The Five Little Peppers, Et Al

David will tell you that I was ruined at a very early age by books.

The romance and magic and charm and mystery of books are hard to replicate in real life. There are not a lot of adventure stories about carpooling and what to make for dinner again.

But being in Tofino is like being in all the books of your childhood...the mild sunshine, the igneous rocks to scrabble over, the tree-lined bike trails that lead directly to wide, sandy beaches, the eagles soaring overhead. At any moment you just know there will be a mystery to solve that will absorb you for the rest of the summer while you lick dripping ice cream cones and your skin turns brown under the magical sun.

I am immediately undone. David told me he never gets over the curve in the road that reveals the beautiful little harbor. I know the feeling.

It makes me feel like I'm twelve years old and all my dreams are coming true.

Even the house we stayed in came out of a storybook with its wide wooden plank floors and thick wood beams tracing the slope of the ceiling up to the rooftop. Our bedroom had a slanted ceiling and slanted windows that looked out on the foreign world of rainforest. (In every book of my childhood the heroine lived in the top room with a slanted roof. Sigh.) At night, when the housing was breathing quietly, I would watch the black silhouettes of the trees standing guard at the window until I couldn't keep my eyes open any longer.

Every morning we rode our bikes to the beach to watch the fog burn off and wait for the tides to leave their treasures for our admiration and pleasure. Afternoons were for surfing lessons and boogie boarding while the eagles flew over our heads. We built campfires on the beach and roasted hotdogs and s'mores and warmed our ice cold hands from the ocean. We hiked to hot springs, saw pods of grey whales, biked the deep green rainforest paths and beach trails until our legs burned, pinked our cheeks on some of the best beaches the earth has to offer, licked and kissed the salty Pacific from our chapped lips, and watched the Canada Day fireworks from the pier at the very western end of the Trans-Canadian highway.

And everywhere we went we wore our jackets and kept the time only by the tides.

And I'm telling you, it was just like being inside a book.

Those gorgeous Canadian Rockies are getting closer and closer. We are on the ferry again, headed towards Vancouver, with our bike tires full of sand and our bags full of shells and rocks. David's pockets are full of leftover loonies and toonies, and my mind is full of memory. It is the final few pages and I am nearly heartbroken with the end in sight.

I always read the final chapter of my favorite books twice as slow.

To make them last.

Yes, I am ruined for sure.

(gorgeous and glorious pictures will come later when I find an actual computer)