Ten Lessons I Learned from the Salish Sea

1. greet the water
plunge your hands under the surface, fingers dancing in the tide
remember it like an old friend
like a beginning
like a home
speak your name to this place
listen for its response
say thank you

2. say thank you again

3. know that the place is here, and the time is now
if the midnight algae is glowing in the waves
dive in, freedom first
grab your friends, grab each other’s hands
there are galaxies underwater
do not hesitate
there will never be a moment like this again
but there will be many moments
eat them up

4. eat everything
forget that
eat what you can identify
and if you don’t know what it is
don’t eat it
this place can heal you
so learn the plants, learn the medicines, learn the liquorice fern rhizome
and learn that rhizomes are underground horizontal stems
seek a mentor, find a book, remember

5. this place will hold you, do not hold back
do not hide from the big emotions
if you are afraid you will be swept away in their currents
look for bull kelp
hold on tight
you may sway, you might rise and fall
but you will stay anchored
listen to the tiny emotions
lay down next to them in the grass
watch them bloom
be tender, take care
allow yourself to be held

6. sleep outside
drink the milky way before bed
count the stars to fall asleep
wake up early with the birds
sip the cold air
watch your breath meet the fog
wash your face with the morning dew

7. be quiet

8. accept change
accept that you will be changed, will cause change
there will be many portals to go through
dynamic interfaces of land and sea, hopes and fears, dances and stillness
every step ripples outwards
everything you touch reacts
accept that you will find pieces of yourself nestled between stone and sea glass
rivers will erode new pathways inside you
flow, all things change

9. live
let your spirit soar with ravens in the hemlock treetops
jump with orcas in the seafoam
live
find community, find your people, find yourself
live knowing you were not the first here
nor will you be the last
beings have used this land, loved this land
since time immemorial
each layer of history a harmony of the song this place sings forever
sing along
live
live like you are going to stay

10. stay

Photo showing a women sitting on a tree trunk in dense forest.

Still frame from “Ten Lessons” by Makaila Wenezenki

Watch Makaila’s full video of “Ten Lessons” on YouTube or listen to the audio below.

Makaila Wenezenki

About Makaila Wenezenki

Makaila is a filmmaker, poet, and multi-disciplinary artist residing in Alberta and British Columbia. She graduated from the University of Victoria in 2018 with a Bachelor’s Degree in Environmental Studies and Geography (double major). As a critical human geographer she is interested in anti-racist, anti-colonial, queer, activist, and feminist themes (to name a few). She views art and geography to be inherently linked and enjoys letting both of these fields influence each other in her work.

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