It’s Sunday morning as I draft this, and I’m sitting on my deck in the spring sunshine looking at my poppies, and wondering if I might have any luck if I try to transplant them. 

They are green and full leaved at the moment.  I made this garden in our postage-stamp suburban yard, adjacent to our house. 

We moved here two years ago after leaving the co-housing community where we had thought for a brief time that our dreams were going to grow and flower for the rest of our lives. But that’s another story.

I’m pretty sure they bloomed last year in June and July, (the poppies that is), but I can’t remember for sure. 

A quick google search tells me it could be as early as May. 

Last year was the first time I grew poppies from seeds that I had intentionally planted. These ones are brilliant blood red – probably the same as the ones that grew in the infamous Flanders Fields, and I’ve seen them in Palestinian art also. They are so beautiful.

I’m thinking about how I might not get to see them bloom this year because I don’t know when we’ll be moving from this place. 

We received notice from our landlords a few weeks ago that they need their house for July 1st because their kids will start school here in the fall. They’re ready to join their beautiful grandmother living in our little seaside town.

I’m thinking about home, and wondering where we will end up. 

We were hoping for another year in this house before we (fingers crossed) might be able to get a mortgage for our own place, so it’s not ideal to have to move right now, but also, how blessed we are to have options that many don’t. 

This land is the traditional territory of the Tla’amin people, and one of their old village sites is now the richest neighbourhood in this town. The other main village site has the now closed down pulp mill on it. A giant machine, now useless, sitting where the heart of village life once flourished. 💔

Most places you go these days, you can’t acknowledge the history of the land without acknowledging tremendous grief. 

When European settlers came to North America, the Indigenous people didn’t have a worldview that included the context for the possibility of “owning” or “selling” land. 

Rather than having dominion over the land, they saw themselves as responsible to caretake the land, because they understood that this relationship was critical for the survival of the future generations.

I’m thinking also this morning of Palestine, and the people there who have been pushed from their homes and land where they have lived since time immemorial. Generations upon generations on the same land, many actually inhabited the same plot of land as their great-grandparents lived. Imagine the connection with place one would have. 💔

I’m wondering, as someone with Irish-English ancestry who was born as an uninvited guest on the traditional territory of the Snuneymuxw people and has moved over 70 times in my life, what kind of relationship with the land & sense of place I am missing that I can’t even grasp. 

I’m wondering what I might not even be aware of that I probably need to grieve, as I prepare to let go of this particular little patch of land and the few trees that I’ve been sitting with for the past two years every morning.

I’m thinking about poppies, and how I’ve made it my intention the last few years to make an effort to cultivate beauty in my life. 

I lived so many years focused solely on meeting basic needs as a single parent, it always seemed like a luxury I couldn’t afford. In the last 5 years,  I’ve started to recognize this as a trauma narrative/pattern/belief. 

Sound familiar? Decolonization starts inside our own bodies, minds & hearts. 

Beauty, I’ve realized, can actually be very cost-effective to create, and like good company, it gives us more energy, not less. 

If you’ve ever been to a third world country like Guatemala, there you see that despite incredible poverty and hardship, creating beauty is simply woven (literally, through incredible embroidery & handmade fabric) into their lives.

It’s just that rather than Netflix, they fill their spare moments with practicing and refining their craft. 

They make beauty rather than consuming content. 

We can do this too! 

And despite decades of war on their culture funded by US tax dollars, this beautiful art survives in rural indigenous culture all throughout this area. 

Typically as Westerners, we appreciate this beauty – we buy the tapestries and fabrics – we consume it – but most of us don’t consider creating our own. After all, art can’t make you a living in our fast-paced society, right?

Is this something we need to reconsider as a society? After all, when you start to understand how our nervous systems heal, you understand that beauty is a natural antidote to trauma.
(Also, pro tip, you can watch your favourite Netflix show AND make things with your hands at the same time LOL. 🙂

May these poppies bless their eyes, hearts and minds of all who see them flower to truer sight as they have opened mine, just as sharing our stories can open the eyes, hearts and minds of those we share them with.