Tofino surf vacation & a Gale force wedding!

Tashi and Taiga Schorr woke up on Thursday, February 9th and asked their mom, “Mom, is today the wedding day?” “Yes!” she answered. Leon and I were on our annual Tofino, B.C. surf trip with friends. This year's crew included: Erik, Megan, Taiga, and Tashi Schorr, Seth Albanese, Svetlana Petrova, David Thompson, Wendolyn Michnay, Pat Peacock, and Dan Moos. We had kept the planned wedding a secret from most people on the trip until we were on the B.C. ferry going to Vancouver Island. We did not want people to do anything special, bring gifts, or feel the need to get dressed up. My mother - Evelyn, my sister - Tara, my Aunt Milly, her friend Ron, and our friend Janet chartered a fixed wing and were able to round out the wedding party.

Leon had asked me to marry him at Cape Scott on our trip around Vancouver Island this past summer, so we thought it fitting to have our wedding happen when we were back at Tofino on our annual surf trip. We had to wait for water to recede as we planned to get everyone to walk out to a rock that was only accessible at low tide. The ocean and the weather were invited to our wedding in all of it's beautiful glory. Gale force winds and horizontal rain were fitting as we often find ourselves in these conditions when paddling on the sea. (Kōkatat was well represented at the wedding as the majority of our family and friends stayed dry in Kōkatat Storm Cags.) Werner was there too as Leon and I decided to change the tradition of “stepping over the broom stick” to “stepping over the Werner carbon Ikelos paddle” and we managed to step over the paddle together - representing a lifetime of respect and equality in our lives together.

Our good friend, Seth Albanese was our incredible officiant and started the ceremony with a poem by James Kavanaugh that Leon and I would read aloud to each other when we first met 21 years ago. In discussing this poem we found how much we shared a similar view of the world. At the time we were at University studying biology with the wild idea that someday we could reintroduce wolves back into the lower 48 states. We modified the poem to suit ourselves.

There are people gentle enough to live among wolves

~ adapted from James Kavanaugh's book “There are men too gentle to live among wolves”

This is to those who can hear the honking of geese above the sound of traffic, who can hear the weeping of boys above the sound of mortars, who refuse to take life as it is because it wasn't always. This is a book born in my heart, born in the pain of ending one life and beginning another. Born in the excitement in the continuing search for life's meaning. Some people do not have to search - they find their niche early in life and rest there seemingly contented and resigned. They do not seem to ask much of life sometimes they do not seem to take it seriously. At times I envy them but usually I do not understand them, seldom do they understand me. I am one of thesearchers, there are I believe millions of us. We are not unhappy but neither are we really content. We continue to explore life hoping to uncover it's ultimate secret, we continue to explore ourselves hoping to understand. We like to walk along the beach, we are drawn by the Ocean taken by it's power, it's unceasing motion, its mystery, and unspeakable beauty. We like forests, mountains, deserts and hidden rivers and the lonely cities as well. Our sadness is as much apart of our lives as is our laughter. To share our sadness with one we love is perhaps as great a joy as we can know. Unless it be to share our laughter. We searchers are ambitious for life itself. For everything beautiful it can provide. Most of all we want to love and be loved, we want to live in a relationship that will not impede our wandering, nor prevent our search, nor lock us in prison walls that will take us for what little we have to give. We do not want to prove ourselves to another or compete for love. This is a book for wanderers dreamers and lovers, for lonely men and women who dare to ask of life everything good and beautiful. It is for those gentle enough to live among wolves.

Janet read us two great pieces, Dan offered some words of wisdom and then Leon and I offered each other our personal vows. Seth finished the ceremony with his words which we loved:

It's interesting to me that Leon proposed in the middle of a kayak expedition, because I think there are a lot of parallels between what makes a good paddling partner and what makes a good marriage partner. You must paddle close enough to your partner to communicate clearly, to be there for them if they need help, and to share in all the joys great and small along the way.

You must do all this without paddling so close that you become a danger to each other, impede the others progress, or their enjoyment of the trip. You've managed to strike that balance together as a couple just as you have as paddlers, and I believe, you will enjoy a long, successful journey together.

We then all walked back on the land bridge before the water came back in. We met at my family's beach rental for a fabulous dinner celebration - complete with Svetlana's homemade Russian dumplings, Megan's perfect chili, and beautiful wedding cupcakes - a joint effort by Wendy, Tara, and Janet. Thanks to everyone for your help, your well wishing, your friendship, and your love. It was a day that we will surely never forget!

Please enjoy the photo collection - they were generously taken by Erik Schorr, Svetlana Petrova, Dan Moos, and Ron Moncreiff. We appreciate that our friends and family do not send us any gifts.

Sincerely, Mrs. Shawna Franklin and Mr. Leon Somme

Leon still single Leon, Tara and Shawna Shawna Shawna close up The walk out to the Rock Laughing through the rain A perfect day for a wedding! Shawna, Leon and Werner Paddle Shawna and Leon walking out to the Wedding Rock The ceremony begins The altar On the rock by the sea Words of wisdom Tara and David Ring Boys: Tashi and Taiga Shawna giving Leon his ring The bride The groom The kiss Stepping over the broomstick Skipping Married at last! Tofino surf wave Wave and Tashi Surf gang laughing Shawna and Leon Svet and David Taiga in the surf First time surfing Tashi and Taiga - surfer boys


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