1. EVERY STROKE WE TAKE IS ONE LESS WE HAVE TO MAKE
Keep going! Even against the most relentless wind or retrograde tide, somehow a canoe moves forward. This mystery can only be explained by the fact that each pull forward is a real movement and not a delusion.
2. THERE IS TO BE NO ABUSE OF SELF OR OTHERS
Respect and trust cannot exist in anger. It has to be thrown overboard, so the sea can cleanse it. It has to be washed off the hands and cast into the air, so the stars can take care of it. We always look back at the shallows we pulled through, amazed at how powerful we thought those dangers were.
3. BE FLEXIBLE
The adaptable animal survives. If you get tired, ship your paddle and rest. If you get hungry, put in on the beach and eat a few oysters. If you can't figure one way to make it, do something new. When the wind confronts you, sometimes you're supposed to go the other way.
4. THE GIFT OF EACH ENRICHES ALL
Every story is important. The bow, the stern, the skipper, the power puller in the middle ‑everyone is part of the movement. The elder sits in her cedar at the front, singing her paddle song, praying for us all. The weary paddler resting is still ballast. And there is always that time when the crew needs some joke, some remark, some silence to keep going, and the least likely person provides.
5. WE ALL PULL AND SUPPORT EACH OTHER
Nothing occurs in isolation. When we aren't in the family of a canoe, we are not ready for whatever comes. The family can argue, mock, ignore each other at its worst, but that family will never let itself sink. A canoe that lets itself sink is certainly wiser never to leave the beach. When we know that we are not alone in our actions, we also know we are lifted up by everyone else.
6. A HUNGRY PERSON HAS NO CHARITY
Always nourish yourself. The bitter person, thinking that sacrifice means self‑destruction, shares mostly anger. A paddler who doesn't eat at the feasts doesn't have enough strength to paddle in the morning. Take that sandwich they throw at you at 2.00 AM.! The gift of who you are only enters the world when you are strong enough to own it.
7. EXPERIENCES ARE NOT ENHANCED THROUGH CRITICISM
Who we are, how we are, what we do, why we continue, flourish with tolerance. The canoe fellows who are grim go one way. The men and women who find the lightest flow may sometimes go slow, but when they arrive they can still sing. And they have gone all over the sea, into the air with the seagulls, under the curve of the wave with the dolphin and down to the whispering shells, under the continental shelf. Withdrawing the blame acknowledges how wonderful a part if it all every one of us really is.
8. THE JOURNEY IS WHAT WE ENJOY
Although the start is exciting and the conclusion gratefully achieved, it is the long, steady process we remember. Being part of the journey requires great preparation; being done with a journey requires great awareness; being on the journey, we are much more than ourselves. We are part of the movement of life. We have a destination, and for once our will is pure, our goal is to go on.
9. A GOOD TEACHER ALLOWS THE STUDENT TO LEARN
We can berate each other, try to force each other to understand, or we can allow each paddler to gain awareness through the ongoing journey. Nothing sustains us like that sense of potential that we can deal with things. Each paddler learns to deal with the person in front, the person behind, the water, the air, the energy; the blessing of the eagle.
10. WHEN GIVEN ANY CHOICE AT ALL BE A WORKER BEE MAKE HONEY
The Ten Rules of the Canoe were developed by the Quileute Canoe contingent for a Northwest Experimental Education Conference in 1990.
"When you look back on a lifetime and think of what has been given to the world by your presence, your fugitive presence, inevitably you think of your art, whatever it may be, as the gift you have made to the world in acknowledgment of the gift you have been given, which is the life itself. That work is not an expression of the desire for praise or recognition, or prizes, but the deepest manifestation of your gratitude for the gift of life." - Stanley Kunitz Thanks so much to whiskey river for the quote for today. It has occurred to me that my blog is nothing if not an ongoing expression of gratitude.
Watch a short video here about the Paddle to Quinault 2013.
Take a look at the map of the Canoe Journey route here. Look for Cowichan Bay on the eastern side of lower Vancouver Island. Bellingham and the Lummi Nation are almost directly east of the Cowichan First Nation.
