Land of the Spirit Bear

I’ve always been a bit of a dreamer; for as long as I can remember the wind has carried melodies, certain trees protected on the off chance a fairy had made it her home, the night sky a reminder of endless possibilities. Never a Santa Claus or Easter Bunny believer; appalled by the indignity of slapping fairy after tooth – my spirit thrived and grew on the certainty that ancient people accomplished feats beyond explanation because they revered the world around them. Before Christianity and organized religion closed the minds eye, before worshipping the sun or seasons became a sin, and before pondering the stars resulted in  death on a fiery stake – mankind listened as the earth spoke.

I don’t want to debate religion – I want to ponder what mankind seems to have forgotten.

I find it so disheartening that technology, science, and religion have eradicated “wonder”. Wonder as in awe and reverence; not Godly rhetoric but honest to goodness, gob smacking, holy crap our world kicks ass wonder. Few people gaze at the stars – the cosmos practically invisible from artificial light pollution. We Google answers, opinion or solutions to questions without any attempt to solve them ourselves. Divisions insulate us based on religion or politics – both of which have agendas of their own. Media irresponsibly turns fiction into fact under the guise of “opinion”. Technology lulls us into a false state of invisibility, while our connection to the earth collapses under pressure. Instead of opening our eyes to natures signals, we genetically alter perfection – all in the name of the almighty dollar. Mankind is out of control – simply because we’ve forgotten how to slow down and wonder.

Children’s classics like Mary Poppins and Peter Pan capture the essence of my dismay. Children who could talk to the birds while very young, or never grow old in Neverland. Written as fading gasps for an inexplicable longing; sensing something was lost but unable to remember what it might be. Knowing an emptiness simmered just under the surface, yet never being able to put your finger on it.

My life is no different; despite my beliefs I’m caught in a hamster wheel just like everyone else. Sometimes something happens to shake my world back into perspective. If I’m lucky, when I least expect it – my world becomes crystal clear. Two days on Vancouver Island brought me back from the brink. Not 5 paces into the trail at Cathedral Grove, I stopped as the gently swaying giants whispered to me. I had entered the land of the Spirit Bear. My senses trembled,  years fell along the path;  each footstep taking me closer to wonder. My nose filled with the scent of cedar and damp moss, I heard sounds from birds in the canopy to moles deep underground. Nothing escaped me; I was awake and alive in a techno-colour dream. Aboriginal spirits danced in splashes of sunlight; their voices telling the story of how Raven created the Spirit Bear to remind him of a time when the world was covered in ice and snow. I made a silent promise not to forget that moment.

Once Upon A Time….

If you know the story of Mary Poppins  you know the children could only understand what birds were saying when very young. Language of birds, an effortless portal open only to those unfettered by yearning to be anything other than what they were.  Imagination glistened in dewdrops marking fairy trails. Wonder a tool, not a task. Mine was a world fascination, a realm of fairy reverie. Peter Pan never grew up, Alice disappeared down a rabbit hole, Dorothy traveled to Oz.

Fairies watched as I devoured Greek mythology, named every constellation in the night sky. There were forts to build, tunnels to dig, hollow logs to explore. Trolls and goblins weren’t scary, I knew how to avoid their tricks. Fairies danced for me every evening, I watched with certainty – it was just a matter of time until they invited me for tea.

Not odd in any way, I grew up in a time of wonder. My spark wasn’t plugged in a wall, I didn’t need a new video game, never experienced calamity if unplugged. Content with exploring the world, happily able to understand every word the birds said.

Today my heart breaks for infants plonked in front of “baby TV”.  Modern static obliterates hope of talking to birds. Children go digital before their first step – how could they ever join fairies for tea? Instant gratification, flashing lights and computer graphics impersonate wonder. Watch a child howl in frustration, throwing their Playstation controller across the room in fits of rage when they don’t complete a level – ask yourself why Attention Deficit Disorder is epidemic.

I wouldn’t be who I am, had I not searched every tree stump for fairies. Hours spent with an eye to the world created acceptance of endless possibilities. Imagination and wonder create open minds. We’re hammering the door shut without realizing how devastating it is.

The fairies are extremely pissed off.