In a quick squint at the sky with his seaman’s eye, Ian Bryce knows what tomorrow’s weather will bring, and how it will affect conditions on the Georgia Strait.
The clouds scud by, separated by brief sunny patches. It is damp today on Vancouver Island, but it has been a dry winter. Like California far to the south, the Island will suffer a parched and dangerous summer if the winter rains don’t soon begin their customary annual drenching.
Bryce is a man whose familiarity with the physical world’s rhythms borders on the mystical; you can practically set your watch by his inner almanac. With a calm philosophical detachment, never alarmed over current conditions (weather or otherwise), he always has the imagination to step back and see his surroundings from a more distant, historical perspective, intuitively sensing the superimposition of nature’s multiple resonant rhythms, its counterpoints, its peaks and troughs. Science, myth, folklore, tradition, tried & true rules of thumb and a finely honed Spidey-Sense all combine to output freakishly accurate prognostications. This man knows his environment.
To see his home and watch him conduct a ‘day-in-the-life’, you’d quickly conclude he’s a fisherman and farmer. The lovely Vancouver Island farm spreading-out below his front window, facing the sea and beautiful Mt. Arrowsmith, is filled with boats, trucks, tractors, and of course flora & fauna — both practical and experimental.
But look deeper and you’ll see a husband & father, well traveled, highly educated, sometimes even bookish, capable of the most nuanced appreciation and observation of art, philosophy, history, literature and law; but he is outdoorsy and hardy by natural inclination and choice. He is the one man around these parts who can expound in depth on the works of Shakespeare while deftly welding a tractor hitch.
Ian Bryce has the mind and demeanour of a professor but the self-reliance & skills of a Coureur de Bois. He is our Island’s modern version of a Renaissance Man.
So, when the Great Asteroid of the dystopian future collides with Earth, plunging civilization back to the Stone Age, you want him as your neighbour…