As our feet connect with the earth, she brings the skies to life as a flock of snow geese fly over. She tells me how they look like hieroglyphics and how they are different than Canada geese. She describes a piece of art these migratory birds inspired.
We discuss a possible workshop at the Calling Lakes Centre which Sue is planning. She has asked Keitha and I to co-facilitate next fall during Treaty Four Celebrations. We talk about our families, the people we share in the community, other ventures Sue is involved with. Then, at the school yard back gate, she turns around, and walks into the sunshine, back to my place for her car. There is nothing bland about walking to work with Sue.
Earth Dances with Sky – Collage and Explanation by Sue Bland
Each year in spring and fall as large flocks of snow geese, Canada geese and others make their annual migration north and then south, I am deeply stirred and moved by their presence on the earth and in the sky. One fall when I was considering the relationship between earth and sky (or body and spirit, or the practical and the visionary), it occurred to me that the geese were like arbiters between earth and sky, feeling at home as they do in both places. When you are driving along in spring or fall, suddenly part of a field or a slough will scatter and rise up as a flock of geese take to the sky.
During the Discernment Day held by Astonished!* in early October, the geese were on the move, great flocks of them writing their hieroglyphics across the sky. The movement of the geese affected our day as much as the hills that held us and the sky that we gathered under. Cherie referred to “this thread of geese, finding their formation, moving in their beautiful, lyrical way.” She continued, “I am a part of that thread, that longing, that tumult…” Barbara Barnett said, “It (the unfolding of Astonished!) feels like an amoeba, ever flowing, reshaping and changing….” This was my sense, too.
Others talked about community, their need to be part of a herd, the impossibility of doing something like this alone. Our group is strong in visionaries, creative folks who know how to dream. Sometimes, tensions can arise between the dreaming side of us and the doing side of us. I felt so strongly that earth and sky, dreamer and doer , body and spirit must be integrally connected, must dance together for this astonishing dream to become both grounded and be given wings. As Jean Vanier writes, “Truth from the sky must be confirmed and strengthened by truth from the earth.” Ruth has another neat quote along these same lines. All of these threads were moving in me, as I considered how to express some of this visually.
It came in a moment when I cut out a round piece of green tissue paper, rolled it in a ball to give it a wrinkled torn appearance and stuck it on some navy rice paper. I tore many pieces of coloured tissue and other paper…soon abstract geese found their way on to the paper….
*The Big Sky centre for Learning and Being Astonished is a non-profit Regina based group committed to creating a place where young adults with complex physical disabilities can work, play and live with the wider community.(www.beingastonished.com) Proceeds from the sale of this image are donated to Astonished!