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Ebbs & Flows

Lasqueti Island History

by Rocky Sampson

Today as I walk the roads and paths of my ancestors, memories wash over me. 


As I walk through red alder thickets, memories of my dad arise. My dad was a clever man. For me and my brothers our dad was kind and wise. As dad walked with us kids, he'd take out his handy pocketknife, reach down and cut a young alder sapling. With a few short flicks of his wrist and a few taps to bruise the green bark, he would make a few sharp and angular cuts and then hand  us each a small whistle type flute.  As we walked in the spring sunshine along our road up to the main road, we kids played our tunes that matched the cheery robin (in our heads).  Dad also showed us kids how to tie the top boughs of red alder saplings to make a loose circular knot. He would return in a year or more to cut free the bough to make a cane. The cane would sometimes keep the circle knot, or he'd often trim it to look exactly like... a cane. He'd trim the length to whomever received his canes as a gift. He'd skin the green bark off and varnish the cane before gifting it. 


As we walked Main Road, songs of actual robins accompanied us. Their soft rolling notes are still in my head today. The babbling water that pooled into the next pool as we walked downhill would entice us kids to play. 


As we picked fiddleheads, we'd continue our walk – we kids learned much like fawns with a parent. We'd play and learn at the same time. Nature was the constant my dad needed and what we all needed. 


Today, as you walk those ancestral paths and roads on Lasqueti Island, stop in a sunbeam near the sound of falling water, listen for the robin, and maybe pull out your pocketknife and attempt to whittle a small flute. Play the song of rolling robin notes and recall a little boy with his two older brothers on a walk on an island that has been here for many generations before you.

- Rocky Sampson

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