Last weekend I was blessed with a soul-restoring mini-vacation at my most favourite place on this great earth, Tofino. On my last evening in this magical place I took this photo of Middle Beach just as the sun was making its great escape for another day. I stood for the longest time, staring out at the sunset, listening to the eternal crash of waves, and thought of my Dad, Jack, who I was missing. The last time I was in Tofino, I recalled spending a half hour on my Sunday morning, looking out at this same ocean, talking to my parents on our usual Sunday morning phone calls. They were with me then, even on this remote coast, and they were with me again on the night I took this photo.
My Dad loved to tell stories. He called them “yarns” and enjoyed pulling one out of his endless vault of yarns on a regular basis. He did this, I think, as he understood that our stories are essential to our identity. They ARE us. On this latest trip to Tofino, I picked up a quietly stunning novel from one of my favourite authors, Richard Wagamese, called Medicine Walk. In this ultimate story of love, loss and redemption, one of the characters shares “It’s all that we are in the end. Our stories.” I learned to love Richard Wagamese’s wonderful gift of storytelling when I picked up his most recent book called Embers at New Years, and wrote about its wonderful message of hope on my yearly New Year’s Day post. On this trip, I was saddened to learn of Richard’s passing. Canada lost another great story-teller with his passing, but his message to us who appreciate his work would be simple. Share your story. It is important! It makes up your essence, your identity, and it matters.
I feel very lucky to be able to share some of my stories here on this blog. They help remind me of who I am and where I come from. I would like to think I got this gift of story from my Dad, one of the many things he shared with me over his long and lovely life. Knowing this helps me miss him a little less.
I’m going to leave you today with one of my favourite Richard Wagamese quotes. It goes like this:
“All that we are is story. From the moment we are born to the time we continue on our spirit journey, we are involved in the creation of the story of our time here. It is what we arrive with. It is all we leave behind. We are not the things we accumulate. We are not the things we deem important. We are story. All of us. What comes to matter then is the creation of the best possible story we can while we’re here; you, me, us, together. When we can do that and we take the time to share those stories with each other, we get bigger inside, we see each other, we recognize our kinship – we change the world, one story at a time…”