Posted on 2 Comments

Out Here the Mind Would Empty

Artifacts
By Helena Minton
                                     Shuyak Island, Alaska
 
 Wind blows from the mainland across the Straits
 over nettle-covered middens where I’ve dug
 for Aleut arrowheads, unearthing
 fish bones, clam shells, human teeth.
 
 Tribes slept near these hills
 and in daylight told of omens dreamed
 as elk of schools of spawning salmon.
 
 Trout broach, eagles circle overhead
 yet never enter my sleep.
 I thought out here the mind would empty
 and be filled as quietly as sky with stars
 
 When I close my eyes I see torn sheets and blackboards.
 I want the spruce, sea otter, cormorant
 inside of me to speak.


“Artifacts” (poem) from The Canal Bed by Helena Minton, Alice James Books, 1985. 

Sometimes, as I walk down to our little gravel beach for an evening swim, an air of solemnity comes over me. What I’m about to do — wade into the frigid waters of Boundary Pass — is something akin to communion, a baptism of sorts.

I’m going to immerse myself in a swirling chaos of seawater full of lurking currents, slippery animals, hard-shell crustaceans, undulating forests of kelp. This water is otherworldly, a terrible force. It accepts me at its pleasure but could just as quickly reject me without mercy. Dash me against the rocks or carry me out to sea. There is always a sense of risk, but also the potential of new wisdom. Communion.

An air of solemnity

At the foot of lichen-stained conglomerate cliffs, knee-deep in the waves, I look across our little bay to the Living Rock Island 300 yards offshore. Cormorants and seagulls perch on the rock, staring intently at the water, looking for feed, I imagine.

Stuart Island on the far side of the Pass is an almost unspoiled coastline. On any given day, a pod of Orcas could pass between South Pender and the San Juans. Or a pair of majestic Humpbacks!

Due east, on a clear day, I can see Mount Baker, rising like a white deity, above the horizon.

The cormorants and gulls, eagles and ravens, the schools of silver streaking salmon. The barnacled, bladderwracked boulders that cracked off cliffs eons ago, these are all the actual residents of this place.

I’m a stranger, here, an interloper

And sometimes, in this reverie, I catch a movement at the corner of my eye. It jolts me! I turn to look, scanning the water all around, for a different kind of wave, a darkened animal head rising out the water, moving towards me. Or a shadow passing overhead. It’s something threatening or nothing at all. But something’s there, I sense.

Sometimes I half expect to see a sleek dugout canoe paddling in my direction. A man with long black hair, tanned arms and narrow eyes looking at me as he dips his paddle in and out of the water. He wears a flat-top brimmed hat and a yellow-brown tunic. He’s wary of me, I can tell, but he detects no threat and so carries on. And I watch his image recede in the distance, and he bends around Brooks Point and disappears. Is he on his way to the white deity, the one we call Mount Baker?

The life force of us all

I’d like to greet this fellow, hold up my arm in salute. I’m an interloper, a strange creature by my white skin, yes, but not so foreign, not so out of time here. Because this icy water we stand in and by contains the spirit that is the life force of us all. He has taken wisdom from this water and these animals, birds, fish and plants and learned to live with all of them. I could thank him for being a steward of these waters, this beautiful land, for millennia.

I could say sorry for what would soon happen. Then I’d say goodbye and wish him a safe journey to the white deity on the horizon.

Communion.


Happy Monk Tidings - November 15, 2023  BAKER'S CHOICE this week: Olive Sourdough Loaf; AND: An Emotional Weather Report [ See LinkTree in Profile ] 🍞

Happy Monk Tidings - November 15, 2023 BAKER`S CHOICE this week: Olive Sourdough Loaf; AND: An Emotional Weather Report [ See LinkTree in Profile ] 🍞 ...

30 2
Happy Monk Tidings - November 1, 2023 🍞 - BAKER'S CHOICE: Sourdough Sandwich Loaf; BLOG: Don't Let That Wonder Lawyer Tell You It's Not Real Bread! [ See LinkTree in Profile ]

Happy Monk Tidings - November 1, 2023 🍞 - BAKER`S CHOICE: Sourdough Sandwich Loaf; BLOG: Don`t Let That Wonder Lawyer Tell You It`s Not Real Bread! [ See LinkTree in Profile ] ...

