Funny, it seems that often at this time of year I’m called away…again this time with a hospitalized relative in Vancouver, so I can only dream of the lazy spring evenings at my hut. But our current house sitter assures me the flowers are as magnificent as always and the wind up there is blowing just as peacefully.
My humble writer’s hut, measuring eight feet by eight feet, perches above my home near Victoria, BC in a clearing I’ve dubbed “Plateau of the Muses”….where of course I hope to meet my muse. And quite often, she does show up.
In April and May, the hillside that surrounds my hut is transformed by the wildflowers and other greenery that emerge in their annual Easter parade: first the purple satin flowers, next the gorgeous white erythronium (Easter lilies) with their dappled leaves, followed by the hot pink shooting stars — narrow as an arrow — the delicate calypso orchids, and the tiny spring gold. Later, for the final drum roll, the purple-blue camas appears.
The first spring after we moved to our home here, I was enchanted with the discovery of the annual wildflowers, so fragile, so persistent, so unexpected. We’ve worked on eliminating the dreaded broom from our property every year — and every year, as a result, the carpet of wildflowers has grown larger.
The Metchosin hillside where my hut sits has become my refuge, my place of solace…my sacred place, and I’ve gone there when cancer and other illnesses have almost paralyzed us with fear, have nearly broken my heart. Here, in the natural setting of my hut, I’ve always found peace.
I wrote a whole chapter about my hut (A Hut of my Own) in my book Havens in a Hectic World: Finding Sacred Places (TouchWood Editions, 2008) and realized that as I went through the process of writing that book, my understanding of how I respond to the genius loci (spirit of place) in our part of the world became clearer.
In times of personal crisis, I need to go to the places that renew and calm me. We all need havens that feel safe, where nothing is expected of us, and where, despite our solitude, we feel connected to others and to the natural world. Where is your place?
(A postscript here: Star Weiss (www.starweiss.ca) will be reading from Havens in a Hectic World: Finding Sacred Places as part of the Earth Day celebrations at Chapters bookstore on Douglas Street in Victoria, BC, at 5 p.m. on Saturday, April 24, 2010. She will be joined by Nuu-chah-nulth storyteller Michael McCarthy. All are welcome.)
All photos © Holly Broadland