It’s been nearly a month since the Cascadia Poetry Festival in Nanaimo on Vancouver Island. Even though the concept of Cascadia has been part of me since the mid-’80s, this particular gathering made it real for me in a way I hadn’t quite believed before.
It felt like a gathering of the tribes – a coming-together with shared purpose and goals – one that extended well beyond the bounds of poetry.
During the first few days at home, I was often on the verge of tears. That’s how stirred my emotions were.
And this wasn’t simply because I wasn’t sure when I would next (if ever) see some of the friends who’d been in attendance, though that could certainly have played a part in my reaction.
It was more that my soul had been stirred by ideas that had been presented. Because it was a poetry festival, many of the ideas on the table focused on language. But the depth of the ideas – how some of the presenters linked language into the very bedrock of our region – this digging down somehow reached into me.
If I could put this into words, I would. Even with this much time, I still can’t express all that I want to. Regardless of that, the knowledge remains in me – or maybe it’s only the idea of the knowledge that seems to reside inside.
And maybe these thoughts will stay there, just out of reach – it feels a bit like trying to put salt on the tail of the bird in the garden.
For now, I can only say, I plan to keep following that bird.
Postscript: This past weekend, while visiting the beach and lighthouse at Point No Point in Washington with friends, a man saw my shirt and recognized it, shouting as greeting, “Cascadia!”
So no, it’s not just me. The dream is real.