Friday, August 19, 2016
Sharing the land...at "Meall nam Fiadh".
Regularly, we are reminded that home ownership is a misnomer. Returning from an early morning walk today, a couple of fellow "residents" were waiting at the end of the driveway. They showed neither fear nor anxiety about close proximity with the humans who share their land. After all, we meet and greet one another almost every day.
We've named the place where we live, "Meall nam Fiadh". Two young friends from the Isle of Skye, who speak Gaelic, have assured us that the translation is reasonably accurate. It means, "hill of the deer". At least half a dozen deer graze in the forest around the house every day. It's their home too. There are, of course, bears. This IS Canada, after all. One wandered through some time ago. We didn't see him / her. We did note, however, that the "swatted" and dented compost bin on its side was evidence of enthusiastic investigation and foraging. We know the mostly reclusive cougars (aka mountain lion, puma, panther) also visit here. I recently found some well-formed skat (droppings), near the house, clear evidence of this ambush-from-behind predator. Although they are rarely seen, contact and attacks on humans, are becoming more and more common as human habitation expands.
It is always important to acknowledge that the land we live on, here on south Vancouver Island, is the traditional territory of the Cowichan Tribes. They are British Columbia's largest single First Nation Band. As we all know, colonization by Europeans and subsequent Canadian history became a tragic and costly experience for those who had been careful stewards of the land for thousands of years. The Cowichan Tribes, and other member First Nations of the Hul’qumi’num Treaty Group, continue to negotiate a treaty with both the Federal Government and the Government of British Columbia. Our First Nations sisters and brothers have so much to teach us about our necessary connection to the natural world.
The gentle resident deer are a constant reminder that we share this fragile planet, whirling through space, with one another. We're called to care deeply for it, and all life, in every way that we can.
Oh, and then there's the "tree person", who watches our every move. Perhaps he could give us a "shout" the next time the bear comes by! ;)