Here's some footage from the Paddle to Lummi Canoe Journey in 2007:
"Tom Sampson shares the Creation Story with 800 people at the "What About Those Promises?" stage play premier on Saturday, June 1, 2013, Bellingham High School Auditorium." (from the Lummi Nation YouTube channel)
Listen through to the English translation at 4:40.
Ever since I heard that there was going to be a showing of a movie of a fairly recent book talk by Tim O'Brien on The Things They Carried (first published in 1990), I considered whether I should go see the 1-hour movie with a discussion afterward. The movie was part of a series called "Writers in the Limelight," presented by Village Books (Bellingham's independent book store) at the tiny Limelight Cinema in downtown Bellingham.
Since 2006 when I began this blog, I've come a long way with the things I've carried in the wake of the Vietnam War, and I questioned the wisdom of visiting those memories today. After a walk with a friend down by Bellingham Bay this morning and meeting with a group of friends afterward, I decided to risk opening old wounds in the hope of finding some healing for those old wounds.
Outside the theater, I recognized a Vietnam veteran who speaks in the local schools as a member of Veterans for Peace. There were two other men of similar age along with a few women who looked to be in their 60s. The event was sparsely attended. There may have been a few younger people, but most of the men and woman appeared to be in their 60s or older. After the movie, there was a short discussion facilitated by one of the booksellers from Village Books.
It was a wise decision for me to be there today. I can look back, look at the present, and also look forward without the haunted feeling that I lived with for so long.
What I've posted below is a similar recent book talk on The Things They Carried. It's worth listening to. After an introduction, Tim O'Brien begins speaking at about 3:40:
Saginaw Grant (Chief Big Bear in "Lone Ranger") said, "I would suggest to the people who will read this that they go see The Lone Ranger. It's not what we've seen in the past. It's going to be completely different. That's what's going to make it different. It's not the way we were portrayed in the past episodes of the old Lone Ranger. You have to see it to understand it, and to really see what we've done. I encourage especially our Native people to come and watch it."
It has just occurred to me that Gore Verbinski's "Lone Ranger" reminds me of all those years of songs by Bob Dylan that have been in my mind and heart since I was 14 years old, fifty years ago. No wonder I keep thinking about the movie. No wonder most movie critics are giving it terrible reviews. It's a movie that either speaks to you or it doesn't.
Well, the Lone Ranger and Tonto
They are ridin' down the line
Fixin' ev'rybody's troubles
Ev'rybody's 'cept mine
Somebody musta tol' 'em
That I was doin' fine
(Bob Dylan's Blues, 1963)
Just heard about "Bob Dylan: The Bootleg Series Vol. 10 (1969-1971)" which will be released on August 27:
In reading The Faraway Nearby, I learned about the Library of Water where Rebecca Solnit was a Writer in Residence in 2008. If you have time, read three of her essays that can be found at the Library of Water website.
Ever since I changed this blog's URL recently, the traffic to my blog is now pretty much limited to people whose blogs I read. There are a few mysterious readers whose locations still show up regularly on my ClusterMap. Thank you, mysterious readers, for continuing to stop by. It's just like starting over, as John Lennon once remarked. Things are pretty quiet around here. The Amaryllis on my porch is about to bloom.
("The Wild Blue Sky of Day" is a pastel drawing on paper from the early 1980s by am)
"For me, it's about making your own work in your own artistic voice," Eyre said. "One of the great qualities to come out of this is that people are talking about this, which is more than we had last week or the week before. The fact that it is engaging Native people on both sides of the conversation is an incredible thing." (Chris Eyre, director of "Smoke Signals," with its screenplayby Sherman Alexie)
I've seen "Lone Ranger" twice now because I couldn't catch it all in a single viewing and was not clear about some of the details of the story. I rarely go to movies anymore, but something prompted me to go see this one despite the nearly universal negative reviews. Both times there were fewer than 10 people in the theater. As I watched the movie credits on my second viewing a few days later, I was struck by the way the long lists of names (scrolling over a view of Monument Valley and a solitary Tonto walking into that landscape) were formatted like the names on the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington, D.C., and I suddenly pictured a vast wall with the names of all the Native people who died in the United States of America since the arrival of the Europeans in 1492. Despite all the joking and silliness in the movie, reminding me at times of "Monty Python and the Holy Grail" and Martin Scorsese's "Last Temptation of Christ," as well as "Smoke Signals," its story struck me as pensive in nature. I recommend the movie. It moved me to laughter and to tears and something that transcends both and is murky and unsettling.
