“ The three great elemental sounds in nature are the sound of rain, the sound of wind in a primeval wood, and the sound of outer ocean on a beach.” – Henry Beston
I wrote of early spring in my last post with over three weeks of winter still to go and as we made our way to catch the bus to beautiful Horseshoe Bay in late February to connect with the ferry to Vancouver Island, we did so amid softly falling snow. We were finally on our way back to our favourite retreat after a one year absence, having booked 5 nights at Tigh-Na-Mara Resort near the town of Parksville…
Sitting here at the ferry terminal while jotting down some notes (to Huguette & others!), I’m surrounded by gorgeous mountains with their peaks covered in freshly fallen snow and the deep green of the forest. Clinging to the many cliffs are one of my favourite trees, the arbutus with its bare rust coloured limbs, the bark in a constant state of peeling. As I look out onto the water, the wintering ducks are still here, lazily floating on the smooth surface.
We have left for this getaway with thoughts of my father’s health foremost in our minds but are heartened by family and friends who have offered to check in on him while we are away. We are only about 2 hours away and plan to call him daily. As we get ready to board the ferry, the weather is brightening with just the odd snowflake swirling down.
On board, after a delicious lunch, my companions as I sat to enjoy the passing view were Black Tusk mountain and random floating logs with various sea birds perched upon them. I settled in with my latest Harry Potter read, happy to be on the move again! After a relaxing ferry crossing, we were picked up by shuttle and within half an hour found ourselves checked in – shortly after that, we made our way down a beloved woodland trail in Rathtrevor Park to the wild ocean beyond. What drew us besides the sun was the sound of hundreds of Brant geese out on the water, taking a break from their long migration north. Overhead we could hear a raven of blackest night who looked far larger than the ravens in Stanley Park. It felt good to once again breathe in the sea air and hear nothing but the sound of waves.
Our first few days on the resort were winter cold – looking up into the dark sky on that first night outside our woodland studio, the brightly shining stars looked like they were cascading down upon us. Breathing in the scent of wood smoke and cedar was intoxicating, reminding me to appreciate this peace and plenty in my life…
On one of our last nights, the winds came up with a roar bringing with them the gift of a kiss of sunlight for our daily walk by the ocean and through the peaceful green of the forest. It is our last full day here and we were able to make our way to our favourite wild spot (where bear have been spotted in the summer!) near a stand of crab apple trees (hence the bears!). Near the bench we sit upon to soak up the sun, we found a new trail to explore – a trail winding its way through spring green moss so bright it seemed to cast its own light with undulating carpets of primordial ferns all around. It skirts an old farmer’s field where deer are often found, we didn’t see any this trip but did see lots of evidence that we may have just missed them especially with the freshly dug grass kicked up by their hooves!
After a tasty lunch at the charming cafe and bistro “Taste”, the wind picked up again – as I looked out the window at our small table for two, I could see the tall fir and pine trees waving their feathery branches, as if saying goodbye to winter. The wind brought our first rainfall since our arrival and I find myself tucked up in our studio, a glass of dark red wine on the table, taking in this wonderful part of the world, savouring every moment and encounter!