Thursday, January 10, 2008

Can a Story Change?

According to traditional stories, in the dreamtime a grizzly bear tried to jump across the water from the mainland to Vancouver Island. It almost made it, too, but, unfortunately, landed just on the edge of the water, which instantly turned it to stone. This is that rock. It's in Campbell River, a 30 minute walk from my house, and right across Discovery Passage from Quadra Island.

But look what's happened to it! I walked there last week to take pictures of the graffiti, because I think graffiti is the art of our time: so many people just wanting to write their names, to get some kind of permanence. I mean, how honest!

Since the tide was low, I walked around to the water side of the rock, to see what was painted there. When I saw this eye, I just had to take a picture of it, but it was only when I put my own eye to the camera lens that I saw the salmon, instantly take shape from the rock. When I lifted the camera away from my eye, the salmon vanished; it needed the camera to flatten the depth of the rock, like looking at a constellation deep in the night sky.

Well, that's the news from here in Campbell River. I'm making notes to write a book about the dreamtime. Up in the Interior of British Columbia it happened along the rivers. These megalithic rocks, beasts turned to stone, line the Fraser and the Thompson Rivers, and the salmon that fight their way into the grasslands to spawn must swim past them all. Here, the dreamtime took place under the sea, and in the tidal zone.

That's where the dreams are. That's where civilization started here. And art.

If you have any stories about the undersea world, I'd love to hear.

Happy New Year!

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