Monday, October 29, 2007

Ravens in the City

The Museum Of Anthropology is housed in a soaring concrete and glass "post and beam" structure on top of a hill on the UBC campus, with sweeping views of the coast. They have an extensive collection of carvings, totem poles, house post and beams, bentwood boxes, dugout canoes, potlatch serving dishes, and jewelry, mostly from the Salish tribes of southern BC and the Haida from Haia Gwaii (the Queen Charlotte Islands). We arrived just when they opened on Saturday morning, squeezing in a visit before leaving town. The "Raven w/ Early Humans" carving, by legendary Haida artist Bill Reid had been much anticipated since Matt described it to me some days earlier. It's carved from a huge block of yellow cedar and sits on a WWII gun turret the museum built around. A skylight above makes the sculpture glow.

We hooked up with David Wolowidnyk for lunch after the museum. He's an old friend from Cayman who paddled Glacier Bay with me in 2001. So, bellies distended from poutine, we navigated the street of Surrey, BC, past lots of very American stripmall development and huge, tightly packed houses sprouting like mushrooms, the Fried Piper maneuvering among the hordes of Canadians heading south to spend their soaring dollar in the malls of America.
The homeland security people had no interest in our homemade power plant, and we were back in the US without incident, soon plying the familiar alleys of Bellingham in search of a greasy fix. A locked dumpster and a few empty ones caused some fuel jitters, "maybe the supply is finally locked down!", but Matt stayed calm and eventually we were slurping an old familiar dumpster dry and heading for a fine reunion at the chicken ranch, with Joe, Heather, and baby Pearl.

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