|New Government Road, Lillooet, B. C. by William George Richardson Hind|
It'll have gone through an irreversible alteration and not for the better. For the betterment of some human notion of bettering the Canadian economy, wealth, or prosperity but not for any betterment of the land." Ian MacNairn, Working North: Calgary Worker Speaks on Labour Conditions in Northern Alberta and BC
In two years, I hadn't seen the ocean. The epic grasslands of Alberta prairie filled my pupils with daily life, lived fully and for the present. Answering to no one except Father Sky, Trickster Napi and the Bow River, I moved humbly through the auspicious momentums of friendship, solace, distance, rootedness, and foresight. The elegant plans of my life incinerated like a vintage map under a breaking candle. In the bitter hours, I wore my bone to nothing but pure face. And the ocean called. At summer's end, as the leaves slowly dying with bursts of peace said in the silent flesh of wood, I broke past the unanswered din of prairie sky mind. The expanses narrowed with focus of sight, and the road stretched on through mysteries immemorial: a land of hidden truth and naked passion. The Earth spun on a gamble, and the sea rose.
In two years, I hadn't seen the ocean. Firstly, through goggles of tires and binoculars of steel, I then moved through mountain fog to sail toward the island shore. Orcas lifted above the snowy crests, as solar rays burned through the misty sky raining a refreshing, and most rejuvenating, beautiful life. Water flushed my spirits in a spiralling lust, unafraid to lick the clouds and skim atop the brightening ocean. In the rain, I sang and wept oceans of longing fulfilled. The inner world lost its axis and at a loss for balance whirled in ecstatic harmony with the chaotic ring of Beginning. As the sky opened, arriving closer and closer to the island shore, my mind lunged with feline prowess over the horizon, to feel my own heart stretch across this watery earth in a divine embrace of superhuman love, of imagination and unity.
In two years, I hadn't seen the ocean. The cedar hat and drum vibrated with untouchable grace, as I remembered the northernmost step I had taken arm-in-arm with the coastal peoples of the Canadian west. How their drum sang with opulent harmonies only so sweet as when filling the cold air above the tear-blending Pacific. Under the first sun, my friend, a luthier of fine wooden drums (harvested locally) led me to meet the Black Bear, wise fool of the gentle, lazy, clumsy earth. We found sacred fungi and cooked and smoked and bore down with rhythmic intonation over the self-built family home. The forest spoke with a voice to shelter our lives with the hard woods of a door and staircase, of walls and rooms of birth, childhood, adolescence and maturity to the soft woods of art, passion and a work to spell freedom from the burdensome street of poverty, class, race, addiction and anger.
In two years, I hadn't seen the ocean. The night sky breathed light, streams raged in the subtle beyond as death called us inward to sleep under the reign of the green dragon tincture, a home concoction of herbal divinity. Sea lions surfaced to the call of the drum skins reverberating madly over ocean stones. Overlooking the snowcapped island range, we viewed the lush orchestral arrangement of oak, cedar and pine as nearby eruptions solidified into earth-bound communities, moved by the crafting of local life as it etches its place on currents of stone and seed. And so I left, speechless from the first mountaintop days ago as the journey from Alberta started, and from where it ended. To see the ocean, and to sing with the opening sky. To drum along the banks of the island range, seeing snowcapped mountains stare into the distance, over local life as it thrives and nests behind the silencing waves.
|at home in the woods|
|from where the rain begins|
|full speed behind|
|the daily unground|
|the first time we sang|
|the reason we left|
|to openness we come|
|the way of the blue unnamed|
Video Description: So far the only 36 stringed zheng, Taiwanese made long zither in the world. Great innovation it was about time this was invented(?), innovated at least, because this is my first time improvising on one this grand of a size! Grateful to the luthier and to Sonia Liu of Vancouver's "Crystal Gu-zheng Centre" for allowing me this great honour to share.