Tuesday, February 17, 2009

SINGING LIKE THE WIND


Most of my regular readers will have heard this before, but I rather recently moved here to the shores of Lake Erie. Before that I lived for a long time in western Canada, in the province of Alberta – both in the city of Calgary, and then in the foothills to the southwest. One of the many small towns that dot the area is Okotoks (OH-k’tokes). The name comes directly from the Blackfoot language, and means, literally, Big Rock. In the days before European people came to the area, the big rock that sits just a few miles west of the town was a prominent marker for the First Nations peoples, indicating the crossing-place of the river that is known today as the Sheep River (Rocky mountain bighorn sheep). The huge split rock formation is the world’s largest known glacial erratic, carried for who knows how long on the back of the last retreating ice age glacier, until the ice melted out from under it and left it stranded out in the open.
It’s fenced in now, to prevent people from climbing on it, or defacing it with graffiti, but I’ve been there several times before the fence, and stood there at the base and soaked up the ‘timeless’ feeling. Or maybe the feeling is more like a whole lot of time. You can’t help but wonder whose hands, over many thousands of years, have touched the same rock you are feeling under your palm. You can almost hear the drums and the singing.

Here is a video of my favorite pow wow singers, Northern Cree. Often, women will come and stand behind the drummers and sing on octave higher, as they do here. I love the sound all the voices make together. I can close my eyes and be back there on the open land with the wind whistling past my ears. Living on the lake is great, but the mountains and foothills remain my ‘spiritual home.’







Video from YT member aries32487
The photo is obviously an old one from before the fence, and I don't know the source, so I don't know who to credit.

17 comments:

Lin said...

interesting formation and history. my rock art class last night discussed the first nation's people that lived on the Great Lakes on the Canadian side. I love that name FIRST NATION that so much better that our NATIVE AMERICANS. They also were the first nation here on this continent. Fascinating history and culture.

Avid Reader said...

Are there any books you can recommend on the First Nation peoples?

Kallen305 said...

Fascinating story behind that rock. I too would be interested in reading more about First Nation people. I am very into learning about Native Americans and agree about their intriging history and culture.

Rose said...

Love that big rock and would love to see it in person. Isn't it too bad that it has to be fenced to keep people from destroying it?

bobbie said...

The photo of the rock is very beautiful. The video is really wonderful. They look and sound so happy!

Betsy from Tennessee said...

Great history lesson, Deb... I love the music of the Northern Cree. I'd also love to see that 'rock' someday.. WOW!!!!

Why did you leave that area? Job???

Hugs,
Betsy

mom/caryn said...

How blessed you have been to have such a diversity in the places you have called home. I was touched by your acknowledgement of the many hands who had touched the rock before yours. It gives additional life to the stone outcropping.

This was a very enjoyable read. It left me wanting more. I agree with Lin. The name First Nation seems more appropriate. I am fascinated with the stories of the people. There are so many layers to their history.

Odd how our spirit seems to connect to land, isn't it? There are places where our souls almost feel as if they had been planted in the soil and had sprouted there. I am that way with the Pacific Islands. It's not even something I can find words for.

Quiet Paths said...

I don't mean to be the devil's advocate but I know a couple of western gals who would be tickled to see you move back here - closer - to the west - and the north. *hugs*

Poetikat said...

Oh, I could get in to dancing to that music! Really inviting stuff.
I have a school-chum who met a guy, got married and moved to Okotoks, but we lost touch after that. Too bad.
I think glacial erratics are the coolest things.

Kat

George said...

Thanks for the interesting history behind the rock and the video. I can see why you consider this your spiritual home.

Shellmo said...

I would love to stand before this rock and try to imagine its history. I enjoyed the video you posted as well.

Sylvia K said...

That is beautiful, Deborah, your words literally transported me there and I felt I could feel the roch beneath my hands and hear the First Nation people singing. I will go the library tomorrow and see what I can find on them. Thanks for a beautiful post! Again!

Sian said...

I love visiting Avebury and Stonehenge - but to stand before a completely natural "standing stone". Wow, I'd love that!

SandyCarlson said...

Nature is a formidable sculptress. Amazing.

Cloudia said...

I too love the ancient song!
Aloha, Deborah. A fine post today!

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