We Are Home.

We drove east from Hope, BC in pouring rain that turned to slush, to snow, to rain and back to snow.

On the ferry from Vancouver Island

It was a slower than normal drive to accommodate the conditions. I am grateful, my beloved factored in both the weather and my nervousness of driving in such unfavourable conditions.

I’m also grateful we did decide to finish our journey yesterday as the Hwy has been closed in both directions between Revelstoke and Golden since yesterday afternoon.

Stopped on the Highway outside Golden

We just slipped through.

The generosity of strangers.

About 20 kms west of Golden traffic stopped. A long line of cars serpentined along the road in front of us and quickly, the line grew behind us.

Traffic stopped

I took to Twitter and sure enough, DriveBC quickly answered my Twitter query — “Does anyone know what’s going on?”

There was a serious incident on the highway blocking lanes going in both directions. No information yet on when the highway would be open as it had occurred not long before we were stopped. No detour available.

It was a waiting game.

Until about an hour later when a young man hopped out of the U-haul in front of us, walked back to our vehicle and knocked on C.C.s window.

“There’s a detour road about 1km back,” he said. It will lead you to the outskirts of Golden.”

A pick-up had already turned around and was heading in the direction of the other route.

We turned around and followed him. As did other cars once the kind young man had passed on the information.

It was a backcountry road. The terrain was beautiful. Rolling hills with ranchhouses dotted amongst trees, lights glimmering in the fading light of day. The road was ploughed. Travel was easy.

About 20 minutes later we found ourselves at the edge of Golden. A stop to refuel, both vehicle and ourselves, and we decided to push through the 3 hours to home.

I’m grateful we did.

The road ahead

The Highway between Revelstoke and Golden remains shut down this morning due to avalanches. There’s a very heavy snowfall warning for the coastal highway leading into the interior today. Travel is ill-advised. And while there were travel warnings yesterday due to weather conditions, the roads weren’t slippery, just snowy at times and wet.

I am grateful.

Grateful for C.C.’s patient driving — both with the conditions and me as I tend to be a little tense (ok a lot) when semi’s roar past in a blur of flying snow and gravel, especially on curves!

I am saddened.

Our journey was punctuated by two serious incidents that took the lives of two people. One the day we left Tofino which closed the Hwy just east of Hope — we were stopping there for the night, and then the incident yesterday.

Lives forever gone. Families changed. Journies altered.

We drove home yesterday. Up and over the Coquihalla to the interior. Along the vast expanse of Lake Okanagan to the Rockies. We crossed over Roger’s Pass and then Kicking Horse further east. We drove down out of the mountains to the rolling foothills towards the city and home.

We carried with us our memories of our time by the sea. Our time playing with our grandson and visiting with our daughter and son-in-love.

It was a beautiful respite and a love-filled transition into the New Year.

And now we’re home.

This morning, I sit at my desk by the river, a candle burning, soft music playing in the background. Beaumont has had a brief morning walk and is once again asleep on the bed with C.C. I sip my tea and watch the traffic on the bridge travelling in the same direction we were yesterday.

In front of my window, ice islands stretch out from under the bridge and the river flows endlessly to a distant sea.

All is well with my world.

Farewell Fair Tofino

Amidst fears of war and revenge, of wildfires destroying homes and lives, of floods and storms washing away villages, drowning hope, I sit by the edge of the sea and seek the solace of the waves flowing in, flowing out. Flowing in. Flowing out.

To the west, the vastness of the ocean stretches away, touching land in far off China.

To the east, coastal forests climb up mountainsides creating an impenetrable barrier penetrated only by one long winding sliver of road giving access to the world beyond.

Troubles diminish here by the sea.  Death and bombs. Fire and floods. Anger. Revenge. They feel so foreign. So far away.

Me and My Shadow

We are leaving today. Travelling east. Travelling across land and water and land again to return to our home on the river.

For five days, Middle Beach Lodge has been our home away from home. Our solace. Our retreat.

It has been divine. Restful. Regenerative.

Perched upon the cliff, above Mackenzie Beach, the lodge offers an expansive view of the waves crashing against the rocks, the trees dancing in the wind and the ocean undulating out towards the horizon.

Low tide beauty

And more than anything, it creates a comforting and caring environment in which to savour the moment and all its beauty and possibilities.

Years ago, when my daughters were in junior high and high school, I would bring them here every Spring break for a week of fun in the sands, leaping across rock-strewn beaches and run along boardwalks through the rainforest.

It was a time of magic. A time of connectedness. Memory building. Joy.

While C.C. and I do not tend mores towards sauntering than leaping and running, it continues to be a time of magic. Connectedness and memory building.

My writing, reading spot.

This is the first time we have come here together without Beaumont our Sheepadoodle. And while, his antics are priceless as he races through the waves trying to catch seafoam and flotsam, we have treasured this time away without any responsibilities other than to be present to one another.

We start the journey home today. We take with us the peace and joy that has come with being in this place where land and sea unite in a beautiful dance of life come undone from the cares of the world.

See you on the other side of the Rockies.

Namaste.

