Kids, I was given a gift yesterday. This week has been rather hectic, as I trundled dogs back and forth to the vet and the groomers, as well as going back and forth to the hospital to visit my friend, Faiza, whose heart is feeling the stress of two years of caregiving her husband, and his recent loss. Yesterday, when I arrived to see her, the hospital lobby was in the middle of a celebration. The Vancouver Island Health Authority and the First Nations community, the Tseshaht, came together to raise awareness of First Nations culture, to share community, and to celebrate Solstice and the opening of a labyrinth on the hospital grounds.
Wow. I was really impressed - this is pretty advanced for this little mill town. I was stoked.
Below a Tseshaht singer sings a welcome song.
Chief Cliff Atleo spoke, then sang a celebration song.
First Nations women, dancing in support of the men's singing.
The labyrinth, whose mere existence makes me so happy.
Walking the labyrinth, singing an African Song of Peace.
Tseshaht dancers, led by an enchanting tiny dancer.
I could not take my eyes off her - so lovely to see
a young one
following the traditions of her people.
With great confidence and composure,
she led the women through the dance.
Beautiful tiny dancer!
A soft, warm west wind began to blow.
This tree blooms outside the hospital's doors.
This is the view the patients see from the front entrance - our town lies in a valley
ringed by these blue hills. That's why our skies are gray so much of the time. We capture
the condensation that forms a cloud cover. This year it is taking an unusually long time to lift.
This is the view from the parking lot. Often, deer tiptoe through, as they travel from forests on either side of the building. Altogether, it was a heartwarming day, though I am worried about Faiza. I have so missed the First Nations community, whom I lived and worked among for so many years in Tofino.
The treatment center I worked at has moved to Port. I have decided I will begin to attend their Bluebead ceremony at the end of each session. Only one of the people I worked with remains at the center. But I need to listen to the singing and the drums, the speeches from the honest hearts of these beautiful people, and hear their ready laughter once again.
I am pretty happy to know there are people of vision after all, in this little mill town, who made this day of coming together, respect, celebration - and the labyrinth itself - possible.
I will return to walk it when there are no people there. It will be wondrous to walk a labyrinth once more. It has been too long.