After a strange and difficult morning I attended the convocation at UBC Okanagan where Alex Janvier was awarded an honorary doctorate. If you’re Canadian and don’t know his work I strongly suggest you google it. He’s a brilliant artist and one of the Indigenous Group of Seven. He talked about hope as a means to move through, he shared about residential schools and the insanity of injustice reaped on the First Nations people of Canada. I cried. It was a good cry, his words allowed for reflection and a time of understanding and revealing what colonization feels like. I get it. The wisdom of these elders in our presence cannot go unnoticed any longer. As an artist, his work is exceptional, as a human he gave the grace of relationship to people looking for a future. What a gift.
Later in the day I had a call from my good friend Chelsea Robinson. She’s the mind behind a collaboration with Lisa White, a Haida woman and Director of Tluu Xaadaa Naay Society in Old Masset. These women are the bone of the On Root Project, an invitation to artists to come and witness the old growth forests and their horrible companion, clear cuts. I’m a part of this project and am so grateful to be participating as witness and reflector of these times. That’s in July. For the rest of June I’ll be teaching Talking To Trees classes (link below) and then at the end of July I’ll be in Rock Creek for a weekend saying goodbye to a brilliant woman whose life ended a year ago. In August I’ll be Nakusp for a celebration and then I’ll be gone from Woodhaven.
Amidst all the joy and loss there’s something inside that rattles at my bones, that takes a trip through the mycelium and loans its voice to this forest that has been my companion. That rattle shakes me up and drops me into the next step, always the next step. Thank you Alex Janvier for your words.