Once again our day started early. The last time I was in my friends’ yard, the bunch berries and Queen’s cups were just starting to flower. Now they are in full fruit.Because Sanjey was city bred and lived back east, I first took him to see the big cedars.It’s hard to convey their size unless someone is standing beside them.We started walking to the Bella Coola petroglyphs at the same time as another gentleman. Turned out he had been visiting the petroglyphs every day when he was in the valley, over a period of 40 years. He liked to keep the carvings clean, and indeed had been instrumental in uncovering some of them. When he found us to be ready listeners he was full of fascinating information. He told us it had taken years for him to understand some of the carvings and he was learning new things every day. Not all of his interpretations are accepted by others, but to me, who is “right” is unimportant. The spiritual message that was woven in that beautiful forest was entirely appropriate.
As you approach the carvings, you see a face that is barely noticeable. It is the only one made on granite (much harder to carve) – the rest are on an overlying layer of sandstone. This one faces north, where the spirits come fromHe is a herald calling everyone to come and connect to their spirituality.
I can give you only a brief idea of all the stories here. The first people to arrive on earth were the star people. They have eyes and a mouth but no chin.Then came the water people. When they joined together with the star people, they were happy.However, they lived in a continual copper light – the same light you get when there is thick smoke from a forest fire. The people asked the creator for light but he wouldn’t give it to them. In the end, raven was the one who tricked the creator and arrived in the world with light. (Too long a story to go into here.)The next structure represents 12 prophets. Eleven are round the head, the twelfth is in the forehead. Only 12 prophets are needed in a community – the rest do not need to be spiritual for the 12 will spread the information and be the connection to the creator.The face above is looking outwards, the one below looks inward.It had not occurred to me, but the natural faults in the rock also contributed to the messages in the carvings. A small basin, which usually holds water, has a tiny cross carved in it. This shows four directions (sorry, no photo of the cross itself: it is about an inch across) north, south, east, and west. But if you look into it you see the sky reflected in the water, so that is also upward, which is the fifth direction, and you are at the same time looking down, which is the sixth.What a bonus to meet this gentleman. I have his name and phone number and will most certainly try and coordinate my trip with his in the future.
Our Bella Coola trip was finished by picking 10 kg blueberries at a U-Pick farm, and about 4 kg of blackberries from a friend’s garden. So altogether a very satisfying excursion to the Bella Coola Valley.