Sunday 14 February 2010


Dreams are made of these
sights on the Waterfront

The Vancouver Sun
is setting
on Canada Place
and the sea
looks rained on.

China and Japan are
in a city of happenings
and lights are aglow
on Grouse Mountain.

Winding past the Maple Leaf Store
the smell of blueberries
and Douglas firs
brings me home.

Today is Valentine's Day, and a love poem is due; mine is to the healing spirits of the city of Vancouver. I visited in 2002 and my impression from arrival at the airport to discovering Frida Kahlo at the Van Art Gallery and Zora Neale Hurston at the Van Public Library, to the oldest trees on botanic walks in Stanley Park, the city simply enveloped me in a halo of perfection, a presence that I can only long to experience again. Winter Olympics are in full swing now, despite tragedies and from across the waters my friend Jo at A Majority of Two has delightfully sent me a parcel of Olympic 2010 souvenirs. A beautiful glass/ceramic Inukshuk, a pen carved in the shape of a Canadian Mounty, and a silver keyring. Jo, thankyou so so much for your thoughtful gifts. The Inukshuk sits on my highest shelf far from its Arctic home, where once it would have marked the threshold of the spiritual landscape of the Inummariit, 'the people who knew how to survive on the land living in a traditional way'. Some inuksuit were built to serve as message centres. They could indicate, for example, dangerous places, the depth of snow, the direction of the mainland from an island where seals or fish could be taken. These inuksuit were designed to be messages fixed in time and space. Others were personal notes left on the landscape -- perhaps for a wife to follow her husband at a later date, or as an expression of grief marking the place where a loved one perished.
The traditional meaning of the inukshuk is 'Someone was here' or 'You are on the right path'.
What could be more romantic on Valentine's Day, than these timeless messages of fidelity, faith and hope?

Images of Inukshuk via flickr, travelblog and lodestar


Maggie May said...


Happy Valentine, my sensitive, talented friend.

lupie said...

Happy Valentine ... :)

Eila said...

Oh, I like that- the husband leaving a message for his wife to follow.

I also love your description of Vancouver and how it felt. Another place I must go.

Have a lovely, healthy day:)

RNSANE said...

Vancouver is a wonderful city - a sister, of sorts, to San Francisco and, as such, I've been fortunate to visit there at least 20 times in the 33 years I've lived in the San Francisco area. It is clean and crisp, with its mountains meeting the sea and its multi-ethnic population just as San Francisco has. I could easily live there as well.

mermaid gallery said...

I grew up in Vancouver and your description is spot on. The games are a way for the world to see the beauty. We see your beauty through your words. lovely....

Fly Girl said...

What a lovely tradition. I love Canada but have not made it to Cancouver. Your description makes me want to move it to the top of my travel list.

Maia said...

I did not know of this symbol, but it's a very human one, a connection, a hope, a promise. Thanks for this!

As far as I know, the year of the tiger is about bravery. The tiger is the protector of the household, keeping us safe. That sounds good to me, no?

Ruth said...

Stones resonate, they have vibrations. And when they're piled, they really do something to me too. I love inukshuk. I built one in the studio.

I think the inukshuk should be the new symbol for Valentine's Day. I really like the idea of building little altars to memorialize an event, or a relationship, or significant healing.

Love to you, Shaista.

Jo said...

Shaista, I'm so happy you got it in time for the Olympics. Yay!!!

Enjoy, and enjoy the Olympics. I hope you had a chance to see the opening ceremony.

I hope you have a chance to come back to Vancouver one day. I will give you a tour. :-)



A Cuban In London said...

What could be?

I loved this post. It was full of longing and melancholy. And that mixed with Canada is to me the perfect start to my working day. I would love to visit that country. And I guess we will, one day, soon.

Many thanks.

Happy Valentine's (belatedly).

Greetings from London.

Yin said...

Hi Shai! Belated Valentines and Chinese New Year greetings from Malaysia! I've missed your writing in the last two weeks. We've been caught up in the whirlwind of packing, jet-lag and then new year bingeing (also known as visiting the relatives). I hope the new year's started well for you!

Unknown said...

Only the other day , a friend who has visited Vancouver says I should try and visit the place. Now, I'll try harder:)Belated Happy Valentine's day

Kate said...

I hope you had a lovely Valentine's Day.

I've left an award for you on my blog if you would like to come by and pick it up!

Kate x

Sharon McPherson said...


Vancouver and Canda sounds so romantic: your story telling is beautiful. :)

Jeanne-ming Brantingham said...

Darling Shaista,
Soon you must come back to Vancouver becasue while it is indeed a shining city, it is also near me.

The poem is beautiful and your writing as sharp as a good pen.

My heart's red threads grow out to you.

rauf said...

Every stone has a story to tell Shaista

Its only love which makes life worth living, our existence is meaningless otherwise.

* said...

I love this, the realization of knowing you are on the right path. I need one of those in my life from time to time.

PS: Your blogroll is amazing, I've been going through it and could be here all night! ;)

Sherry Blue Sky said...

I have just happened upon you through Chocolate Chip Waffle and I resonate so much with your writing. I shall be following you!I especially love your description of the Inukshuk (I love Inukshuks and wish I had one in my yard!), and of Vancouver. I lived there for many years of my life and now live on Vancouver Island. You must come back and explore the island, especially its west coast over in Tofino. Amazing beauty! You would love the city of Victoria at the bottom of the island as well. I love your writing. When I first clicked on you and saw my favorite Rumi quote on your header, I knew I was in the right place~!

Patent Attorney said...

What indeed! This is a beautiful post, Inukshuk will remain in my head!

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