Every summer I spend hours in the boat taking photographs of the landscape I love so much. It still amazes me how every day is different out on the bay.
In November I was invited to participate in some sharing in our school board for our Indigenous People’s Awareness Month. I decided to begin with my family’s story, showing how they moved and adapted from the fur trade to today. I wanted to post the talk here so my family would be able to easily access it.
The talk was delivered on Google Meet and then posted on the board’s YouTube channel alongside the videos of other guests so classes could go back and access it when needed.
The sash is a symbol of the history of the Métis. I am proud of my heritage and look forward to continuing to learn more.
I wanted to stand next to Gereaux Island Lighthouse, my feet on the rock my ancestors stood upon for so many years. I dreamed to see Georgian Bay from their perspective. What did Grandpa notice here growing up as a child? How can I see through his eyes? How can I learn about living on an island?
This summer everything aligned beautifully. We finally docked our boat and took a self-directed tour of Gereaux Island. For over 60 years my ancestors lived on this land, fed from these waters. My Grandfather grew up living here. Today, my parents live about 1 km away.
Vibrant energy. Time disappeared. The sun, breeze, and waves all sang the same song: welcome home. How can a place hold so much?
The island felt bigger on shore than looking at it from the water. It was hot when I thought it would be cool. My feet ached to memorize each step, each crevice in the granite. My eyes squished to gaze through the walls of the house and tower to imagine life inside. Unfortunately, the building was closed. The Coast Guards told us everything has been stripped inside and it’s unsafe for people to enter.
I took home a piece a granite to remember this visit, to hold onto the energy. We will visit again. This island has more lessons and stories for me to learn.
Here are some pictures from the visit:
This morning I sit by my first garden, between the early morning shining sun in the east and the fading moon in the west. My feet in the cool grass. Two cardinals sing in the trees. A gold finch waits by the feeder. Ravens fly from rooftop to rooftop, watching me as I watch them. Since yesterday’s rain the humidity is gone and a breeze rustles the trees, their arms sway against a cerulean sky. It is then I knew my gardener’s soul arrived.
I’ve always loved the book The Secret Garden, a story about the healing power of a garden. Although my garden is for vegetables, the process of bringing it to life and watching it grow is more rewarding than I could have imagined. My only regret is not planting one sooner.
June is Indigenous History Month in Canada. To acknowledge and celebrate with my students this year, I created a video to share my family’s story.
What a beautiful Family Day long weekend! A friend and I took advantage of the sunshine and went to Port Hope for a walk along Lake Ontario. Finding a sculpture family and seeing a swan was a wonderful surprise! I haven’t used my camera since the Fall so it was nice to take it out to play.
In Winter the sun winked
from over the lake
welcoming our voices to
wind Cat to King.
We meet poetry in kindness
as he sips sweetly
hugging our words
as we share poetry.
We taste his twelve ways
of graceful inspiration
his voice inviting creation,
offering spaces for all of us to raise
a community of poetic relations.
A story of a witty
to live flatly
on the page…
He sways and he sings
verses outside of time
building ballad opera
for laughter and sanity
a legacy of shelter,
a town of poetry:
In Winter, the sun winked…
By Jessica Outram
Written in honour of Eric Winter: February 4, 1923 – December 21, 2019.
“Eric Winter was appointed as the 1st Poet Laureate July 21, 1997. He continued in the role until August 24, 2009. Eric was made the inaugural Laureate in anticipation of and as part of the 1998 year-long Heritage Celebration to mark the 200th anniversary of the first settlements that now make up the municipality. Eric held the post for 12 years, 1 month and 3 days.”James Pickersgill
Eric Winter was featured in Poetry Present twice.