A reader’s suggestion for a future blog topic was to highlight how climate change is impacting the Saanich Peninsula and the Gulf Islands. The name of this geography, including the ocean in between, is W̱SÁNEĆ. This is the setting of many of my stories.
As the request settled into the back of my mind, mixing and churning over, I began paying closer attention to the world around me. Then I saw it. While standing in the forest at Centennial Park, I saw my dying relatives.
They were the kind people you know. They were the kindest people that XÁLS (haels), the W̱SÁNEĆ creator, turned into XPȺ¸(h,pey), the sacred tree. Those cedar giants that are parched, stressed and doomed in our forests, are our family. The transformer turned those kind people into a tree that produces soft, strong wood and a fibrous bark. XPȺ¸ is the source of many products manufactured by the W̱SÁNEĆ people. One such product is the rope that saved the people in the time of the great flood.
I could not see anything else once my point of focus tuned to our dehydrated relatives. I began to hear the dirge ringing throughout the small forest. The kind people are thirsty!
What will we do now we know?
There is a sorrow across the world right now. Someone recently named it for me, they called it eco-anxiety. However, the teachings shared with me offer a sense of hopefulness. “Do you think they will act in time?” my uncle asks. “Do you think they will listen and learn from these teachings?”
It’s a message of unity: we are all part of one planet. Whether in human form or in the form of the sacred tree, we are deeply connected to everything else around us. The kind people are thirsty and only once they are long past saving, we see the impact of a deep drought.
So, will we act?