simply being

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so it’s gotten to the point where so much has happened and so many photos have been taken that i am overwhelmed by writing about it or sorting through the mess of it. carolyn and i made it to the coast for a womens weekend, and treated ourselves to staying at an inn, which was absolute luxury compared to camping in the november weather. it was our own sleeping room, but with shared kitchen and bathroom. however, other than one other woman there on the second night, who kept to herself, it was just us, so we owned the place. we spent all time while there in the kitchen because it looks out over the sound and onto the surrounding islands. lovely. it was also nice to be staying inside since i was in the midst of getting over a hella cold. we tacked this west coast adventure onto a foraging workshop we had won in the fundraiser i wrote about back in august. the workshop took place back on the east coast of the island, but since i was craving the wild west, and so was carolyn (unbeknownst to me), it worked out wonderfully. i thought we should have a wild womens weekend every year, and was wondering what to call it, when on a call to her partner she mentioned this and he suggested ‘c&c foraging factory’, which i thought was hilarious. but i think it should have a bit of a different name every year to differentiate them, so next year it will be c&c something else, although i think we should also open it up to other women friends, so we shall see. we randomly stopped on the side of the road on the way there, and found spawning sockeye salmon!! that was sooooo exciting. i had never seen fish that big spawning and it was beautyfull. it was also really late for sockeye to be spawning, but c’lyn did research while we were in tofino, and we had it verified by several other people. though a quick trip, it was delicious to be on the wild coast again. the foraging workshop was fun and informative, if not prolifically successful. i think i had pretty grand ideas though, i thought i’d be bringing home a haul! it wasn’t the best fall for mushrooms, it was dry dry dry, and then when it finally rained, it got down to freezing a few weeks later on the big island. we found a few chanterelles, some frozen, a whole bunch of zellers boletes, and two big porcinis stuck together! our guides were SO stoked about that one. we were too, but i was more so because all the mushrooms were so pretty! not so much because of the value or taste of them. novice. we also found many inedible mushrooms. while our guides were waiting for us to arrive, they had ventured out into the forest and found a bears head fungus, just a baby one, but they were also incredibly excited about it. though we found little volume-wise, by the end of the day they were quite satisfied, and i was too. alicia said some foraging trips they would find absolutely nothing, and they would be driving home while eric was silently fuming his frustration. i was glad they were able to go home with a porcini after hearing that. since returning home i have finally made time to go wandering in the woods – partly due to the rain slamming down so hard and for such duration onto the bus roof that it was driving me crazy and i HAD to get out – and on top of finding a delicious milky cap, a fat jack and a slew of baby late oyster mushrooms, i found a gorgeous trail through the forest down to the ocean! joy! compared to our land, the water access there was easy and ample, and passes through what looks to be a fabulous nettle patch come spring. can’t wait to swim there!

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i am moving into my seventh week without work, and though on many levels i love having so much time to my whims, i also need structure to get shit done. i am unfortunately one of those people who needs to feel productive. i just finished reading ‘the stranger in the woods’ about the man who lived alone in the maine woods for 27 years, and the book references many hermits and solitaries through the years. it talks about the value in stillness and silence and not doing. i find this very difficult, but love that people are capable of it. i also dreamily romanticize others who spend much solo time in cabins in the woods, writing or reading or making art or walking. but then when it comes down to it, i somehow feel incapable, i get up in the morning and feel i must DO. i think i was better at surrendering to art-making/reading days when i was younger. though now i think it also makes a difference that i am living on land that i own and plan to build on – that is always hovering in the back of my mind as to what i could be working on. but it’s winter, and wet, not the best time for construction. i would like to let myself just be, not do.

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look at all of the salt valeria has evaporated!

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on that note: i have been visiting people! i loooove seeing other peoples places, and finding them too. due to the lack of street addresses, you can’t google map anything on this island. it is always a question for me as to whether i will arrive at my intended destination. oh the inspiration that comes with visiting people. change feeds us, humans. just getting out of the things we do on repeat every day shifts us all around inside and shakes the dust off. sweeps out our corners. unearths ideas lying latent. lets us breathe. valerias house of colour and light. kirsty and alains home of creature comforts and baking and knitting night. bobs big home-in-progress that feels like a sailboat come up to be cradled by land. sue and peters old house of stories, ruminating over the sea. the way to s & p’s wound its way through the forest, passing by massive cliffs and rushing streams, and curving around the long bay from my place to theirs. theirs was the most fun place to find, because it was by foot. valeria and i also had a sauna this week, before bobs big thanksgiving. oh was that ever divine – the sauna is right on the dock so we jumped straight out the door into the ocean. the heat of the sauna made me forget that it’s actually winter and that swimming out far in frigid winter temperatures is not too smart. oops. my subsequent swims were much shorter. what a blessing to be able to swim in the winter. what a blessing to live where we do. what a blessing.

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