A State of Tahsis.
Matt, Wilco and I headed out on our first adventure from the house since the start of Covid isolation, to Vancouver Island, bound for Tofino. Wow, Tofino and Ucluelet. Stop overs in Lilloet, Pemberton, Whistler, Tsawwassen, Cowichan also, WOW. But Tahsis…
My social media journaling on the journey signaled to my friend Scott that we were on the island. A little kismet, because Scott and friends were on the way over too. But his destination was a new project he’d undertaken – 185 acres on the remote Nootka Sound in Tahsis, BC. He invited us out to join. Looking at a map, it seemed close enough, as the crow flies. In fact is was a full day and a half’s travel criss-crossing the island to get to Nootka on Forest service roads, and gravel highways… into pure magic. We were the first of the “new entrants” to get to Art Tahsis (soon to be renamed Nootka House), where we were greeted by the homesteaders and founders of what already felt like a fairy-tale for an artist and nature lover, Troy and Celine. They guided us to our own little sanctuary to camp at, overlooking Nootka Sound and facing Mount Tahsis. It was a moment burnt into my memory forever.
Once we got settled and got our tiny trailer set up, we wandered back to the “muster room”. A small cabin, about the size of our Oyama cabin, that has been dedicated as a common kitchen and gathering place for all visitors and residents of Nootka House. Celine showed me around the gardens, and some of the site’s other buildings, including the ‘wood shop’, the brand new smoke house, brand new composting toilet outhouse, and the ‘art studio’ (I swear the entire place is an art studio, because everywhere you look, a sculpture is in progress, a new building is underway, a new or old installation is there to contemplate). And that’s also when she tells me, “You are here as part of our work party! We will be completely gutting the ‘muster room!” because we have collaborating architects here to redesign it (sustainably and beautifully to accomodate a dream kitchen, library and dining space). I actually instantly felt relieved and honored to contribute and give back whatever I could to this magical place, just simply for its existence, but especially because I could feel the work Troy and Celine have poured into this sacred place.
We had 2 days of instense work, demolishing the old building, then a day to explore and breathe it in on waterfall visits, beach walks, and sauna tours, before we had to get back on the road and home to Oyama. I’m forever changed. I am moved. I am glad to know they are out there stewarding and protecting that land, embellishing it with sustainable architecture and art. We cannot wait to get back there next year to see the progress, and get our hands dirty again! Thank you to Troy and Celine, and the community forming at Nootka House.