Thanks to the West Coast's exceptional first responders

Thanks to the West Coast's exceptional first responders

Behest of the West: Love and be loved by all this Coast

The Feast of Saint Valentine lands next week. I hope you’re ready to dip into the day’s candied romance.

An insufferable assortment of aggressively egregious viruses robbed January from me and I’m entirely unprepared for our annual celebration of love.

The Feast of Saint Valentine lands next week. I hope you’re ready to dip into the day’s candied romance.

Whether you plan on spending Feb. 14 with a longtime loved one, a brand new bae, or a beer on the beach, I hope you let your passion run unleashed.

We clamour for a lot on this Coast. Ucluelet wants bylaw enforcement. Tofino wants more taxation power. One thing we’re never short of is love.

We’re bound by it. We’re covered with it. We’re basking in it.

My house was full of it on Saturday as my 1-year-old, apparently anaphylactic, daughter clung to me confident I could make her discomfort disappear. She was the colour of her name and I’ve never felt so useless.

Crimson had licked a kiwi fruit that puffed her tiny body into a blister-ball. Her face looked like a grapefruit that had been run over by a bus and her twinkling little eyes were so swollen, you could barely see the beautiful curiosity they’re filled with.

The helplessness that abounds when you’re holding a child you can’t help is torture. Life with kids can get dark on a dime.

My inability to be a hero was disorientingly chilling, but this Coast had my back.

It has all our backs.

If I said minutes passed between 911 being called and my living room filling up with first responders, I’d be overshooting the timeframe. Seconds seems more accurate.

Cops, firefighters, paramedics; everyone was there and everyone was amazing.

With choreographed maneuvering Lady Gaga would envy, they kept my two other toddlers entertained while they cooed away Crimson’s lack of respect for authority and convinced her to trust them and let them light her way.

Their love for her was astounding and my love for them knows no bounds.

The locals that tackle our emergencies spoil us.

This area is much too rural for the care we share yet, somehow, it’s there whenever we need it. Legitimate heroes live here.

The buttress our neighbours buoy us with is constant and the security we share is rare. Make sure you take the time to appreciate that. The world gets dark, no matter how carefully you live in it, and, someday, you’ll need this Coast’s love to light your way.

At Tofino’s hospital, we learned epinephrine autoinjectors are in our future. I’ve never used an epipen before and the thought of that changing is hideously nerve-inducing.

We also learned Crimson’s kiwi allergy likely means all tropical, citrusy fruits are off the table. She’ll never understand her dad’s fight for pineapples’ right to be in pizzerias everywhere.

Her twin sister Clover is probably in the same boat. They share the same DNA.

During the hours we spent at the hospital, we read ‘Let’s Turn it Off,’ published by Save our Planet. Because of course we did. Tofino is Tofino whether you’re on the beach, in a bar or at the hospital.

It’s not just a love for each other we share, it’s a love for the backyard that surrounds us.

Roughly a month after we celebrate our love for each other this Valentine’s Day, the endurance of our love for this place will be tested.

Lineups will appear at every shop, RV’s will block every roadway and parking will vanish before our eyes.

Always remember we’re in this together. Take the time to appreciate your neighbours.

We’re each others’ Valentines. Let’s make sure we know how much we love, and are loved by, this place. Our hearts belong to each other. We’re thriving in the same Coastal bliss and there is no paradise as supportive as the one we’re living in.