Aug 10, 2005

Chapter 45

Killiniq Island
The Place Where the Rocks Revel in Their Freedom

Torngat Mountains, Quebec & Labrador.
Smack-dab on top of the continental divide.
If the stream flows west, you are in Quebec.
If the stream flows east, you are in Labrador.
Killiniq is the northernmost tip of both.

And there are no roadmaps.
Because no one is under the illusion that there are any roads.
No one is under the illusion that we would follow a road if there was one.
Roads that take you from A to B are of little interest.
There are no fences here.
No directional signs except for the occasional inukshuk,
the meaning of which you must divine.
And until recently, there was no one claiming to “own” the rocks.

What could that possibly mean? To “own” a rock?

The Spirit of Torngat did not flee when the strangers came.
The Spirit of Torngat is attached to those who so love the world.

In the First Stories, in the earliest times,
the human mind had mysterious powers;
what people wanted to happen, could actually be made to happen.
What people wanted to be, they could become.
Provided first they assemble all the components of the Word.
And that the Word be true.
And that they utter the Word, openly.
And then step down, in silence.
And be humble again.


To Jacques Cartier, this was “the land God gave to Cain”.
A bleak place of exile, punishing Cain for murdering his brother.
A slice of Hell.

To the Inuit, it is “the place of spirits”
to which was added: “the place where the rocks revel in their freedom”.
Where you are reminded to revel in your own freedom,
and absorb the Beauty that surrounds you.
A slice of Heaven.


Same place. Worlds apart.

Two men looked at the same rock.
But they did not see the same rock.

That’s the whole story right there.

That’s the whole thing.

That is all ye know
And all ye need to know

About the strange things done
In the midnight sun
By the men
Who moil
for gold.

This is another message in another bottle. It is not the same message as the last one, and it is not the same bottle. That’s how this communication system works. I have to assume no one will ever find my messages. I don’t remember how many bottles I have thrown into oceans, and rivers on their way to an ocean. I don’t know if any have been found. It is none of my business what happens to them. The instant I throw a bottle in the ocean, it no longer belongs to me. If you find one of them, you may dispose of it as you see fit.

Anyway, if someone finds one of my bottles washed up on a sandy beach somewhere, I will probably get arrested for littering and damaging the environment. You know what I hate about the environment? It’s so damn hard to keep clean.

für etwas Angeschwemmtes, Unbekanntes,
das unerklärt zu ihnen kommt und bleibt.
Und so ist alles, was ihr Blick beschreibt,
von Kindheit an

for something washed up on shore, unknown,
that inexplicably comes to them and remains.
And so it is, from childhood on, with everything.

What does “Torngat” mean? Torngat is a place, not a meaning. You discover the meaning of it and bring new meaning to it – that is your job on earth. The question is not: what does Torngat mean? The question is: where are you when you are in Torngat?

You are in “the place of spirits”. You are in “the place where the rocks revel in their freedom.” That should ring your bell, in any church. You find yourself making pilgrimages to Torngat, to find out what condition your condition is in. It’s a test of your self by your self. When mountains dance before your eyes, and you feel nothing, you try to prove that it is because you need new glasses. Well, you can’t fool us, silly.

A noun can suddenly become a verb; a thing can suddenly become an action. That is something you should be paying attention to, because if you have never had that happen to you before, it comes as quite a surprise. It is alarming at first. You get used to it. Sort of.

The rocks of Torngat have perfected the art of silent presence; there is nothing that they want for; there is nothing that they ask for; they believe in being rocks, and they are rocks to perfection. There is not a trace of doubt in a rock.

If you climb to the top of one of Torngat’s mile-high peaks, and lie down and go to sleep on a rock on top of the mountain, when you are waking up, you will feel the earth turning. You lie there on your back, look up at the sky, and you can feel the earth revolving on its axis as it hurtles through the vacuum of space.

Or it could be the Jack Daniels and the lack of oxygen at high altitude, inter-acting with the Parkinson’s drugs.

I say it is both. I cannot hear what you say, because this is a message in a bottle.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I love what you write. I live in exile, a chosen exile in what seems Paradise and is in many ways but I keep dreaming of streams, small villages and small churches with staple, that is called Quebec, the Quebec, on the north shore of the St-Laurent some place in the Innu territory that lives in my dreams, that is my soul place. Thank you! Claire from California