Photo: Nova Scotia writer Donna Morrissey finds healing, peace in the fury of Tofino, BC's wild Pacific

The cloud-darkened sun was just setting on the churning Pacific waters near Tofino, BC when our eight-seat float plane touched down onto the short airstrip. Wet, sandy beaches glistened surreal with a silvery light beneath looming cedars that creaked in a strengthening wind. I felt unease, but mostly from a deep hurt playing itself out inside my heart than any slight from the majesty of this British Columbian coastline.

"There's a mystic energy here," whispered Miss Alma Lee, my heart friend and guide. "Truly," she added, "it comes from an intersecting of Ley lines—the earth's pulse if you will."

I scarcely nodded, feeling for my own pulse, wondering how I would do readings and presentations here, in this wretched state of despair I had landed myself in. No doubt the rustic elegance of the Wickaninnish Inn and its specialty foods and wine would help, and the smiling faces of the young and beautiful people who worked there. But I was more drawn to the storm brewing outside the glass walls of the inn.

Clouds of white-feathered birds danced along the ocean's edge. Waves creamed over the rocks. For a few moments, I was lured into a sense of calm. That night the storm broke, crashing onto rocks that jutted a few meager feet from my balcony and sending spray like drifting snow against my window. I slid open the glass doors and spent the night beside the fireplace, cuddled in down bedding, and watched the storm gathering fury. By morning it was in full rage.

Dressing in the waterproofed clothing and rubbers offered by the hotel, I walked the shoreline. Other souls appeared through the wind-blown mist, wearing the same garb. We looked like Wickaninnish birds with our similar yellow jackets, blue pants and yellow rubbers. It felt comforting being one of the flock, and we smiled and nodded as we drifted past each other.

Frank Island sat like a huge, dark ship just offshore from the beach, accessible over a narrow strip of sand not covered by water. I climbed onto its black, rugged hull, and felt my way across the scraps of sod and few trees straddling its gunnels. The front of the island splintered into jagged rock that cut into the sea. Fierce ledges jutted up through foaming sounders. I stood and simply stared at what felt to be the brink of our beginnings, our first birth.

Waves three-, six-m (10-, 12-ft) high hurtled forward, bursting like fireworks against the rocks. All up and down the shoreline, kegs of gunpowder exploded the sea into a white, thrashing frenzy—it felt like madness, it looked magnificent—as if the whole world was glorying in the sheer essence of Being.

My chest felt tight. I wondered when I had last given over so completely to something, to anything. Perhaps when I was a girl, and I raced simply for the act of racing and I ran so hard my feet smacked against my butt, and if I fell there'd be damaged skin and a broken nose, and that alone kept me pummelling even faster to escape gravity.

The heaviness from the past few days dissipated from my shoulders. I felt myself softening, a letting go into the deep breath of nothingness. I felt smaller and smaller. I felt little more than a piece of plankton sitting on a mountain of rock before an ocean of storm. I felt the air exulting from the power manifesting itself through the fury of the wind and sea. For a moment it felt a bit sinister, this growing field of energy around me; but no, it was a power I was feeling, the power of Being, of God, of the Universe.

At that moment, a huge, monstrous wave with a snarling face started curling towards me. It felt as though it would flood the whole landscape of Frank Island, the inn, Tofino. I felt not the slightest inclination to jump up and run—how wonderful to simply let go into that wildness, that abandonment, how wonderful to live within that power, that freedom.

Walking back to the hotel, I thought of the hurt that had invoked my walk. It felt very small indeed, my thoughts too whiny to engage with. Such a relief to let them go. That's what the energy had invoked in me—a letting go. Not everything can be thought through. Some things can only be resolved through feeling, through letting go into feeling, through letting go into the harmony of the Oneness.
Miss Alma Lee was standing beneath a tall, strong cedar near the inn's walkway. She was smiling. "Yes, friend, I met with it," I said. "Thank you. Thank you so much. This truly is a place of mystic and wonder. Most places are—but this stands as a giant reminder—thank you for bringing me here."

By Donna Morrissey


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Jun 10, 2013
1:24 PM

i have been to tofino but not since the 1980s… I WASNT THERE long enoughbut I felt the energy there too…I must get back

Nov 29, 2012
1:17 PM

Beautiful, Donna. Colin and I love that part of the world, too. Time for another visit.

Nov 29, 2012
12:04 PM

Oh Donna, you gave me goose bumps reading your words. I cannot imagine how this must have felt — lucky you for letting go and letting it in. hugs

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