Friday, September 19, 2008

Kingcome, again, and return trip...

I made it back to Bellingham, and I have a tourney tomorrow, so all is right in the world, I guess.
Kingcome was quite an experience, I think I'll try to go back if Abe is there again next year. I wrote some things about the feast and the return trip on the way back:
The Feast:
My heart is full. I am water, and I overflow with emotion right now, a spring that was building all weekend long is pouring into my soul. The native people here are from the land, and it is theirs, and I am a visitor, yet I feel their sorrows and pain flood into me, I feel the struggle for identity and pride, and I am touched. The land has a profound effect, and I am walking barefoot in it.

Abe helped host a feast for the harvesting of some roots which are a traditional food, and I came up with my dad to see the ceremony, and since it’s a thing that hasn’t been done in a long time, the whole village is turned by the importance of such a simple thing as food. Abe made a bunch of gifts, and since it is a potlatch, he gave them out to everyone. There were dancers with masks, and the drums ring through my bones, every beat a thump from the heart of the mountains, a pounding from the earth. Others beat sticks on a log, which sends shivers down my core, and I shiver. Grouse comes out and looks at me, shaking a rattle, dancing across the floor, around the fire in the center, sending sparks and smoke up through the hole in the roof. Then Stump, and the other masks come out on the floor to dance, and the story of the forest unfolds. Children, two of them, are climbing all over me, as if I were a tree in the forest outside, and whispering in my ears and trying to pull my hair and beard. They play and make me feel like a foundation for humanity while I am humbled by the meaning and the reality outside of the forest. The land is mountains and water, bones and flesh. I am water, flowing out through the land, I am the stone, beating with the drums of the potlatch.

After, and the return trip:

I’m writing on the evening of Wednesday, September 17, 2008, around 10:00, and under way, passing Qualicum Beach out in the Strait of Georgia. We’re making better time by continuing on through the night, but there hasn’t been much wind, so we’ve been forced to motor a lot. After the feast on Sunday night, I slept pretty well, and got up to go down the river with the grad students group. We were late in getting to the docks, and therefore rushed, and I put all my gear in the other boat, then forgot to double check to make sure that everything was there, and my bag that has my jersey for the tourney this weekend was left in the hands of the grad students. So now we’re going to Victoria to collect that. We put everything (almost) on the boat, and started up the engine and went over to collect our shrimp pot, which had a few very nice sized prawns, then motored our way through the day out to Queen Charlotte Strait and across it. The day was very nice, and we saw a lot of wildlife; lots of Sea Lions out on a rock and a bunch of Humpback Whales. Humpbacks are kind of playful, in my eyes, so these ones were sticking their tails out of the water and flipping fins out, making a big splash here and there. No breaching, unfortunately, but good light for pictures. Tuesday, we got up and started away in really thick fog, which took until about noon to burn off, and we almost made it the 50 miles (nm) to Seymore Narrows, but we missed it by about an hour, so we anchored in a bay near the narrows to wait until the next morning. Throughout the day on Tuesday we saw a bunch of porpoises, some with white on the inside of the dorsal fins, which I don’t know, and some Dahl’s porpoises. The Dahl’s Porpoises chased us around for about 5 minutes and came spitting out in front of our bow, trying to ride the pressure wave. I’ve never had any kind of porpoise or dolphin do that to my sailboat, so its kind of an honor to have that. My dad and I got a nice view down over them as they were swimming there, graceful, and fast, but pulling crazy maneuvers, turning almost faster than I could follow with my eyes. Like a mirage below the waves, rippling this way and that. I like Dahl’s Porpoises, the coloration of them.

We anchored right next to an old fish pen that night and got up the next morning (this morning) at 5:45 and took off through the narrows. No trouble there, but I was expecting a bit more of a boost going through, I figured we’d get there a bit before slack and go screaming through, but we didn’t have hardly any current at all, and then it turned a little bit against us. We made it to Campbell River all right and got fuel and showers and food, then took off again, against a hard current, and motored until now. The plan is to make it to Sidney and meet up with Victoria (a grad student in Abe’s department) who has my bag of stuff, and then go to Roche Harbor to cross the border into the USA and blast on home to Bellingham. Hopefully we’ll make it by Friday. Then the tourney (sectionals) on sat, and after that, I think I’ll work on a wind vane project I think I can build for the boat.

Back in the USA! We made it to Victoria and got my bag, then managed to make it to the border crossing on time, and are presently anchored at Jones Island, in the San Juans. We’ll get in to Bellingham tomorrow sometime. This trip is winding to a close, but I feel really good about the whole thing. I looked over all the pictures I took and I’ve come a long ways since leaving the country on August 24th. Its been a month (almost) and I’ve experienced a lot of different culture, both Canadian and in Kingcome. And in Qualicum. I’ve managed to survive two weeks with my dad, and one week with Ric, and a week on my own.

I feel like I made some new friends, mostly in Kingcome, and I had children crawling over me there, which makes me wonder if I could be a dad. My dad would have a kid picking at his beard, and then they would come over and pick at mine, trying to tear little fistfuls of hair out of my chin… But the kids bestow a sense of joy that I’ve never felt before. They trust me. I guess I don’t trust myself as much as they trust me. They throw themselves into the air and I will catch them. When you have nothing, you have nothing to lose. These kids don’t worry about what they have, and then they are free. I guess I’ve been worrying a lot about the boat, and my things inside, and all sorts of things. Security, I guess. I am searching for it, instead of allowing it to be or not to be.

It feels good to be back, and to have a night of rest ahead, without worry, but I had a great time on the trip. I'm not exactly sure when I'll be back in Seattle, but probably soon.

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