.
If the River means a lot to you, please share your thoughts below. We'll pick these wallpapers up again in the fall.
P.S. I’ll again take the liberty of mentioning that we have a home available as a vacation rental, on the River.