I’m writing this from a cozy bed in the beautiful Oswego boutique hotel in Victoria, the capitol of British Columbia. Victoria is a beautiful city on Vancouver Island, and is one of our favorite places in the world. We have made several attempts to move here, none of which have resulted in an actual move, although oddly enough two years ago we did move to Israel instead. That’s another story, but for now, we are here visiting, having worked and saved and looked forward to this two week break from our usual time and space.
We took three flights and a ferry to get to this island, then drove two hours into the mountains where we camped by a rocky beach at the edge of a forest. Our friends Ken and Meg who live on the Island prepared all the camping equipment, picked us up at the ferry and shuttled us out into the wilderness where we tried to catch up with ourselves after forty eight hours of travel. Huge husky evergreens led the way to the ocean, ancient, pale, drift wood logs littering the edge of the shore. The afternoon revealed countless tidal pools where tiny crabs skittered out from under each rock lifted by curious five year old fingers. Ella spoke to them in her high pitched voice reserved for animals of any kind.
At the campsite we looked at the alder branches reaching for each other over our heads, slept fitfully in the chilly mountain air, soaked up the smell of the campfire, and walked trails in misty morning hazy slanting sunlight. Ken and Meg are both real chefs so I was reluctant to cook for them and a bit embarrassed of my unprofessional knife skills. As it turns out, like most chefs, they are happy to eat anything halfway decent that they haven’t had to cook themselves. I was ecstatic to stand at the edge of the picnic table, chopping local veggies we had purchased from a farmers market in a nearby fishing village. Every meal was basically a vegetable hash with a different sauce, and eggs or salmon on the side. Nothing fancy, no one cared. The kids ate what we ate or the ubiquitous spoonful of peanut butter.
We even went berry picking at a small farm off the beaten path, recommended by another farmer. I will hold that morning in my heart as one of the closest to heaven, present in my body, moving without thinking, enjoying just the motion of reaching from branch to branch, gently plucking the sun-ripened fruit, letting it fall, in a word from one of my favorite poems which is also about berries, “unbidden,” to my hand. We each started in a different row of berries with an empty bucket. After about half an hour I called to Ben, “How many berries do you have in your bucket?” He answered, full of pride, “Three!” Oh my goodness that boy ate his weight in berries! The heart and belly filling happiness of being let loose in a field of ripe fruit!
More to come, love and more love from an Island far away but close to home.
xo – c