From Yves and Yvonne Tiberghien, Mayne Island

One of our new resolutions for 2021 is to test the results of the famed Japanese technique of forest bathing, or shinrinyoku (森林浴). It is very simple: all you need to do is to get lost in the woods and feel the life and connectivity of the trees and flowers. Of course, the mindfulness books recommend finding a place that is peaceful, with big ancient trees, nice moss, pristine flowers, ocean, and rocks. Most people close the book at this point, but Mayne Islanders are truly blessed: all we need to do is to head to the Edith Point trail (or St John Point trail) and we tick all the boxes…

So, here we were on April 15, feeling the beauty of nature, the sun, and the blue sky. But we were caught by small but mighty characters who had suddenly appeared all over the meadow and hillside: the rare and powerful Calypso orchids! These little orchids pack a punch: they produce an extraordinary perfume and despite their tiny size, exhibit a full royal crown, an exquisite lace dress, and intriguing colorful dots. They appear in April like little fairies, some alone, some in pairs, and some in larger groups. But they all share a real attitude in life. Wow to you if you stare a Calypso orchid! She will knock you out of your wits!

Somehow, these punchy enchantresses go beyond the classic forest bathing experience! They truly overpower you and belittle all these pesky issues of life.

Calypso orchid. Photo: Yves Tiberghien

Recovering our senses, we walk a few steps and sit peacefully on inviting rocks right over Campbell Bay. We can hear the loons in the Bay and admire the great arbutus trees and Douglas firs. We gaze at the islands in the distance and love the gentle breeze making ripples on the ocean.

Suddenly, we are jolted from this mindful moment..  There were puffs in the middle of the Bay! Indeed, we are amazed to witness six great orcas crossing Campbell Bay from Bennett Bay toward Edith Point tip, puffing in the middle of the bay. Wow! What a surprise! 

So much for the quiet forest bathing. We run across the forest to the other side of the peninsula, in case the orcas round the Point and come down along the coast.  And  yes, they did!  They passed right by the shore with great skill and energy! When we meet orcas at a close distance, they really appear like giants! And the ocean is their universe, they just glide through the waves.  

Well, the sea lions were not amused. They initially ran for their lives, flying over the ocean! Once grouped together in a big gang of 15 lions, they all stood up and made their heads look tall and started barking at the orcas. It seemed to work: the transient orcas just zipped by and continued toward Reef Bay and the Lighthouse, where they apparently ate a few seals. 

Biggs’ or Transient Orca. Photo: Yves Tiberghien

The initially peaceful meditation walk turned into double-O amazement at a tiny orchid with a huge attitude and a powerful master of the waves. Everything else appeared irrelevant. These little Calypso orchids and great orcas just totally captured our imagination. And where else can you live such an exciting life? We feel inspired, elevated, and truly grateful. 

But yes—we forgot about the details of what shinrinyoku is supposed to look like. I guess that the great denizens of Mayne island and the Salish Sea just know how to write the script themselves! And that is all for the better!

Submitted by Yves and Yvonne TIberghien

Categories: Field Notes

2 Comments

Kriss Boggild · April 28, 2021 at 12:22 pm

The colour of those little orchids alone could knock your socks off! Beautiful pics and writing!

Nancy Wells · April 28, 2021 at 8:45 pm

Yves photos always show the beauty and tranquility of our Island.

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