I remember as if it were yesterday. We were all sitting in a circle on the floor at the teacher’s feet as she opened the book “A Wrinkle in Time” by Madeleine L’Engle. As she started the words “it was a dark and stormy night”, I felt chills run down my spine and from that moment on, I couldn’t wait for story time in Mrs. Cook’s third grade class. From quantum time travel through space to walking through the wardrobe in C.S. Lewis’ “The Lion, The Witch, and the Wardrobe”, she painted pictures in my imagination with her melodic words that would convince me into adulthood that magic really can, and often does, happen.

As any of you who visit us regularly already know, I am a big fan of a good story. If I am not at the Hollow I can usually be found perusing the wares of my local “used book” stores. But today’s story doesn’t come from any particular book, nor is it polished to perfection and perfectly presented for us to merely consume. It is unpredictable. It is fluid. It is whatever we say it is.

Thank you for coming along on another visit to the majestic Newcastle Island, in Nanaimo, B.C., as we continue our running series “Island Hoppin’“.  Repleat with mythos and folklore all of its own, it is the perfect spot to go looking for a great story.

Newcastle Island Marine Provincial Park - Nanaimo, BC, Canada

Newcastle Island Marine Provincial Park – Nanaimo, BC, Canada

Always in search of inspiration, and rarely at a loss for it here on Vancouver Island, I frequently find myself staring out over the ocean in quiet contemplation.  It is often in these quiescent moments, when only the breeze and your own heartbeat can be heard, that it becomes clear that each and every moment of life is a page yet to be written, each day, an opportunity for a new chapter.

Newcastle Island Marine Provincial Park - Nanaimo, BC, Canada

Newcastle Island Marine Provincial Park – Nanaimo, BC, Canada

And though the path is seldom clear, courage and curiosity combine and we take a few more steps forward in excited apprehension as it unfolds in tiny increments before us.  Some of us run, while others meander, but we all make our own way along as we decide when to turn right or left, when to stop and listen, or when to take another by the hand and let them lead us for a while.

Newcastle Island Marine Provincial Park - Nanaimo, BC, Canada

Newcastle Island Marine Provincial Park – Nanaimo, BC, Canada

Sometimes though the road ahead may be dotted with ominous shadows, it is not until we stand tall in the darkest moments that we are truly able to appreciate the sunshine.  It is in those lessons that we learn to keep writing, to keep putting one foot in front of the other, in the eternal pursuit of the next grand adventure waiting just beyond the next bend.

Newcastle Island Marine Provincial Park - Nanaimo, BC, Canada

Newcastle Island Marine Provincial Park – Nanaimo, BC, Canada

And sometimes we are lucky enough to share in the stories of others, though they may not be written in the same way as ours, or even in the same language.  And as the words blend and join together, everyone’s story becomes a little richer.

Newcastle Island Marine Provincial Park - Nanaimo, BC, Canada

Newcastle Island Marine Provincial Park – Nanaimo, BC, Canada

There is no greater story than the one that you write each and every day.  Only you can say what comes next, so go out there and pen your own tales.  Turn over every stone, grab every opportunity, slay a few dragons and save the princess, stand in your cupboard until you finally find Narnia.  Just never stop dreaming, never stop writing, and most importantly, never stop chasing the magic.

I know that our story is made better by the great friends who share it with us.  Each of you are, to us, an invaluable part of the story of Toad Hollow and we appreciate your friendship and support more than we could ever express.  We look ever so forward to sharing many more great adventures together!

Until next time!

Warmly,

Mrs. Toad




  1. avatar dragonflydreams88 says:

    . . . a wonderful series! . . . and not surprising, a wonderful location!!

  2. avatar Jim Denham says:

    Boy, the things we could write if we just took the story the way we desire it to go! Fantastic post and images! well done Mrs. Toad!

  3. avatar Rachel Cohen says:

    Wonderful well woven story Mrs. Toad, and gorgeous images too!! 🙂

    • avatar Mrs. Toad says:

      Thank you so much Rachel! It is so easy to find beautiful places to photograph on this little island. Thanks for popping by today!

  4. avatar Edith Levy says:

    You are so eloquent Mrs. Toad. Wonderful post and beautiful images.

  5. avatar Heather says:

    “Sometimes though the road ahead may be dotted with ominous shadows, it is not until we stand tall in the darkest moments that we are truly able to appreciate the sunshine.”

    That spoke to me so much…..

    • avatar Mrs. Toad says:

      Your comments have truly touched my heart Heather. I often find that it’s when the sunshine comes out again that I realize that friends have been standing with me in the shadows all along.

  6. avatar Erin Duke says:

    Beautiful story, wonderful images. I look forward to your guest posts, Mrs. Toad and this is certainly a new favorite. I agree that we write our own story everyday, and what comes next is entirely up to us. Thanks for sharing such an inspirational and thoughtful post today. 🙂

    • avatar Mrs. Toad says:

      Erin, what lovely comments! Thank you so much for your ongoing friendship and support.

  7. avatar Jimi Jones says:

    A very inspiring post, Mrs. Toad. “There is no greater story than the one that you write each and every day”. That is very well stated and I could not agree more. 🙂

    I always enjoy your wonderful writing and the experiences of Toad Hollow. The images are such an important part of the adventure and once again, you have delivered with that charming style.

    • avatar Mrs. Toad says:

      Thank you so much Jimi for your thoughtful comments! We are truly blessed to be able to share our adventures with great friends such as yourself.

  8. avatar Len Saltiel says:

    Awesome images and write-up Toad. That totem is so cool.

    • avatar Mrs. Toad says:

      Thank you Len! I think you will really love the series we have planned on Totem poles coming at some point this summer. Our town is known as “the town of Totems”! Our little town has a story on every corner, literally!

  9. avatar LensScaper says:

    Another notelet from you, Mrs Toad, that is profound. On the door of an old pine corner cupboard we have a wonderful eagle in classic back and red colours to remember our tour around BC and down the island back in about 1997. And guess where we bought that – Nanaimo. Isn’t life strange sometimes? We asked the man in the shop what Nanaimo meant. He told us after some persuading and I’m still not sure if it was true. I won’t repeat it here but it involved a Bite. True or not?

    • avatar Mrs. Toad says:

      Thank you so much Andy, it is truly a small world, indeed! I’m so glad that you got the chance to visit this wonderful town, it has such a unique and quaint charm about it. And yes! The bite is a part of Nanaimo, but the bite is named after the town and not the other way around! Cheers!