sʔi:ɬqəy̓ qeqən

31 July 2021 – I’m on the UBC campus for one tribute, and end up walking another one while there.

First tribute: the Chaconne concert at the Chan Centre, the second performance in this year’s EMV Bach Festival and dedicated to Jeanne Lamon — the renowned violinist, concert master, early music pioneer and mentor, shockingly dead barely one month ago. During my Toronto years I benefited from her role with Tafelmusik, and here in Vancouver benefitted again, when she retired to Vancouver Island and immersed herself in the musical community out here.

So I sink into this concert for more than its music alone, and then walk across campus in a contemplative mood.

My path takes me to the intersection of University Blvd with East Mall, at the foot of a cascading water feature. It is also home to this 34-foot Musqueam house post of the double-headed serpent.

I’ve seen it before, had forgotten where it was, am delighted to discover it again. It is the work of Brent Sparrow Jr. (son of another fine Coast Salish artist, Susan Point), his gift to UBC, and a tribute to his people and their culture.

Yes! The double-headed serpent, sʔi:ɬqəy̓, whose home was, is, the Camosun Bog.

After living here a few years, I have the beginnings of some personal cross-connections. I’ve visited the Bog a number of times, and I’ve taken you there with me more than once. In July 2020, my post included this larky on-site map …

and on Christmas Day I looked out over bog and pond sparkling with misty rain.

No rain today, alas (more than 40 dry days, and counting), and a lot more heat. But it’s walkable heat, and I decide to visit the serpent.

I walk up one side of the incline, passing these women striding down …

pivot at the viewing hut at the top …

enter the hut for the long view back downhill with the water course …

and then walk my way on down to the bottom.

Once home, feet up, I revisit another favourite tribute to the serpent. It’s an animation I first viewed at Museum of Vancouver, but can now enjoy any old time on vimeo.

And so can you.

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  1. Fun walk Penny and cool serpent video😎… have a joyful day ~ smiles hedy

  2. Fascinating, thank you!

  3. I love the video and enjoyed your walk. 🙂

    A bit of rain today (I am visiting Vancouver right now), but I think some sustained rain is expected by the end of the week. I have never seen such a dry Vancouver (neither has my M, who grew up in Van).

    • You got a bit of rain? lucky old you, and another demonstration of the many micro-climates within the city – I walked today & found myself in the bizarre position of welcoming dirty smoky air, since it obscured the sun somewhat and lowered the temperature… that is not good, when dirty air is the best blessing you can find in a situation

      • We did a lot of walking in Stanley Park today but didn’t find it that smoky; it was somewhat hazy, but then again, we’re coming from an area where the smoke levels are very high, so this looks good to us!

      • cld be wildfire reports caused me to misinterpret mere boring old cloudiness as smoke; yet more proof of how easily we deceive ourselves… what’s the slogan? “don’t believe everything you think”

      • One should never indulge in that …

  4. Interesting how the poor old snake is the subject, cross-culturally, of so much fear and loathing. I suppose it’s also a sort-of sign of respect. Speaking of which, I don’t know if it says something about the state of modern journalism or the state of my mind these days, but I wasn’t aware that Jeanne Lamon had died. I know that the story did not make mainstream broadcast news here, possibly because they were too busy with Britney Spears and Korean boy bands.

    • the poor old snake indeed, but I agree, in this tale it does somehow end up with hero status — in fact Jeanne Lamon’s illness & death did receive a fair amount of mainstream coverage (G&M, Torstar, NY Times, CBC, and more)

  5. Bob Georgiou

     /  2 August 2021

    Looks like a pleasant walk!


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    "Traveller, there is no path. Paths are made by walking" -- Antonio Machado (1875-1939)

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