Hi there. Well, another switch today as I fill in for Sarah while she returns our nephew and niece to their home across the border.
I went for a run earlier this evening along my normal route that takes me through a local wooded park. Each time I go there, I run past a trail that I remember as one where Nick and I, perhaps three years ago now, came across an older woman working with a large pile of rocks. On this particular day, she’d taken a number of these rocks and had outlined a large circle, within which were other piles of stones arranged almost in Inukshuk form, with various flowers and twigs sticking out here and there. This had not been the first time we’d happened upon these creations in this spot – in fact, Nick and I had made a point of biking by there fairly regularly just to see what the daily output was. Each time it was very different, clearly having been rebuilt from the rubble caused by bands of teenagers that frequented the park. Anyway, on this one day, Nick and I were given the opportunity to meet the artist herself. She looked in her sixties, a thin face framed by long, stringy grey hair. She wore a brimmed hat and loose clothes. And a warm smile. We struck up a conversation with her, and she’d explained that some five years earlier, she had been diagnosed with cancer after living a very stressful life in the business world. Her life in the balance, she gave up her work to focus on fighting her illness, and a part of her remedy was a daily visit to this very spot to create. The place had become her sanctuary, she’d said, certain that an energy existed here that gave her strength to fight, and the peaceful existence she needed.
Nick and I had left that meeting very uplifted, and have many time since returned, never to see her but only her latest production. But the last few times I have stopped by, all that confronted me were stones strewn about the ground. Today, they were placed in a pile, with a lone stick poking out of the top, but the crudeness of this suggested that this was not her doing. I wonder now what has happened to her. Has she moved on in her life, strong again, this place having played its role? Has she died, having lost the fight? In the end, I suppose, even one extra day is a day worth fighting for. And it is a reminder that we must not allow life to get away from us without fully experiencing it. It is the nature of our fast-paced, stressful society that this happens all too often. Finding our own sanctuary, whatever or wherever that may be, is so important. A place to which we can retire to centre ourselves.
Have a nice weekend.
In the Lee…