[Here are Chris and I after the reading, basking in the glow of all the love in that room for this talented and wonderful woman. Her journey has been one that has inspired me, ever since I first met her.]
But when we arrived in Tofino, the weather magically let up. The surf was reportedly wild, but we couldnt get to the beach, for lack of wheels. So on Sunday afternoon Chris and I walked down to the harbour and watched half a dozen river otters diving off the dock, climbing back up with fish in their mouths, dining heartily, as an envious heron looked on.
A fine, well-fed, happy fellow. Once he swam right under us as we stood at the window above him, and I so wanted that photo, but he was under the building before I could catch him.
This is Strawberry Island, with its cluster of floathouses and stunning backdrop.
Lone Cone in cloud
The round windows in the pub framed the outer scene so beautifully I could not resist taking these, which could grace art cards quite nicely, if one ever had time for such things.
Chris took this photo, of the vista in her neighbourhood. (Chris stays in town during the winter, when passage to the float is too stormy and dangerous.)
I went into town in the morning and poked about and, in the afternoon, we went on a short walk or two, putting in time and trying to calm Chris's nerves before her big night.
The book launch was a rousing success. It was held at the Ice House, a seafood place built on pilings over the water. Here it is, empty while we were setting up. I kept wandering out onto the dock to smile at kayakers paddling past........
and watch the play of light on the water, just before sunset. I had hoped for more sky color, but the clouds swallowed the sunset up that particular night. I was well enough content, just to be that close to my beloved ocean. I sat by the window beaming as darkness softly covered up the view.
This book, Born Out of This, (on ancient-forest-friendly paper!) is Chris's memoir, one I have long been awaiting (and nagging her to write. You're welcome, Chris, LOL.) Chris has a remarkable history, has made an inspiring journey from childhood trauma, and has built the most amazing life for herself. She is an activist, nature lover, poet, writer and friend extraordinaire. Born Out of This is available from Caitlin Press. A fantastic read and, if you love nature writing, you will find none finer.
Chris has had encounters with wildlife that will take your breath away, and she records what she sees around her, at her beautiful floathouse called Gratitude, in a way that magically transports the reader into those meticulously described surroundings.
I traveled back out in storm, Tuesday morning, and when I got home was treated to a long noisy thunderstorm. So the earth is all washed clean now. I am trying to catch up online, which will take some time, and I am working on a poem, stirred by my visit to the home of my spirit. I am distracted by the news, as we follow events at Parliament Hill, where this morning an armed gunman shot and killed a soldier, then ran into Centre Block of Parliament, was chased, gunned down and killed, early this morning. This is the second soldier killed in the past three days, and is so unlike the Canada we know that we are quite stunned. But given recent world events, I suppose it is not surprising that the global insanity has arrived on our doorstep.
My time in Tofino was restorative. It replenished my heart, which was in need of nurture, and injected some much-needed energy. I may need to make more frequent trips, for further transfusions.
I am a long ways away from making the rounds, but will come by and see you all as soon as I am able to.