Sunday, August 2, 2009

Chase River Cathedral

It's Sunday, so naturally I went to church today. Here are some photos I took while I was there.

This is the view one sees as one walks down the riverbank from Pacific Gardens Cohousing Community towards the meadow that runs parallel to the Chase River.

This was the spot in which Aboriginal elders built an Inipi (sweatlodge) on Earth Day 2000, and held a ceremony to bless this land.

This is Chad and Susana's tree. That's what I call it because two of our members, Chad Henderson and Susana Michaelis, were married at its base. They chose this unusual tree, with three trunks, as a symbol for their marriage. The left trunk represented one of them, the right trunk represented the other of them, and the central trunk represented their relationship. Our nextdoor neighbour, Ian Gartshore, who has been a good friend to our project, performed Chad and Susana's wedding ceremony.

This is the path that leads through the forest floor from the Pacific Gardens portion of the riverbank towards Ian's portion.

It was this view -- this specific view -- that sold me on Pacific Gardens Cohousing Community when I came to Nanaimo on a reconnaissance trip in August 2008.

I thought that I wanted to join a cohousing community so that I could learn how to create peace in my life. My hope was that, if I could "do" peace myself, it would have a helpful ripple effect on the rest of the world. A year on, I feel that I am indeed on the path of which I dreamed back then. There also are numerous other benefits -- a supportive social network, friendships, sustainability, a smaller environmental footprint, just plain fun, and on and on.

But, if I'm to be honest, I have to admit that, at the instant that I made the decision to buy in, none of that mattered. It was a moment of pure selfishness. I saw the moss-covered tree leaning out across the stream, my heart leapt, and that was it.

I think of it as my tree. I since have discovered that several of my friends consider it to be their tree too. In fact, it has been quite amusing to sit by the stream with one or more people, each of whom thinks it's his or her tree. But that's okay. Sharing my tree with others does nothing to detract from my enjoyment of it. If anything, soaking in the view with someone else who appreciates it only amplifies my pleasure.

At the risk of boring you, here is my tree from a slightly different angle.

Well, I was being a bit tongue-in-cheek when I mentioned church and then proceeded to share photos of the Chase River. But only a bit. In reality, I feel restored every time I go down to the stream. It's something I do pretty regularly. I don't hang around waiting for Sunday.


Frostbite and Sunburn said...

"In reality, I feel restored every time I go down to the stream."

We all need a place like this in our lives !!

Ian Gartshore said...

Yes, I also bought my house largely based on my initial experience of going down to that river, and especially being at that tree. A very similar picture to Judy's second one of the curved tree adorns the business cards of Shore Counselling (which was located in my house for many years).
I'm glad to share this sacred place with others, especially those inclined to join the co-housing group next door!

Richard Powell said...

It is a good tree and a good river. We too bought our house in part because of the closeness of the water and the green space. We still feel blessed by it all these years later...

Mog said...

You give good tree!

Your post title made me think of Whipsnade tree Cathedral in England. I used to live near it, and often imgained how onderful it would be when the trees become mature

You have found your own

Judy Roberts said...

Thanks for telling us about Whipsnade Tree Cathedral, Mog. What a wonderful idea and, as you indicated, it will be even more splendid when the trees are mature.