"I started out in silence, writing as quietly as I had read, and
then eventually people read some of what I had written, and some of the readers
entered my world or drew me into theirs. I started out in silence and traveled
until I arrived at a voice that was heard far away –first the silent voice that
can only be read, and then I was asked to speak aloud and to read aloud. When I began to read aloud, another
voice, one I hardly recognized, emerged from my mouth. Maybe it was more
relaxed, because writing is speaking to no one and even when you’re reading to
a crowd, you’re still in that conversation with the absent, the faraway, the
not yet born, the unknown, and the long gone for whom writers write, the crowd
of the absent who hover all around the desk.
Sometime in the late nineteenth century, a poor rural English girl
who would grow up to be a writer was told by a gypsy, “You will be loved by
people you’ve never met.” This is
the odd compact with strangers who will lose themselves in your words and the
partial recompense for the solitude that makes writers and writing. You have an intimacy with the faraway
and distance from the near at hand.
Like digging a hole to China and actually coming out the other side, the
depth of that solitude of reading and then writing took me all the way through
to connect with people again in an unexpected way. It was astonishing wealth for one who had once been so
Welcome to "TALKING 37TH DREAM (RUMORS OF PEACE)".
Outside my windows that look east southeast, I can see Scudder Pond, Lake Whatcom, low mountains, and then the Cascades and the sky. When I looked out one afternoon in July 2016, I saw a rainbow and the moon.
"OLD GIRL OF THE NORTH COUNTRY" (the earliest name for my blog) was created in early December of 2006 so that I could post a 42-year retrospective of my paintings and drawings. For a while (sometime after spring of 2008) my blog was "TALKING 37TH DREAM WITH RAINBOW (RUMORS OF PEACE)". For a number of years, it's been "TALKING 37TH DREAM (RUMORS OF PEACE)." As of April 12, 2017 my blog is now titled "37TH DREAM / TALKING 37TH DREAM (RUMORS OF PEACE)".
To begin viewing the retrospective with narrative, scroll down to December 8, 2006, on this page:
How can I be useful, of what service can I be? There is something inside me, what can it be? -- Vincent van Gogh (1853-1890)
I believe that unarmed truth and unconditional love will have the final word in reality. This is why right temporarily defeated is stronger than evil triumphant. -- Martin Luther King (1929-1968)
All journeys have secret destinations of which the traveler is unaware. -- Martin Buber (1878-1965)
It is only a little planet, but how beautiful it is.
-- Robinson Jeffers
The true end of a war is the rebirth of life; the right to die peacefully in your own bed. The true end of war is the end of fear; the true end of war is the return of laughter.
-- Alfred Molano
Enjoy every sandwich -- Warren Zevon (1947-2003)
Not in God's wilds will you ever hear the sad moan, "All is vanity." No, we are paid a thousand times for all our toil, and after a single day spent outdoors in their atmosphere of strength and beauty, one could still say, should death come — even without any hope of another life — "Thank you for this most glorious gift!" and pass on.
-- John Muir (1838-1914)
Philip Henslowe: Mr. Fennyman, allow me to explain about the theatre business. The natural condition is one of insurmountable obstacles on the road to imminent disaster. Hugh Fennyman: So what do we do? Philip Henslowe: Nothing. Strangely enough, it all turns out well. Hugh Fennyman: How? Philip Henslowe: I don't know. It's a mystery.