 

Stormy Take Outs

It was a day of rest. A day to savour time by the fire. Chatting. Reading. Playing crib. (I won’t mention the fact C.C. skunked me! Cad! 🙂 ) And, a day to appreciate the power of nature and the benefits of electricity.

It was at 2pm the lights flickered and then went out. Completely. For almost 3 hours, a large swathe of Vancouver Island was without power. Storm. Power surges. Faulty lines. Not sure what the problem was but it was rather exciting for a while with just the fire and candles to add light in the storm.

Inside, at The Lodge at Middle Beach, we were warm and cozy. Outside the winds howled. The surf surged and trees danced in the storm.

By 5pm the power began to reappear. On. Off. Until after about 10 attempts, it stayed on.

I had taken a walk on the beach earlier. The wind blew fiercely. The waves roared and the tide crashed against the shoreline. Within fifteen minutes, the path I’d taken along the beach was awash and I had to find the high tide trail back. It was wild and beautiful and intoxicating.

When I returned, my pants were soaked but my upper body was dry as I had worn one of the bright yellow slickers the Lodge provides.

I felt exhilarated. Revived by the wind and sea and salt air.

This morning, the storm has died down. The skies are a misty grey, white flecks dotted with blue struggle to break through. Rain still falls. Soft and gentle, not the skin prickling sensations of yesterday.

The power is on.

We had a delicious dinner last night in The Great Room at Longbeach Lodge. Their generator had kept the kitchen running, albeit at limited capacity, throughout the afternoon and by 8pm when we arrived, everything was back on. We chatted and listened to the waves and savoured the delectable food and toasted our ‘togetherness’.

And my heart expanded, my breath deepened and my thinking mind drifted effortlessly into silence.

Inside me, I feel the ebb and flow of the waves pulling me into stillness. I feel myself slowing down, once again becoming attuned to my heartbeat, the blood flowing through my veins, the feeling of my bones grounded in space and time, connected to the ‘everythingness’ that is all around.

I breathe. In. Out.

I feel my breath move throughout my body. Energizing. Life-giving. Connected.

I feel my breath move down, down, down into my legs. Into my feet. Tingling against my soles. I feel it move through me into the ground beneath me. And I say a silent prayer of gratitude.

My body is present. I am aware. Alive. Awed.

Outside the wind continues to howl.

Inside, I am rested. Peaceful. Connected. Present.

Life is an adventure. Life is grand.

Tofino Solace

Wind blows. Waves crash. Trees bend.

Rain falls from grey sky melting into grey ocean. The horizon is a distant shrouded line drifting effortlessly into infinity.

The view from our room

I am in my happy place. At the edge of the rocks where land meets sea. Where seagulls swoop and the air is kissed by salt and sea.

This place of endless sky brings me home to where I find myself drifting effortlessly into restfulness, peace, tranquillity. In this place, I reflect and refresh. In this place, I settle in beside the fire and let my mind drift into the endless nothingness of being present, being at one with this moment in which I find myself drifting effortlessly into time present, past, future, to all that has brought me here to this moment right now where all of time is wrapped up in this moment, right now.

As the sounds of the bells ringing in the new year fade into the call of a new day unfolding, my heart skips a beat of recognition, of clarity, of excited anticipation. A calendar page turns and the story of my life shimmers with possibility on the spine of calendar days flowing, one into the next, in the story of my life unfolding.

The Lodge at Middle Beach

It was a year of great opportunity. Of growth. Of trial. Of struggle. Of possibility. Of excitement and stretching to find muscles I never new excited within me as I adapted and evolved, shifted and stretched my wings, my horizons, my possibilities. It was a year in which change beckoned and familiarity called me to hold on, to let go, to release and to let be.

It was a year to savour. To give thanks. To be grateful. To be content.

It was time past that was once each moment.

I sit by a roaring fire wrapped in gratitude and ease, the sound of the waves crashing on the rocks outside the windows find the rhythm of my heart and fill my soul with grace. Soft music plays. My beloved sits beside me reading.

I am at peace. I am at rest. I am here. Here I am.

Namaste.

Ring In The New Year!

The New Year has begun. Gratitude rises. Love expands.

After several delightful days in Vancouver with my daughter, son-in-love and grandson (he is AMAZING!), we arrived on Gabriola Island to spend New Years Eve with my sister and her husband. This morning, we are preparing to leave for Tofino. The forecast is rain (after my beloved finishes watching the Canada/Czech World Juniors Hockey Game that is! 🙂 ). My outlook is sunny.

Storms on the west coast. Moody. Dramatic. Captivating.

Walking the beach. Smelling the salt stung air. Hearing the waves crash.

My kind of magic.

Yesterday was a bright blue sky day. The sun danced on the ocean. The mountains glistened in the distance and my heart sang a song of joy.

My sister and I did the Gabriola Polar Bear Swim (it was my second, her third) — or as one woman at the beach called it — the Dunk and Dash.

Yup. That was me. I ran in. Dunked. Ran out.

It was worth it! To begin the year with a dip in the Pacific Ocean, chilly waters and all.

