West Coast British Columbia wilderness adventure
The spirit of the west coast wilderness on Flores Island and Long Beach, near Tofino, Clayoquot Sound, Vancouver Island.
A book excerpt from the spiritandflesh.com religion and spirituality online library.
"I recall being out on Flores Island- one of the outer islands populating Clayoquot Sound, on the west side of Vancouver Island- in the early spring. I recall having been driven out there by a greater will than my own, forcing me out and away, to face the loneliness again, because to not face it meant to lose the beauty, the wonder, the message, the dream, and instead to face only the cold stare of concrete and plaster. And so I thumbed and bussed my way out to Tofino, walked down to the government wharf, jumped on a water-taxi destined for the native town of Ahousat, and from there marched for two hours out to the wild coast. There, alone, I spent the next four days, walking up and down the brilliant expanse of untrammeled, driftwood-laden, wind-whipped beach, with the surf crashing, eagles soaring overhead, and not another soul in sight. No one.
Where was everyone, I wondered? In a place as incredible as this, with a brilliant break in the weather. Why am I the only one out here- one of the most peaceful and beautiful places on earth- where are you my people? my kin? my peers? my fellow wanderers, sisters, brothers, and freedom lovers of any kind, where are you? It was maddening. Everyone else was locked away in comfortable cement mausoleums, under warm duvet blankets, with toast and eggs, coffee and light conversation awaiting them in the morning, and I was out there under the moon, alone, marching up and down that glorious beach, trying to burn the madness of a world gone wrong out of me.
There was a time, apparently in the late sixties and early seventies, during the free-love and wandering hippy movement- an era which I was too tardy out of the womb to take part in, and so, like one who arrived at Woodstock the day after the concert, when everyone else was leaving and bursting with loquacious panegyrics about the incomparable affair, I was left to cuss at the dumb luck of being born in '66- there was a time when hordes of young folk lived on Long Beach, near Tofino, in squatter's huts made out of driftwood. They caught fish, played music, drank wine, made love, and lived with nature, like a long lost band of space-wanderers, finally rendezvousing in a remote area, on a remote planet, and having there a celebration for a good long while so as to get to know each other once again. In fact, this utopic lifestyle went on for almost ten years, until the mob of un-free citizens and their henchmen ran the freedom-lovers off the beach and back onto the pavement.
Seems this is always the way though. No corner of the earth is kept open for a worthwhile, carefree existence. Everything must be surveyed, stamped, ordered, ruled, legislated, registered, and paid for in the fine old feudal way. Not even a madman whose pants are full of piss and whose beard is full of snot is allowed to sip his whiskey when and where he wants, or lie down and rest where he pleases without hassle. The moment someone bucks the system and tries to live without losing their soul, innumerable trespassing signs and fences spring up all around. Every man, woman, and child must be properly dressed, indoctrinated, and carrying identification. No one shall be excluded from doing their part in the ruse. It's a game of cats and mice and the cats make all the rules, and they train the mice to obey them, and then they let the little rodents loose for a good chase and some dinner.
I have heard that without real prey around, a cat must stalk something anyway, for this behavior is built into its Mendelian code, on one of the double helixes near the food and fun section. And so you can often see cats fervently stalking stuffed animals, shoes, a dry leaf in the wind, or people's shadows. Which is the way it is with authorities; give someone a uniform and they must create rules and enforce them, for that is their job and their job is their identity, and soon it becomes an instinct for them such that if no one is breaking any of their other laws, then they must invent some more. More laws, more limits, more stalking, more game. These precarious effigies of their own shadowy existences, who, in their irascible homage to progress, find no time for the alter dimensions embracing the hemorrhage of time.
I have heard- if you can believe this- of a man in a small town on the coast who is banned from laughing in public. That's right- he is given a fine every time he laughs out loud. It seems the well-groomed and respectable, established town folk couldn't bear to hear a real, spontaneous, raucous, shameless guffaw- for it must have exposed their own repressions too blatantly- so they banded together and had a writ against him enforced. The Nazis. The dimwits. The obtuse, insidious failures to exist as human beings who then turn themselves into jackals. It is to them and their likes, for whom, like the dead, there is neither sin nor rapture, that I turn aside.
But enough of this misanthropic diatribe.
On that specific trip out to Flores it was on day four, alone and walking up and down the desolate, wind-swept beach, in which the bubble finally burst for me. And by that I mean that the haze of society, the clutter of spirits, consciousnesses, and souls mixed within me, and the discord of all my own worldly thinking and ways had at last vanished, and all that remained inside ...was me. I became again a clean and polished vessel staring out from nothing at the deep blue, unvexing sea. I was as if virginal again, and inside of me were my real eyes which had for so long been closed or not allowed yet to see."
(excerpted from In and Of: memoirs of a mystic journey, by Jack Haas)