29 0
Dylan Thomas, one of my muses, would have been 109 years old this Friday, Oct. 27. One of a small-handful of poets whose words are cherished and summoned often for their music and wisdom. They soothe, they sing, they evoke. I'll be thinking of him this bread day, under "the mustardseed sun"….. and the "switchback sea"…. as he "celebrates and spurns his driftwood thirty fifth wind turned age."
.
.
.
.
#dylanthomas #poetsofinstagram #poetrylovers #poetryisnotdead #poetryofinstagram #poets #poetryislife #poetrylove #poetrydaily #poetryworld #poetryinstagram #bakerpoets #poetryforbakers #southpenderisland #penderisland 

Happy Monk Tidings - October 25, 2023 🍞 - BAKER'S CHOICE - Sprouted Emmer Sourdough; BLOG: Happy Birthday, Dylan Thomas! [See LinkTree in Profile ]

Dylan Thomas, one of my muses, would have been 109 years old this Friday, Oct. 27. One of a small-handful of poets whose words are cherished and summoned often for their music and wisdom. They soothe, they sing, they evoke. I`ll be thinking of him this bread day, under "the mustardseed sun"….. and the "switchback sea"…. as he "celebrates and spurns his driftwood thirty fifth wind turned age."
.
.
.
.
#dylanthomas #poetsofinstagram #poetrylovers #poetryisnotdead #poetryofinstagram #poets #poetryislife #poetrylove #poetrydaily #poetryworld #poetryinstagram #bakerpoets #poetryforbakers #southpenderisland #penderisland

Happy Monk Tidings - October 25, 2023 🍞 - BAKER`S CHOICE - Sprouted Emmer Sourdough; BLOG: Happy Birthday, Dylan Thomas! [See LinkTree in Profile ]
...

25 3
Happy Monk Tidings - October 18, 2023 - 🍞: BAKER's CHOICE: Seedy Spelt and Rye Bread; BLOG: It Starts With Wonder? What's That?

Happy Monk Tidings - October 18, 2023 - 🍞: BAKER`s CHOICE: Seedy Spelt and Rye Bread; BLOG: It Starts With Wonder? What`s That? ...

8 0
Happy Monk Tidings - October 11, 2023  BAKER'S CHOICE: Potato Rosemary Bread; BLOG: Swimming with Otters 🍞

Happy Monk Tidings - October 11, 2023 BAKER`S CHOICE: Potato Rosemary Bread; BLOG: Swimming with Otters 🍞 ...

26 0
Happy Monk Tidings - BLOG: Abundance: Season of Apples; Baker's Choice: Pender Island Apple Bread with Pender Apples and Twin Island Cider - October 4, 2023 🍞 [ See LinkTree in Profile ]

Happy Monk Tidings - BLOG: Abundance: Season of Apples; Baker`s Choice: Pender Island Apple Bread with Pender Apples and Twin Island Cider - October 4, 2023 🍞 [ See LinkTree in Profile ] ...

21 0
Happy Monk Tidings - September 27, 2023 🍞 - BAKER'S CHOICE THIS WEEK: Harvest Bread; BLOG: Positively Fourth Avenue - [ See LinkTree in Profile ]

Happy Monk Tidings - September 27, 2023 🍞 - BAKER`S CHOICE THIS WEEK: Harvest Bread; BLOG: Positively Fourth Avenue - [ See LinkTree in Profile ] ...

22 0
Happy Monk Tidings - September 20, 2023 🍞 - BAKER'S CHOICE: Garlic Levain Bread; BLOG: Harumph! Author Says Leave the Baking to the Professionals! [ See LinkTree in Profile ]

Happy Monk Tidings - September 20, 2023 🍞 - BAKER`S CHOICE: Garlic Levain Bread; BLOG: Harumph! Author Says Leave the Baking to the Professionals! [ See LinkTree in Profile ] ...

25 1
A hefty Country Miche, formula from Breadlines published by Bread Bakers Guild of America. Hefty in size, hefty in flavour. Four flours (Sifted Metchosin Wheat, Rye, Buckwheat, Spelt), a super-active levain and an intense crust colour. I think I’m addicted! It’s kind of finicky, though, and trying to work out a reasonable schedule to produce 40 loaves for Happy Monk customers.
.
.
.
.
. #bread #realbread #naturallyleavened #baker #bakery #bbga #artisanbread #breadhead #sourdough #sourdoughbread #penderisland #southpenderislands #happymonkbaking #happymonkbakingcompany #wholegrainbread #breadhead #michebread #realbread #rusticbread #southerngulfislands #southerngulfislandsbakers #southerngulfislandsbakeries

A hefty Country Miche, formula from Breadlines published by Bread Bakers Guild of America. Hefty in size, hefty in flavour. Four flours (Sifted Metchosin Wheat, Rye, Buckwheat, Spelt), a super-active levain and an intense crust colour. I think I’m addicted! It’s kind of finicky, though, and trying to work out a reasonable schedule to produce 40 loaves for Happy Monk customers.

.

.

.

.

. #bread #realbread #naturallyleavened #baker #bakery #bbga #artisanbread #breadhead #sourdough #sourdoughbread #penderisland #southpenderislands #happymonkbaking #happymonkbakingcompany #wholegrainbread #breadhead #michebread #realbread #rusticbread #southerngulfislands #southerngulfislandsbakers #southerngulfislandsbakeries
...

31 0
REMINDER: Happy Monk is on Summer Break! We're off on our annual late summer respite. Next bread day is Sept. 22. See you then! (photo by Davy Joel Rippner)

REMINDER: Happy Monk is on Summer Break! We`re off on our annual late summer respite. Next bread day is Sept. 22. See you then! (photo by Davy Joel Rippner) ...

