Kenora’s Spirit Tree

DSC00251Well after a month and a half of taking in as much of the diverse Canadian landscape and being on the receiving end of the extreme generosity of the friendly folk north of the 49th parallel, we’re ready to devote some time to blogging again. Today,  we find ourselves in the town of Kenora,  Ontario, 4,500km from where we started. Yet another kind Canadian (this time by the name of Gail) has brought us on a wonderful tour. We visited Tunnel Island, home of the Manitou (or Spirit) Tree. As we came upon it, I was struck by the powerful closing chapter in a text posted there adding context to the spectacle.

“The life of the tree is the life of the people – If they destroy it or turn away from it, they will lose their power and become sick, they will cease to dream and see visions, they will be unable to tell the truth and deal with each other honestly, they will forget how to survive on their own land… these things would come to pass but the tree would never die because a day would come when people would awaken and again would seek the tree.”

DSC00254The Ojibwa nations who were caretakers of this land believed in the inter-relationship between humanity and nature, spirit and matter, the individual and the cosmos. I thought about my own adolescent abandoning of nature to the ecstatic thrill of other peoples approval of me, and my gradual return to a relationship with the land and the elements. Being in Canada, with it’s mass of forest, rocks, prairies, lakes and wildlife has helped with this transition greatly. The presence of snakes and bears have served as a bolt of life in me, making me feel like I belong in a food chain, not on top of it. The threat of extremes in weather and distances from one town to the next requires a greater awareness and respect for nature. I have a feeling that these sensations that have been rekindled will make it difficult to leave and only hope they are feelings I can bring with me.




About martin4olga

We're planning to travel as much of the world as possible and as inexpensively and environmentally as possible, with a view to having strong cultural experiences, building connections with native people through conversation and activity, and gaining a greater understanding of the interconnectivity of humanity.
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