Saturday, July 09, 2005

Siwash Rock

In Vancouver, if you walk along the sea wall path, by the shores of English Bay, past Third Beach, you will come close to a
tall, uneven edged pillar of rock, rising out of the water, called Siwash Rock. The other day, I went with a much travelled
visiting friend, with this intriguing natural formation, as the outer destination of our afternoon walk. I paused when we were
about thirty meters away, to show her how this rock, from that distance. looks like a Native elder, with a blanket over his
or her shoulders, looking out towards the sea, with even the subtle touch of a small rounded tree, growing out of the back
of his or her hair, like a tuft of decorative or ceremonial feathers. Closer, we looked at the plaque on the sea wall, across from this mysterious rock. It mentioned how Skalsh, a Squawmish hero, was turned to Siwash Rock, as a reward for his
great unselfishness, in the service of his people. I mentioned to my friend, how being transformed into stone, is regarded as
a high honour in the stories of the Squawmish people, and how it was diametrically opposite to the European concept, where
being turned into stone, was a punishment and not an honouring. You can make what you will of this difference in outlook,
but one thing I do see about the Squawmish way, is that it makes utter natural sense, on this Earth, where flora, fauna and
flesh and blood folk, live their short lives then disappear. It is memorials, carved out of stone, either mysteriously or by
human effort, that go on and on, standing through the relentless forward flowing, of the unforgiving River of Time...............


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