Archive for the ‘Canadian Shield’ tag
This is a view of the eastern end of Lake Athabasca in northern Saskatchewan. This is also the starting point for the Fond du Lac River as well as the location for the Fond du Lac Dene Nation Reserve. The scene is typical for a lake in the northern Canadian Shield – water, rock and scrub trees and brush. Lake Athabasca is a huge lake and a deep lake. It isn’t always as calm and quiet as seen above. Sometimes the water is tortured and tries everything to break out of its boundaries. But in the end, it is held in place.
Water is symbolic of the unconscious. Such a huge body of water such as this one allows one to see the true depth and breadth of the unconscious which extends beyond what one can understand as one’s personal repressed contents. There is too much mystery, too much depth, too much unknown and darkness that is hinted at when we see large expanses of water.
This is the second in a series of photos from the fall of 2005 while I lived and worked on a Dene Nation reserve in northern Saskatchewan. These berries are wild fruit called Ground Cranberries. Living and working in the southern part of the province I had picked and eaten both low bush and high bush cranberries. These northern berries were plentiful as I wandered along paths and game trails during hours when work was set aside.
Fruit found in a harsh and rough environment becomes that much more appreciated. The site where I found these berries was quite close to the 60th parallel that separates the Arctic regions from the western provinces of Canada. It is a place of rock, water and scrub trees. The land appears wild and unfriendly, an extremely lonely kind of place.
Yet within this, as within any harsh environment, there is more than first meets the eye. Looking closely, there are surprises hidden between exposed bedrock and the thin spruce and pine that feed precariously off the thin layer of soil covering parts of the granite bedrock.
There is something here that is reassuring. On all journeys, even those that are through the darkest of hells, there are small spaces that offer sustenance, food for the soul so that there is hope for emerging from the journey stronger and wiser.
For the next series of photos, I will be using photos taken in Northern Saskatchewan when I lived on a Dene Reserve and served as the Education Manager for the reserve. This photo was taken in August, 2005 using an HP Photosmart camera with 5.1 MP rating. The camera has long gone though the photos remain.
This photo features wild raspberries against a backdrop of Canadian Shield granite along the shores of Lake Athabasca. For a brief time, the raspberry vibrates with a brightness as though ready to change the world of water and stone. Swelled with its fruit, it lives as though it was more than one small moment of brightness.
When I took the job as Education Manager, a job that was a combination of school principal, Directer of Education, and Post-Secondary administrator, I had thought that my recent retirement from the provincial system was leading me into a way to provide needed service for the north.
I had begun my teaching career not too distant from this Dene reserve in September, 1974. At that time, I had promised myself that I would return when I retired, hopefully to stay. I didn’t know then that staying was not really an option as I was an outsider in too many ways. I was an outsider in 1974, but by 2005 I had become even more different. And that difference resulted in my hopes for being an agent of positive change for the reserve, being crushed.
After all of my life experience and my training in human psychology, I had allowed hubris to distort the lens through which I saw this reserve community. I heard and understood the words of the reserve leaders, words that I resonated with and supported. In making decisions based on the dreams and hopes of these leaders, I began to experience a huge disconnect from what was hoped for and what was actually possible. I pushed too fast and too hard to bring their vision to life. I forgot that I wasn’t the leader, I was supposed to simply follow, listening carefully and then clear the path through the arts of administrivia – no more. To do more was to be blind to reality. To attempt to do more was simply an act of hubris.