Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Reflections on Cascadia

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. 

1 comment:

Janet Vickers said...

I felt a stirring in the air there. And came away with a new awareness. It was the way the poet said in response to a woman's question about how we can achieve change when governments are not listening. He said "that's just politics". So what that opened up for me was the other million voices out there in the forest and the sea which have a compelling message for us all and politics is only about how the powerful manage power as though they own it all. This also asks questions about ownership, legitimate and illegitimate power.

Sorry I couldn't make more of the events. It was good to see you there.