Soul Revival

While boating in British Columbia, I resemble nothing so much as Carol Burnett’s rendition of a charwoman. If I visited Victoria, Vancouver or dozens of smaller cities via airplane or car, I would dress as I usually do. Arriving by small boat, I tend to personify the essence of casual verging on bohemian. The change in clothing exemplifies the change in pace and preoccupation.


My appearance is in utter contrast to the magnificent scenery. Each year, as our months away from the Northwest accumulate, my husband and I start thinking that surely our imaginations are exaggerating the beauty. Then summer arrives, we go back and know that we actually had forgotten just how magnificent it is. By the time we are there for a few days we, whose vocabulary is pretty  extensive, run out of descriptive words.


Friends of ours sometimes question our return to the same area each summer that we are blessed to be able to do so. Don’t we want to see Europe, Africa, Scandinavia, New England or other fascinating places close and far away? Not really; we prefer to follow the pattern of migratory butterflies, yearning to retrace our steps rather than charting new courses.


We intellectually know that people living in Mill Bay, Brentwood Bay, Pender Harbour and other of our favorite haunts worry about their health and finances. We are aware that they are sometimes disappointed in their government and nervous about world affairs. Nonetheless, when we navigate our little ship from one cove to another stopping at various anchorages and docks, we focus on currents and wind, on the water level in our fresh-water tanks and what local produce we can pick up for supper, taking a life-infusing break from more weighty concerns. For two tone-deaf individuals, we are surprisingly prone to breaking out in song, overwhelmed by gratitude to God for creating such exquisiteness.


We returned home this past Friday, reinvigorated and refreshed. Prince William and his wife Kate arrived in Victoria BC a few days after we sailed away, perfectly dressed and coiffed. I had to smile at the contrast.

21 thoughts on “Soul Revival”

  1. Dear Rabbi & Susan Lapin – I just discovered your website and Musings and am so appreciatative of your heart and your sharing of it. I am so blessed to live in Sequim on the North Olympic Peninsula (we look directly north to Victoria, BC), though we are currently enjoying Sukkot in the city of Jerusalem. On the one hand, we don’t want to leave this incredible city of our Lord but on the other, we unquestionably know He has us in Sequim and it will soon be time to return and put our hands to the work He has for us there. The peace of land and water is very palpable for me – I have a visceral reaction to it, the beauty of, this, His, creation. I am reminded again with your words how very blessed we are to live where we do. Thank you for sharing. Blessings to you and your family!

    1. Sequim – one of the many beautiful cities that non-northwesterners don’t know how to pronounce!

  2. Lovely, calming influence in your post- thank you. I went for a walk today and didn’t walk as fast as I could to burn as many calories as I could, or worry about anything else. I just walked along and looked at the seasonal decorations that have appeared over the last few weeks. I thought about myself for once, and what I might accomplish with the day I had before me, and just kept company with myself. I enjoyed it- a relief, that. I spend so much time doing for others that I forget that I matter too, and I wasn’t even sure if I’d like being alone with myself. Thank you for your posts.

    1. What a lovely comment! I need to learn to capture some of the peace of British Columbia when I am far away from there. I have actually thought of finding a recording of seagulls to use for an alarm clock because I love waking up to that sound on the boat.

  3. I live on the Westcoast in the very areas you traveled. Thank you for the reminder that I should never ever take this part of the world for granted! Our God is an awesome God — in beauty and character! I especially loved your words when you said “God’s wonders truly shine there”! Life is not always easy and I found your words and the wonders God that I’m living in the midst of very uplifting! May God continue to bless you and your family,

    1. I’m so glad if I could be a messenger to remind you not to take your blessings for granted. Enjoy your wonderful part of the world.

    2. Rabbi Daniel Lapin

      Hello Breljana–the road to overcoming life’s challenges usually starts with optimism and hope which, in turn, stem reliably from gratitude and appreciation so now that have a renewed enjoyment in the natural beauty that surrounds you, I pray that your challenges collapse under the joyful weight of your gratitude. ~ RDL

  4. From my youth I remember a dinner theater with my parents that featured: ‘Stop the World! I Want to Get off!” Yep. Everybody needs a break. How wonderful to have a magical place where one can disengage from the cares and toils of the rat race and return to a world that reopens one’s basic senses to the beauty of God’s world! My heart goes out to your family. May the Lord protect you from talking bears!

    1. Rabbi Daniel Lapin

      Thanks James. The biggest threat we face though is talking people rather than talking bears. With their mouths and tongues people can destroy people, whereas bears use their mouths only to do what they were created to do eat berries and if they’re lucky British Columbia or Alaska bears–salmon! ~ RDL

  5. Have you read the story of Joshua Slocum, told by himself, who was the first man to sail around the world alone? He rebuilt a little cast aside boat he found at Briar Island and sailed it out of Boston, he being a retired tall ship’s captain. Inspiring man and a superb sailor.

    1. Yes! (Rabbi Daniel Lapin). His book was one of those that inspired me to sail my family across the Pacific Ocean from Los Angeles to Hawaii. No (Susan) – I have a list of boating books that are waiting for me and his is one of them.

  6. This is beautiful (too mundane a word), thank you for the NW description. God created our paradise here on Earth and we should break into praise as He moves us by the sight of His majesty. Susan keep writing, I get your heart and compassion in each “musing”

      1. This is beautiful (too mundane a word), thank you for the NW description. God created our paradise here on Earth and we should break into praise as He moves us by the sight of His majesty. Susan keep writing, I get your heart and compassion in each “musing”
        I grew up in Vancouver BC. Met my beautiful wife from California and lived in SF for forty years. We just moved back to the North West, Spokane WA., two years ago. I am in heaven on earth. How marvelous is our God and the glory of His gifts. The thing that I most remember about the inland passage is the deep black of the water and the morning fog. Another world.

    1. Thank you for your most beautiful photos. I guess my husband and I are butterflies also although Hawaii is the place we return to for a small sip of the extravagant beauty God has so generously given us.
      With love,
      Elinor and Jim Lacy

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