“Absolutely nothing going on at all.” – Arriving in Haida Gwaii

 

Leaving the 7 hour ferry, I drive to my new home to find the door unlocked, lights on and a note on how to contact my host, a grandmother currently visiting her daughter on the mainland. I wander room to plant filled room, big windows shining and original wood floors creaking. I’m in heaven.

 

Despite coming here intentionally to slow down, I am restless within 1 minute and start to google what there is to do tonight.

Nothing comes up.

Google a business directory.

Find a spa run by a young girl out of her home, open til 8pm. It’s 6 now. I could go for an eyebrow wax I guess. Anything for human contact to orient me here.

“Hi, I just arrived off the ferry. Can I get an appointment tonight?”

“Sure. 7:30?”

“Great. Is there anything going on tonight that you know of?”

“It’s…Saturday. Hmmmm….[then with complete sincerity, and no hint of sass or sarcasm]…absolutely nothing going on at all.”

I hear another voice in the background.

“Oh my colleague says there’s Queen Charlotte idol going on!

Oh wait, it was at 1. Probably over. Nothing else on this weekend.

I’m at the visitor’s centre though, we are open!”

Classic small town. She also works at the post office.

I bike through the drizzly rain along the main street, which is more trees than houses.

 

There is a rec centre, 3 Asian restaurants, 2 liquor stores, lots of bed and breakfasts. The road follows the water, with islands on the right and houses on the left. I buy a Haida colouring book at the visitors centre, then bike back to the coffee shop I saw was still open. She opened a year ago, mostly open on ferry days (Thursday to Sunday nights), selling coffee, gelato and handmade products. On the table I see my favourite poetry book, which I debated bringing for 10 full minutes before deciding to leave it home…and here it is waiting for me on this island, paired perfectly with gelato.

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I also find a book filled with lesson plans to teach math through Haida traditional activities, something I have been working all year to do with Sarcee and Blackfoot schools at home. Everything feels hilariously coincidental. I hear God laughing.

A bald eagle shrieks ten feet above me as I bike home, my guide and protector. Long ago I was taught that eagles flying over you are a sign you are in the right place, and this is a teaching that has followed me – eagles find me everywhere I go in the world, and it always makes me feel safe and at home. The spirit name given to me is “Golden Eagle Spirit Woman”, so their presence welcomes me to a place.

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I arrive back home and wander the giant backyard, exploring the homemade greenhouse, picking fresh raspberries and smelling sweet roses. The fridge is filled with  little eggs from the backyard chickens, so I fry some up and make a schedule of all the posters of things I saw going on this week. There are 4 activities: a guided hike, a book reading, kundalini yoga and a new moon ceremony on the beach.

Yes, I can tell I’m going to like this place.

 

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