Life Musings, North America, Travel Stories

The Spirit of the Land Pt. 1

“It’s like the Spirit of the land is missing,” she told me. 

It took me more than a year to write these words but I contemplated them, often. If it’s true, where did it go? And why?

We were in Washington, hiking through Hoh rainforest on a girls’ trip that I can only dream of now. Ferns brushed our ankles, a river ran parallel to the dirt path and we climbed over stretched out, knobby roots belonging to ancient trees casually, drenched in humidity and reflection.

At the end of the trail we came to the Elwha river restoration project. After decades of man made restraint, water flowed freely through the canyon below. A cledon. 

When I dream, I dream of bus routes that end in open fields. I dream of cities surrounding lakes so crystal pure you can see all the way to the bottom. I dream of the Spirit of the land returning.

It is rising. I can feel it. This is just the beginning.

If we want to hear we have to connect in a way that’s deeper, not as curators of relics or passive viewers of history but as couriers of a spirit that longs to be restored both within and without. 

I wrote this after visiting the Royal BC Museum. It was full of artifacts collected (stolen) from first nation people. In some of the displays, there were items missing with an explanation that the tribes the artifacts belonged to had successfully lobbied for their return. Hope.

There were people(s) who knew intimately the spirit of the land because it was inside them. They were not separate from the beauty or terror of nature but revered it. Their stories have been rewritten, if not entirely erased but there are vestiges- names left behind. Clues yet to be uncovered, stories whose truth cannot be diminished by the passage of time or the persistence of colonialism. Images and reminders that they are still with us. It is not yet too late.  

This winter, I’ll be embarking on a journey of remembering. Of deep listening to the land, of seeking to hear the whispers of the ancestors. I’m not sure about anything but the invitation: 

The Earth is activating her healing power. There is an opening for those who are willing to become empty to receive, willing to surrender in order to serve. Will you answer the call? 

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