I am looking forward to Tofino. Looking forward to quiet time to reflect on the amazingness of the year past, to fill my memory bucket with gratitude for all that transpired, all I received, all I experienced. And, to open my heart to all that is possible in this year to come when I let go of worry and fear of what the future may hold and flow with grace into being present in this moment of Love unfolding.

It has been a grand end of a year and the beginning of the next.

It is a time to celebrate. To reflect. To give thanks and to share the Love that flows as effortlessly as the sea, in and out and all around.

Happy New Year to all!

 

Belonging around the table.

Heading west as the sun rises.

We were 21 adults gathered around the dining room table(s) this year for Christmas. At one moment, while standing on the kitchen side of the island, I looked out at the guests gathered in our home and my heart whispered with a contented sigh, “Yes. This is Christmas”.

Gathered around the table, we shared a meal, toasts, tales of Christmases past, of Christmases hoped for, remembered, cherished. We laughed at stories, new and old. It didn’t matter if we’d heard them before for it wasn’t the story that made our hearts warm with remembering, it was the storyteller.

And as in Christmases past, we went around the table and each person answered the question that was written in their name cards. “What is your favourite Christmas memory?”  “What are you most grateful for in 2019?”  “If you could create a charitable organization, what would it be?”  “What historical figure would you want to include at the table?” …

We gathered around the table on Christmas Day to share a feast and to feast on that special brew of friendship, family, community and the ties that bind us.

And throughout the festivities, our home was full of voices laughing, chatting, calling out each other in the familiar way that only those who have known one another a long, long time can do, and get away with. Because, no matter the calling out, it is the threads of familiarity and love that weave our hearts together in a magical tapestry of lives enjoined across time and space, moving always closer to the heart of what matters most – belonging, community,  family, love.

Three Valley Gap – looking east.

And now, we are in Vancouver to share another Christmas with our eldest daughter, son-in-love and grandson. It is a special celebration.

Rogers Pass

As we followed the highway west, driving through plains and rolling hills into foothills and the Rockies, through towns and mountainsides festooned with snow-covered trees, I said a prayer of gratitude for my life today and those who fill it with such joy and beauty and love.

After a few days here, we will spend New Year’s Eve on Gabriola Island with my middle sister and her husband and then, we’ll take the long and winding road across Vancouver Island to my favourite place on earth, Tofino where my beloved and I will spend a few quiet days listening to the waves crash against the shore, wander the beaches and sit by the fire.

Yes. This is Christmas.

This is the table where we belong. Where family and friends gather.  This is a joyful celebration of life, of friendship, family, love and new birth to come.

Yes. This is my blessed life.

I am so grateful.

Namaste.

 

And so… this is Christmas

The table is set, the turkey awaits stuffing. The vegetables are prepared, the cranberry sauce ready. Beneath the tree the presents are wrapped and waiting for the household to stir.

And I sit in the quiet of this Christmas morning and breathe deeply in the peace, hope, love and joy that fills my heart, spilling over into the air around me.

Hark the herald, angels sing
Glory to a new born king

The sun has begun its ascent, the days are lengthening and the earth continues on its orbit, its path decreed billions of years ago in a cosmic blast that shook the universe to its very core and set our planet a-spinning.

And over 2000 years ago, a mother and father huddled together in a tiny stable and witnessed the birth of their child surrounded by the lowing of the animals who kept watch.

The story of the Christ child’s birth has lived throughout the years. It touches all our hearts, Christian and non-Christian, believer and non-believer. No matter if we believe He came to earth to ‘save our souls from Satan’s power’, or if he was simply a powerful prophet, or just a great man whose story has survived the ages, His birth represents the power of love to create peace in the world and to restore our spirits as we celebrate the miracle of life.

Christmas is a time to celebrate. A time to rejoice, to dance in the light of day’s lengthening shadows, to sit in awe of a child in a manger and a child whose eyes are wide in wonder at the twinkling lights and gifts beneath the tree.

It is a time when we are connected in love to the miracle of one child’s birth long ago that reminds us, every year, that we too are miracles inspired by the act of love that ignites our journey of life – in all its limitless possibilities.

What a miracle Christmas is! 2000 years ago a child was born and from His birth has grown this night where the world stops, and takes a collective breath as we join in a song of love, faith, hope and joy.

This Christmas, as I reflect upon my life, I am reminded, once again, of the power of love to heal, to make peace and to create miracles. And that is the true meaning of Christmas for me. A celebration of birth, of life, of love. A healing. An awakening. A miracle that wraps us all in a never-ending circle of love.

Whatever your celebration — Christmas, Hanukkah, Bodi day, the Fast of Ramadan, the ancient sabbat – or a family-centered gathering, a Blessed Holiday to each and everyone of you. May your spirits be light, your hearts full of love and may your world be filled with the limitless possibilities of the miracle of your life as you live each moment, filled with love, gratitude and joy.

 

_____________________________________

My daughter sent me the most lovely gift… the link to this beautiful song that speaks of what Christmas means to me.  may you know the joys of being with those you love, gathered around a table, sharing a meal, time together and LOVE.

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