photo by Christine LowtherSpirit in the stone,
you sing to me
of bygone centuries
and ancient mystery.
Once you sat with other Grandfathers in the fire
in times that were so close to life and death.
Water splashed on stone and in the vapors
Spirit-prayers rose upon the Old Ones' breath.
The sacred smoke carried the prayers higher -
words of trust in sustenance and seasons -
up to the Spirit-world on wings of fire,
full of a gratitude that did not ask for reasons.
You once ringed communal fires upon the common,
where families came to take hot coals away,
carried them home to light their own hearth-fires
for needed warmth to keep the dark at bay.
You have known the ocean's roar, ice floe, volcano.
You have been a temple in another land.
Water and fire and earth and ice have honed you
til now you come and fit into my hand.
You connect my heart with all that has a spirit:
all that lies upon the ground and all that flies,
the Standing People and the winged ones,
those breathing peace and those soaring the skies.
Your ancient presence speaks an untold story,
has witnessed centuries of joy and pain.
I place you back on earth in testimony
to all that passes, all that will remain.
I have loved rocks all my life, feeling their connection to thousands of years ago. In my poem, I refer to the big rocks used in First Nations sweat lodges, heated in the fire, then water poured on them to make steam. In history, too, there once was a communal fire, that villagers would carry hot coals from to light their own hearth fires. Sharing light and warmth. I love that. For a time, I found heart-shaped rocks everywhere. I think that was a time when I was most heart-centered.
Here in Tofino, and all along the coastline, there are a lot of black rock cliffs and mounds. The amazing thing is how wildflowers, small bushes and even trees grow out of the rock. Tenacity. Hope.