Prince Albert Voice
When I think back to the nomadic lifestyle of my ancestors I have to admit I don’t envy the way they moved every couple of months, following the four legged animals they harvested or picking berries, gathering vegetation, or collecting fish before trapping over the winter months. On the other hand, since they were always on the move, diseases that now plague us in our more sedentary lives were not even given a moment’s thought. Sure, there may have been diseases however the “plague” that is cancer, diabetes and heart disease didn’t seem to really exist. Now, we are completely dependent on buying our food, processed and otherwise, in a grocery store and most of us are no longer “hunter and gatherers” as my ancestors were. And while I admit to enjoying a grilled juicy steak every once in a while, I prefer locally sourced food over that which has been transported across country or even imported from another country. For some foods, especially exotic fruits, I really have no choice if I want to enjoy pineapple, bananas, star fruit, jicama or avocados.
Several years ago, after I discovered the feature Weeping Willow I’d bought my house for was actually dead, I made the decision to allow the tree to naturally decompose and feed my garden. Little did I know almost twenty years later my neighbour, who needs to stand on a fence to look over into my yard, would have such a problem with the tree decomposing they would actually phone Bylaw to investigate – but that’s another story and I’m not sure how it’s going to end. All I know is I grew up in a time when supporting and giving back to Mother Nature through natural decomposition was as normal as automatically taking my next breath. As a gardener, I never thought about it, I just did it. Now a days it’s quite normal for gardeners to have several compost piles in their back yard, taking care of weeds has nothing to do with grabbing a harsh chemical and there is great pride in controlling undesirable vermin through natural and ‘green’ choices that don’t hurt the environment. Needless to say, as the weekly garbage collection is now collected twice a month, it has me thinking about the choices I make to have less of an impact on the way me and my family affect the earth. I am trying to leave a small footprint so I don’t hurt the earth. But, more importantly, I don’t want to hurt me or my family by making careless choices with harsh chemicals either.
I stopped by a large, unoccupied pond yesterday. My intentions were to watch the sun rise and burn the hoar frost from the trees. As my eyes grew accustomed to "not seeing", my hands reached to roll down my window and turn off the ignition. There is an old saying that suggests, "when you stop looking, then you will see". My Mom's grandfather taught her that and, quite honestly, it has been a part of my life philosophy. Well, when I stopped looking, I saw four rather large families of ducks, I heard the 'croaking' call of a raven and listened as geese called to one another. The ducks muttering to each other as they splashed in the water made for an equally beautiful moment as the light fog began to lift. And, as the sun rose higher in the sky, I was able to see the shadows behind round bales of hay reveal themselves to be four of the most beautiful white-tail does I've seen in a long while. They stood looking at me and I was equally as mesmerized gazing at them. When I stopped looking, I could truly see. This morning I returned to the same spot. The ducks were still at the pond but everything else was different. Life is like that, you have to capture the moment while you can or it could be lost forever.
I think I am addicted to VarageSale. For those of you not familiar with the App, you download it onto your cell phone and you’re able to make amazing deals with folks in and around Prince Albert. A few months ago I bought a variety of fabrics with the intention of teaching my daughter and I, through trial and error, how to quilt as the weather gets colder. So imagine my surprise to receive a message last month asking if I was interested in some quilting batting. For free! Of course I was and the next day I was so pleased to pick it up. Not only was it wrapped in plastic to protect it from the elements while it was outside, it was still in pristine condition. The kindness this person extended to me and my daughter leaves me nearly speechless – something that should be marked on a calendar and perhaps commemorated as a near miracle as I am very rarely at a loss for words. Ever!
Everything has a season in the life of an Aboriginal person. As the final preparations come together for winter with food preserved, frozen, dried and kept in other ways, fire wood has been hauled, chopped and piled and countless other chores continue to take place there is also time set aside for other details that enhance the quality of life we have as individuals and as a community. For instance, there is time now for more gatherings to celebrate harvest and to be thankful for having made it through the life challenges each of us has seen and struggled through. And focus is placed on the trap line and the harvest that will take place there. Some of us focus on beading, weaving and quilting projects that will keep our hands from becoming idle. Others of us look toward continuing with education, teaching others or finding mentors to learn from as well.