27 0
Happy Monk Tidings - August 30, 2023 🍞 - BAKER'S CHOICE:  Mountain Rye Bread; BLOG: Making Bread and Art With A Message; NOTE: Happy Monk is on Holiday for the Next Two Weeks - https://mailchi.mp/ae234548bd1a/happy_monk_tidings_aug30

Happy Monk Tidings - August 30, 2023 🍞 - BAKER`S CHOICE: Mountain Rye Bread; BLOG: Making Bread and Art With A Message; NOTE: Happy Monk is on Holiday for the Next Two Weeks - https://mailchi.mp/ae234548bd1a/happy_monk_tidings_aug30 ...

26 0
Happy Monk Tidings - August 23, 2023 🍞 - BAKER'S CHOICE: Bold Beer Bread; BLOG: Cheese Karma; More Happy Monk holidays coming soon! https://mailchi.mp/783a72739071/happy_monk_tidings_aug23

Happy Monk Tidings - August 23, 2023 🍞 - BAKER`S CHOICE: Bold Beer Bread; BLOG: Cheese Karma; More Happy Monk holidays coming soon! https://mailchi.mp/783a72739071/happy_monk_tidings_aug23 ...

25 0
Happy Monk Tidings - August 9, 2023 🍞 - BAKER'S CHOICE: Sesame Sourdough; BLOG: Say A Prayer For The Perfect Loaf; ANNOUNCEMENT: Happy Monk Summer Holiday Schedule https://mailchi.mp/99197a16b166/happy_monk_tidings_aug9

Happy Monk Tidings - August 9, 2023 🍞 - BAKER`S CHOICE: Sesame Sourdough; BLOG: Say A Prayer For The Perfect Loaf; ANNOUNCEMENT: Happy Monk Summer Holiday Schedule https://mailchi.mp/99197a16b166/happy_monk_tidings_aug9 ...

33 1
Happy Monk Tidings - August 2, 2023 🍞 - BLOG: The Great Laugh (a poem); Baker's Choice: Honey Whole Wheat Sandwich Loaf; [Campaign URL]

Happy Monk Tidings - August 2, 2023 🍞 - BLOG: The Great Laugh (a poem); Baker`s Choice: Honey Whole Wheat Sandwich Loaf; [Campaign URL] ...

16 0
Happy Monk Blog - July 26, 2023 🍞 - Swimming the Neighbourhoods; how John Cheever's short story, The Swimmer, made more sense to kids in the summertime. [See LinkTree in Profile ]

Happy Monk Blog - July 26, 2023 🍞 - Swimming the Neighbourhoods; how John Cheever`s short story, The Swimmer, made more sense to kids in the summertime. [See LinkTree in Profile ] ...

13 0
Happy Monk Tidings - July 19, 2023 🍞
Baker's Choice: Cinnamon-Raisin Bread; BLOG: Coffee, Tea and Hot Chocolate [ See LinkTree in Profile ]

Happy Monk Tidings - July 19, 2023 🍞
Baker`s Choice: Cinnamon-Raisin Bread; BLOG: Coffee, Tea and Hot Chocolate [ See LinkTree in Profile ]
...

26 0
Happy Monk Blog - July 12, 2023 🍞 - "Nothing I Cared in the Lamb White Days" - Climate change and watching the moon rise over the Salish Sea. [ See LinkTree in Profile ]

Happy Monk Blog - July 12, 2023 🍞 - "Nothing I Cared in the Lamb White Days" - Climate change and watching the moon rise over the Salish Sea. [ See LinkTree in Profile ] ...

36 0
Happy Monk Tidings - July 5, 2023 🍞 - BAKER'S CHOICE: Olive Sourdough; ReBLOG: Salvador Dalí and the Art of Bread [ Click LinkTree in Profile ]

Happy Monk Tidings - July 5, 2023 🍞 - BAKER`S CHOICE: Olive Sourdough; ReBLOG: Salvador Dalí and the Art of Bread [ Click LinkTree in Profile ] ...

22 0
Happy Monk Tidings - June 28, 2023 🍞 - BAKER'S CHOICE: Spelt and Honey Sourdough; BLOG: Black Robe and Rise of the Machine [ See LinkTree in Profile ]

Happy Monk Tidings - June 28, 2023 🍞 - BAKER`S CHOICE: Spelt and Honey Sourdough; BLOG: Black Robe and Rise of the Machine [ See LinkTree in Profile ] ...

29 2
Stately, plump German Rye loaves that even Buck Mulligan would love. This day June 16, Happy Bloomsday all!

Stately, plump German Rye loaves that even Buck Mulligan would love. This day June 16, Happy Bloomsday all! ...

41 3

2 thoughts on “Out Here the Mind Would Empty

  1. David. Oh my, what a beautiful picture you paint as I sit in my chair Drummond Bay calmly caressing the shore and a golden glow rising up from near the majestic White Mountain. I am calm. Stuart

    1. Thank you, Stuart!We do live in a kind of paradise!

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.