Shingle Spit

Looking down on Shingle Spit in Lambert Channel (photo by John McLachlan)
Looking down on Shingle Spit in Lambert Channel (photo by John McLachlan)

From the album Call It Home (2016)

Shingle is the word used for small rocks and a spit, is a point of land jutting out into a body of water, in this case, Lambert Channel. Depending on the wind and storms each year, the tip of the spit shifts north or south. The song is a history of Shingle Spit from the s.pit’s perspective, and speaks of what and who it’s seen over the last 10,000 years since the last ice age passed on.

The Spit is believed to have been the summer home for some of the K’ómoks First Nation over a period of about a thousand years. Around the turn of the 20th century, others arrived and began homesteading. By the 1950s, cabins were built on Shingle Spit, and people started vacationing there.

John and Robert McLachlan standing on Shingle Spit in 1963 (photo by George McLachlan)
John and Robert McLachlan standing on Shingle Spit in 1963 (photo by George McLachlan)

I first visited Shingle Spit in 1962 where my family rented a cabin for a couple of weeks. This happened until 1965 when we built our own summer cabin just near the Spit.

I created a very quick Adobe Voice video with some more images of the Spit and a bit of its story

The song is the birth, life and death of a geographical feature of Hornby Island.

Shingle Spit

I am the Spit, the shingle and the shore
I’ve been here a while, I’ll be here some more
Ten thousand years since I heard the roar
The ice left me on the oceans floor

Wind and rain, storms on the run
Waves and currents, centuries of sun
Back and forth, since it’s begun
I’ve been swaying through time and it’s never done

You are like shingle, you shift and you flow
You think life is solid, how little you know
This way and that way, the wind it will blow
But time rules your life and you go when you go

Out of the dawn they came one day
Paddles in the water, they landed in the spray
Fires in the night, they were here to stay
Making love in the darkness where they lay

A thousand years, the time it did fly
Then one day they were gone, I don’t know why
Bodies and bones of those who had died
Left in my ground to the raven’s cry

CHORUS

Big shiny boats blowing smoke in the wind
Let people off who had white coloured skin
Grass-roofed houses and boats made of tin
They stayed here for summers to fish and to swim

Well the years have rolled by and not much looks new
My shingle is wet in the cool morning dew
But something is changing and here is the clue
The water is warming but there’s nothing I can do

CHORUS

Now, who knows just where I will be
When the waters rise and cover me
No longer will I wave like a finger in the sea
I’ll be drowned in the mists of history

© John McLachlan (SOCAN)

Very stormy day on the Spit (photo by John McLachlan)
Very stormy day on the Spit (photo by John McLachlan)