ṮÁȽEṈ / Salt Spring Island, British Columbia
Keep watch, dear Lord, with those who work, or watch, or weep this night; and give your angels charge over those who sleep. Tend the sick, Lord Christ, give rest to the weary, bless the dying, soothe the suffering, pity the afflicted, shield the joyous, and all, for your love's sake. Amen.
We are a household on a hill — two hills, actually — on a ridge beneath the eastern slopes of ĆU¸ÁÁN (Mt. Tuam.) The land on which we live was long a place of gathering, a place of life, for indigenous SENĆOŦEN-speaking people. We, imperfectly, are mindful of their history and their presence in this place.
From one hill of this land, we can see Boundary Bay, Deltaport, Burnaby Mountain, and the mountains of North Vancouver; we stare out at the Salish Sea, across the San Juan Islands, and find Mt. Pilchuk rising above the horizon; Fulford Harbour, the Southern Gulf Islands, and Mt. Baker and other glimpses of the Cascade Range surprise us through the trees.
From another hill, we can see southern Vancouver Island, the Saanich Inlet, and the Olympic Range, and we descend into the forest.
In the forest we encounter rocks and fungi, we wallow in a red cedar swamp, we find markers of the recent and distant past both. We find remnants of old growth trees, long harvested. We befriend mosses and salal in the rain, and watch orchids and wildflowers spring from the ground. There are hollows and heights, there are fields and landscape so thick with trees the ground disappears.
Day and night, we see the lights and hear the moving of ships, of ferries, of planes. We greet ravens, vultures, eagles, hawks, and owls. We watch the arbutus and fir grow together. We eat and drink of what the land provides. All of it is beautiful, all of it is good, and all of it is whole.
Everywhere we go, we are surrounded by life.
That life is hope, and that life is home.
Everywhere we look, we are drawn out of ourselves and connected to distant people and places, to distant times and lives. Everywhere we go, we are drawn into ourselves, to explore as fully as we can this moment, this place, this experience.
We are very grateful for our life here.
Seal by Robin Casey.