Friday, June 3, 2011

The Other Side of the Klamath: The Spit and Brush Dance Site

We went to see the Yurok Brush Dance Site on the way out to the spit. The Brush Dances normally happen in July, so the area is still quite overgrown with grass.

Geneva told me about her experience with her daughter in the pit. The roofs come off of the pit-houses, and the mother with child (who is the focus of the brush-dance) live inside for 4 days - the duration of the ceremony. She talked about sitting in the pit with her baby, and listening to all the dancing around her, then looking up to see the many many people looking down, all in honour of her and her baby, and how whole she felt; how home, and how special. Her mother Jan talked about the feeling of participating in the Brush Dance, knowing that her feet are walking the same patterns in the same regalia, on the same ground that her mother's and grandmother's did, and how whole it made her feel, and how home. This is the site of continuity; of the passing down of family, tradition, knowledge, healing, and potential.
And of course this spit: the place for fishing, gathering, and community, is right next to the Brush Dance site.

Oregos looks over at the spit from Woge's beach, across the river.

Tal made a Mt. Rushmore-ish sculpture on the sand-bank.

People were fishing for red-tailed perch, which swim in the trough just offshore.

The spit is so vast and expansive that, when mostly deserted as it was this morning, it feels nearly hollow. There is a sort of sucking wind that takes voices out to sea, and people just barely shrouded by mist are inaudible and seem to be miles away.

At other times, the spit is populated by birds and mammals. Today there was only a skeleton.

Everything seems to be big and wide. Even beach-writing. Rhiannon cut her fingers on a stick and wrote a message in the sand to encourage us back to the band-aid-box in the car. This message was nearly 100 feet long.

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