Bringing in the Edges

The Red Zone blog dares to live up to its’ name in a literal way today, as we share about Sunday’s collective earth art day on the 900 block of Pandora Avenue, which is the most commonly red zoned location in the city of Victoria (meaning a police or court-ordered no go location). Day Schildkret led a group of us in making beauty on the narrow boulevard in front of Our Place and The Harbour safe injection site. The workshop was a collaboration of The Base and Our Place. Our circle was a mix of Our Place residents/family, members of The Base community, and folks who are new to both.

The photos tell the story of the day best. All photos are by Ben Kerr.

We dedicated our work to those who have been forgotten, to those who have died in this place, to the woman who overdosed nearby on the block while we were working and had to be rushed to hospital.

I’m still pondering Day’s question to us in our opening circle: “Are we indebted?”

This question is taking me so much deeper than the common question of what am I grateful for. It is yoking me to the people, plants, animals, and life forces, seen and unseen, to whom I am indebted—those in my lifetime, and in countless generations before I was born. And even knowing all the times I have taken more than my share, and taken without giving, and taken like I am entitled, that yoke of indebtedness is not a burden or a constraint. I now see that debt as a bond, an attachment—in other words, a form of love. I am in debt to all of my ancestors, all the way back, who struggled and managed to survive despite countless trials, traumas and losses. I am indebted to the people and ancestors of the lands I have lived on in Canada who have been stewards here for thousands of years. I am indebted to the people who grew and harvested the food I have eaten throughout my whole life. I am indebted to the people who laboured to make the clothes that have always kept my closet full. My list of debts is very long. I have no wish to have these debts forgiven. I wish to live in greater awareness of this cathedral-length train I’m pulling behind me. I wish to give thanks for the rest of my life. I wish to live like what I do matters. Let it be so.

A deep bow to you Day Schildkret, exemplar, teacher.