Wednesday, May 12, 2021



Tlaa-Ka-chiis (Tonquin) Guardian

Tlaa-Ka-chiis (ƛaakačiis) 
Tonquin guardian,
Grandmother Cedar,
your proud spires
fork the sky.

When you and the land were young,
so many years ago,
the Nuu-chah-nulth people
walked your trails
with soft footsteps and respect.
In those days, they tell us, humans,
wild ones and trees were kin
who spoke to one another.
Salmon were plentiful; wolves
and whales and bears were fat.

High on your trunk, the marks
where women once stripped cedar
for their baskets and ceremonial hats
proclaim the long history
of the First People of this place
(the all along the water people,
at home in their Ha'houlthee.
They were careful; when they
peeled your bark, they did it respectfully,
thanked you, then took no more,
so you could heal.

You have witnessed many years;
the world around you has changed
greatly from the one you knew.
You of the forest talk to each other still,
but we mamalthni have forgotten
how to hear.

Small and contrite, I gaze upwards
at your majesty.
Guardian, keeper of the forest,
gateway to the beyond-human realm,
I share this green moment with you.
You breathe out; I breathe in -
fierce love, this moment of
consciousness, of connection,
of Being Tree.
I come away from you

for my prompt at earthweal: Fierce Love

Tlaa-Ka-chiis - Tonquin - stands on the beach because the whales like to "stand up" there 
Nuu-chah nulth means all along the waters people
Ha-Hoothlee - territory
mamalthni - white people


  1. This is inspiring, Sherry. It must be a wonderful thing to feel transformed as you are by this connection.

  2. What a wonderful experience you have shared here, Sherry. I envy you. But it also reminds me of the first time I visited The Natural Bridge State Park, here in Wisconsin. I sat for a very long time, in front of the cave there that was once home to Paleolithic Indians in times long past. And I felt some of what you express here. Thank you,


  3. What reverence and honour in these words - thank you for sharing this beauty with us.

  4. To know a tree that well is a gift.

  5. This is so beautiful Sherry, to share a green moment with this wonderful tree breathing in and out fierce love - what a blessing xxx

  6. A fierce love is intimate knowledge, as a walker has of this Tree -- cares enough for substance and being that love is history. You're reading The Overstory now, what that book gifted me with is the sense of how powerful and regnant trees are in stillness, rooted in place and helpless at the same time without loving community. All of that here.

  7. I love this piece with all the Tonquin words: there's a real sense of connection to the earth here, of guardianship, and of course, fierce love.


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