Dahlia Drives into Space and Time
In Wade Davis’s book “Into the Silence; The Great War, Mallory, and the Conquest of Everest”, during Mallory’s journey through Tibet a monk was asked the distance to the next village. His response was “Three cups of tea”. I discover so much space in that Tibetan’s concept of distance and time: the warmth of a cup, the nurturing of liquids, the communion of ritual and the honour of rest for the body. Within the confines of those 3 cups of tea sits endless possibility. Our ubiquitous acceptance of seconds, minutes, hours, days, months and years to define our relationship to ourselves and the world, without any contextual reference to our or the world’s physical body, contracts time and space rather than expands it. An hour is not a living concept. It does not breathe. Where does a minute live in the body? Where does a mile live in the sea?
Time breathes on Haida Gwaii. The ocean and wind are too loud to be hushed by pendulum swings. The tide is relentless both visually, as it covers and reveals the shore, and viscerally, as it drums different rhythms on our boat’s hull. The eagles fly in mysterious patterns, the ravens chatter in a myriad of voices, the mist dries salty on my face and new life buds bright red in leaden trees. The gifts from the ocean connect us to the unseen world.
Although the city creates its own fractalled universe of balanced repetition, it is founded on the bedrock of the 24 hour clock, the 12” foot, the price per square foot, the mile to the closest store; reflecting those measurements of time and space in every facet of its structure. Much as a television comedy show must fit its ideas into a 30 minute sound byte with a scheduled portion for sales, the space=money=time foundation of the city is the message.
In Haida Gwaii, there is no word for goodbye because all things are one and will, at some cup of tea, meet again. “Haws dang hl kingsaang”, a Haida goodbye, translates as “We will meet again”.
So Haida time is pretty loose. Loose and heading for chaos when you want to run a course and have an agenda on a 24 hour clock. Today the students and I dug up our rust dyed cloth. The cloth stayed in the ground for an extra week because nobody showed up last week. Where does Wednesday live in the body?
This is what rust plus fibre plus time plus breath (needs oxygen) plus weight (sand) looks like after 3 weeks (62 tidal breaths).
My present connection to breath (besides keeping me alive) is largely influenced by an 8 week course I have been attending on mindfulness. The course is about creating space by connecting breath to the body right here, right now. I have found it very helpful for my dance with depression. I even painted a painting which embraces the layers of time and space I have experienced here in Haida Gwaii. In what I consider to be a brave move, I entered it into the All Island Art Show which opened Feb 13 at the Skidegate Museum. It is called “I am here.” Check out the entire online catelogue at http://www.hgartscouncil.ca/indexphp/events/all-island-art-show-1
Sandy says he has never seen me sit so still and quiet as when I am meditating. Me neither. I have always worked toward filling up space and running away from idle time where fear and sadness had an empty landscape upon which to travel. That habit has not been serving me for the past 40 years so I am trying something new!
This being human is a guest house.
Every morning a new arrival.
A joy, a depression, a meanness,
Some momentary awareness comes
as an unexpected visitor.
Welcome and entertain them all!
Even if they are a crowd of sorrows,
Who violently sweep your house
empty of its furniture,
Still treat each guest honorably.
He may be cleaning you out
for some new delight.
The dark thought, the shame, the malice,
meet them at the door laughing,
and invite them in.
Be grateful for whoever comes,
Because each has been sent
As a guide from beyond.
Re Dahlia Drive, I feel very fortunate for the opportunity to collaborate with Corrine Hunt on a line of clothing! I am super excited. Corrine is an awesome, progressive designer who co-designed the medals for the 2010 Olympics! Corrine was born in Alert Bay and lives in Vancouver. We are looking for a launch at the April 2015 Eco Fashion Week! Shall keep you posted! Check her work out at www.corrinehunt.ca.
Love creates space.
Space creates space
Wonder creates space
Miracles create space
Wendy the dahlia in the drive