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Taking shape

writing paper

Gwaii Haanas Legacy Pole

So last night I lay down at about 7 for a little nap. It’s now 2 a.m., and while I’m ready to go back to sleep this instant, thought I’d do a little bloggy post.

Yesterday, Mason, the crew and I spend time with Jaalen and Gwaii Edenshaw — two incredible carvers on Haida Gwaii who are currently working on the Gwaii Haanas Legacy Pole. Coincidentally, they also carved the pole in my former home, Jasper, AB.

The work these two do is simply gorgeous, and I was fascinated at the intricate movements of their tiny tools as they worked on each section, with the deliberations unique to a patient artist.

I was reminded of Brian on the river back in Squamish, and how like fly-fishing, carving a totem pole is not about the outcome of an act so much as it is the process. Jaalen laughed when I asked if he looked forward to the raising of the pole, because as he said, if he did then he’d probably never finish carving it.

I tend to be a goal-oriented person. I love checking things off my list. Finishing a book and hearing the gentle thud as a I close it for the last time is one of my favourite sounds: The sound of satisfaction as I mentally cross that book off my list.

But to focus on the end in any act removes you from the only thing that truly exists: the present. I know I’ve talked about this in previous blogs, but it’s such an important lesson that I feel I’m only starting to truly appreciate.  Like carving a totem pole, some lessons have to work their way through the resistant outer layers before leaving their intended impression.

I am grateful for this realization, and more so to the teachers I’ve met recently who are helping carve it into my conscious self.