Setting off into the unknown

And not just politically.  It's been a scary week. As a committed socialist the recent election results have been hard to take. But I've also been focused on a long distance trip.  Yes, I'm leaving the country - but only for 3 weeks!  And it's one of the scariest trips of my life.  I'm heading for the wilderness,  more than 1,000 miles north of Vancouver, off the coast of Alaska.
Some of the old Mortuary poles I'm hoping to see
For the past 3 years I've been working on a new poetry collection, centred round the mythology, and the history, of the Haida people who lived on islands off the Pacific coast of Canada and Alaska for more than 8,000 years (until we arrived).  Within a couple of decades of our arrival as colonists their population was reduced from more than twenty thousand to less than five hundred. They have a unique culture - both art and poetry - which I'm hoping to experience at first hand rather than just through books.  Like most hunter gatherer societies they had a holistic approach to the environment they lived in and depended upon.  They had a saying 'Everything is connected to Everything'.  That has a very strong message for us today.

A Haida Raven
The journey is epic - seaplanes, boats and on foot.  A nightmare to book over distances online.  Every booking I make seems to be dependent on the weather, so nothing is certain.  I'll be reporting back whenever I can, via the Blog and Facebook.  This documentary trailer gives you an idea of what it's like.

I'm starting off by going to a workshop run by Martin Shaw, on Cortes Island (small seaplane to Campbell River, 2 ferries and a shuttle!) in the south.  The workshop is called 'Mythteller'.  I'm looking forward to exploring the mythologies of North America with such an expert and hoping that this retreat will help me to finish the collection.


  1. Bob Voyage Kathy. Looks like an Awfully Big Adventure. You will emerge changed,. I feel, writing more profoundly than ever, I have the Haida book on myshelvesI must take it down and refresh my mind. It's a humbling read for we who very mistakenly believe that art., story-telling an religion started with US somewhere about the Emlightenment,
    You can only have a revealing and lovely time there

  2. Wow! Good luck - it sounds wonderful, and then we'll have the poems!

  3. Thank you Wendy and Sandra! I suppose it's always possible I may not write a word when I'm there - that sometimes happens. But it's bound to have an effect though. Completely out of my comfort zone.
    Wendy - I'd forgotten that you too had read the 'Story as Sharp as a Knife'. It started me off on this journey. We'll have to meet up when I come back.

  4. This does have the makings of a profound experience. I hope all goes very smoothly and look forward to your thoughts on your experiences.

  5. Safe travelling, Kathleen -- I shall look forward to the poems to come.

    1. Thanks Helen - I'm hoping there are some poems - one can never tell!

    2. It looks amazing. What a wonderful thing to do. Hope you find much inspiration. You might want to stay there! Best wishes and safe travelling.


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