single lantern on Schooner Cove trail

Yesterday it rained. When we woke, we watched surfers wait for the perfect wave in torrential rain. And then we drove to a favourite trail, the one to Schooner Cove. There was a single lantern of skunk cabbage, its leaves eaten to the quick by a bear.

skunk cabbage

Sometimes I think it’s hard to find the truly wild places on this earth. The ones we haven’t damaged. Looking out at Schooner Cove or here at Cox Bay or at Florencia Bay where I camped as a 19 year old, I know there’s plastic in the ocean between us and Japan, there’s contaminated flotsam from Fukashima, the detritus of populations who’ve taken this earth for granted. Were we always this way? So the heart is compromised, even in the beloved places.

At the foot of the Schooner Cove trail, long canes of rose off in the huckleberry. Not a native rose, not Nootka or bald-hipped, but something with curved thorns. Seeded by birds? Planted decades ago by one of the free spirits living at the high tide line in a driftwood shelter?

We ate a delicious lunch at Wolf in the Fog and came back to think our respective thoughts, make notes in our books, dry our jeans by the fire. And later, slept to the boom of the surf. What does it say to us? What it’s always said, its own music. I think of John Luther Adams’s extraordinary “Become Ocean“, and his words: “Life on this earth first emerged from the sea. As the polar ice melts and sea level rises, we humans find ourselves facing the prospect that once again we may quite literally become ocean.”

a perfect day

A walk at Schooner Cove this morning, where the ghost of the girl I was shadowed me on the beach —


— followed by lunch at Shelter in Tofino (mussels in Thai coconut broth; fish tacos), and then Long Beach where some swam (not me), and where this shell presented itself:

P1100534Sometimes we can go back. Sometimes a place holds what we loved so beautifully that we feel our hearts ache a little for the past but we know that the hours can be perfect all the same. We can listen to Joni Mitchell’s Blue while Sahand cooks Khoresht gheymeh (lamb stew with lentils and the most delicious smelling potatoes and eggplants alongside) and the view is soft, crows in the trees bickering, and everything is now.