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Blogging Prompts for Threshold Between Worlds


Reflect, respond or expand upon the ideas and information expressed in the following passages:

  • "Like Tolkein's Ents, the trees of the Northwest have been marching up and down the coast for eons, fleeing southward with ice age and reclaiming lost territory as the glaciers recede. The current rebound is still under way, with the result that the Sitka spruce are advancing northward at a rate of about one kilometre every century. Western red cedar, the tree from which Northwest Coast tribes derived virtually all of their building material, has been in existence in its present range for only four or five thousand years. Thus, while individual species may be ancient and the trees may qualify as "old growth," the forests that contain them are merely children by geologic standards, and even by our own. By the time the first of these trees had matured, human beings had been living in North America for at least five thousand years." (p. 10)
  • "This land, lying 'west of west' represents a concentration of what one might call geographic essence, as if the nature and spirit of a much larger region were compressed into a space too small for it to plausibly hold. Greenhouses, libraries, and museums can simulate this effect, but Jerusalem is an example of the real thing, as are the Aran Islands, Yosemite National Park, and Delphi. Lower Manhattan is a modern urban version, and the cathedral at Chartres is an ecclesiastic one. For many British Columbians and others familiar with this part of the world, the Queen Charlottes - or Haida Gwaii - represent a kind of Soul Home, a wild, native Eden; even if they haven't been there, it is a place whose existence they find at once stimulating and reassuring." (p. 13)
  • "Ever since the end of the last Ice Age, the Queen Charlottes have been on their own, and responsibility for this lies solely with the Hecate Straight. Within a space of only eighty kilometres the sea depth around the island changes from three thousand metres to less than sixty. This relatively rapid decrease, combined with exposure to the full brunt of severe polar storms and huge Pacific rollers, can cause the straight to explode from a flat calm to eighteen metre waves in a couple of hours. The broad, shallow channel - barely thirty metres deep in some places - was named after the British paddle-wheel sloop HMS Hecate. Armed with heavy guns, the vessel was brought up to the Charlottes in 1861, both to survey the surrounding waters and to ensure that recently arrived copper miners wouldn't be attacked by the Haida. Naming geographical features after one's ship was a common practice in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, but few of these names fit their subjects as well as the Hecate's did. Hecate is a Greek godess of sorcery and witchcraft often associated with fishermen and the land of the dead. According to the Oxford's Dictionary of Classical Myth and Religion, she is "intrinsically ambivilent and polymorphous. She straddles conventional boundaries and eludes definition." She has been depicted with man-eating dogs for feet and is known as a source of abundance of all kinds, including storms." (p. 15)




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