For a few weeks now I have been trying to figure out what my life looks like post-publishing my book The Storyteller to Kindle. Well now I know. It looks like Barefoot in the Park...
Today was fabulously sunny and that meant out in the park and the beach for a few hours. I had planned to take a path I seldom trod upon, first stop the rose garden. The garden was glorious, perfectly manicured. Yes, I stopped to smell the roses, even chatted about the wonderful fragrance with another visitor whose smile was beaming. She was holding her sandals and walking barefoot. I took note of that with only a brief glance. I never walk barefoot.
I continued on as planned, strolling inside a natural clearing which is encircled with trees and not visible and therefore seldom visited ~ a perfect spot for meditation. But meditation wasn’t on my agenda, at least the sit-quietly type. I find I am most always in a meditative state while on a solitary walk. I stopped to eat lunch on a bench. As I got up I noticed I was close to the new Aboriginal Village and the little train they have converted. Ever since I was a child I have been drawn to Aboriginals. Perhaps it was because I lived near one of the largest First Nations reservations in Canada, the Bloods, perhaps because I spent a few summers at my father’s farm in northern Saskatchewan not too far from Duck Lake, where the notorious Metis, Louis Riel, was executed for ‘high treason’. My first crush was a Metis from that area. He was devilishly handsome, dark blue eyes and a dimpled smile. I thought he liked me back, but in hindsight he was probably just showing off to his mates, :-) ).
As I stepped through the carved entrance, I noticed the site was more than the train. There were pathways and wonderful little carved directional signs. The first one I saw pointed left... toward The Storyteller circle! I stayed right because there were several kiosks on that path. As I strolled past one, a beautiful young boy of perhaps 12 (he could have been the above Meti’s younger brother with his blue eyes, dark face and dimpled smile) asked if I liked the goods he was selling. I did like them, have never seen anything like them in fact. He went on to explain how these precious pieces of art were made. All the while he was grinning broadly, obviously proud of the work. He peeled a bit of birch off a piece of bark, so thin one could see through it, explaining that it must be paper-thin and fresh and that the art was made by biting the bark. One must use only one sharp edge of a tooth, otherwise the design is ruined. It is the ancient First Nations Art of Birch Bark Biting and can be found at Chase BC: www.halfmoonstudios.com . The young man, whose name I asked but promptly forgot, urggh, is proudly apprenticing for this art. I had no money on me.
Next stop of note was a kiosk selling Bannock. I love bannock. My uncle at the farm in Sask used to make it and I buy it whenever I encounter it. But I had no money on me and besides had just had lunch. I determined that I will go back there tomorrow and buy what they call a ‘Native taco’, spiced buffalo meat in bannock! I cannot wait to try that. I will also buy a single piece of bannock, and may even dishonour it by adding sugar and cinnamon, something our brothers do for us silly Colonials.
Continuing on I passed several kiosks where artists were hard at work basket making and carving. When I reached The Storyteller circle I discovered I had missed the event by a few minutes. I also discovered they had been there every day since July! How could I have been so unaware! I circled back to the entertainment stage, which is perched over water, and watched the show which was just beginning. Naturally it was wonderful – an interpretive dance with masks and only a drum to accompany it. Drums are another of the things which draw me in and resonate with me (yep, I made a pun).
So where does the Barefoot in the Park come in, you are wondering? Well, I changed my planned route after that. I did go past the horses, I did go to Beaver Lake and I did follow the stream to the Seawall, all as planned. But by then my feet were beginning to develop blisters in a few spots. I decided to cut back past the water park. A few steps up that path the blisters were ballooning. I have not walked barefoot in too many years to count, not even on the beach - I don’t like getting my feet dirty. With the biggest grin on my face, I stepped out of my sandals and walked back through the park barefoot. This took a bit of manoeuvring. The pavement was hot and gravelly and I had to watch where I was walking (I leave it the reader to imagine what I was dodging), especially when I got out of the park and onto city streets. I found cobblestones easiest and there were some grassy areas which were soft and cooled things down.
For a few tomorrows I intend to get my chores done early and have lunch at the Village, take in The Storyteller at one and then the entertainment at two. May I just add all of this is free. I have no idea how I am going to be performing this feat however. I now have blisters on the bottoms of my feet!
It may not be barefoot, but the freedom I felt today is what my new life looks like!
First posted to my blog Aug.25, 2010
Causes Sharon Tillotson Supports
Leukemia Research Foundation of Canada
Kidney Foundation of Canada