ode to a stop light

i love the shawnigan lake village.


not a great pic but one of the few i found online.

growing up here, the village has always felt quaint, warm, welcoming. almost all of the businesses there have been so perfectly small town (except for, most notably, the subway sandwich place which i wish would magically disappear). i love the worn old sidewalks, the old post office, the homes on the main roads, the old church, elsie miles school, the forest by the school, the weird ‘centennial slab’…but my fave part is the single flashing red light at the intersection of shawnigan lake road and shawnigan-mill bay road.

it’s the only traffic light in shawnigan, of course. it flashes 24-7, and i’ve been watching it do so for over 30 years now. that’s comforting. when i come to that 4-way stop, when i arrive in the heart of shawnigan, that thing is always there, doing the same thing it’s always done. what a trooper.

but it’s not just that. it’s not just that it’s so steady and reliable. there’s also something warm and cozy about it, like christmas lights in the dark of a winter night. and it doesn’t matter what season it is, i love coming into the shawnigan village in the middle of the night and seeing it illuminate the intersection. it could be a warm summer night with an air of youthful excitement and endless possibilities, or a night of pissing rain with howling winds blowing the light back and forth. it could be a chilly fall night with crinkling brown and orange leaves all over the ground, or a bitterly cold winter night with the snow on the ground reflecting the flashing red glow. it doesn’t matter. all of those examples, and everything in between, are equally wonderful to me.


there it is on oct. 31, 2016. jenn took this pic for me.

what i mean is that i feel like there’s never a bad time to see that damn light. it always makes me feel like i’m home, back where i belong. when i see it, it’s like i’m walking by a stoic royal guard that i see every day who never makes eye contact or acknowledges me, but we both know we’re always glad to see each other again, like there’s a mute love and respect that we share.

i sound like an addict, or at least a weirdo homebody loser who attends every lame class at the local community center, but i swear i’m not. i just love my hometown and wanted to write about this particular detail that consistently warms my heart.

so there it is. here’s to shawnigan, and here’s to its lone sentinel, flashing away reliably as i write this.

i hope i die here. maybe i’ll get someone to cremate me and secretly dump my ashes in the village intersection one night, under the red glow of this town’s lone traffic light. i’d like that.


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