The Indian Rock

A course I am beginning tomorrow, entitled Aboriginal Worldviews and Education [1] asks for a pre-starting activity, Meaningful Place. We are to post in the forum, the description of a place that has meaning in our lives, and why. It is intended to be a sort of introduction to fellow students, as well as the beginnings of a theme which will hopefully thread through the course. I am looking forward to the next four weeks.

I will try to post a few of my thoughts and activities as my studies progress.

In the meantime, here is what I have written; my Meaningful Place …

The island holds a special wide rock on its westerly shore. Weekly, as a girl, I was tasked to sweep the rock clean; I never knew why, only that it was kept clear as far back as my great grandmother’s time.

To the north, you step down to a smaller space where sunlight dims, temperature falls and noise recedes, a natural cathedral walled and canopied with great long-needle white pines, a private space for deep thought and prayer.

The west wall drops suddenly to the water, but in those days, held the roots of an ancient cedar, its bole swung low over the water before arching skyward. The leaning tree; you could see its distinct outline from the far south shores of the lake.

Years later, I visited for a last time. The leaning tree was dying, the sweeping task long abandoned, but when I peeled back a carpet of black-scented loam and pine needles, faint traces of ancient petroglyphs, sun, moon phases, fish, were still visible. I gently restored the grassy carpet, comforted to know that the ancient lore of rituals and battles was held close in the rock, dreaming on.

And today? The Indian Rock is long buried beneath progress, but its power remains, power to call the heart home at a moment’s quiet thought.

  1. Coursera; This course (my second at Coursera) is lead by Professor Jean-Paul Restoule, through the University of Toronto. If you haven’t looked at what Coursera offers, I recommend you visit — it is a wonderful resource for continuing education with a huge number of universities now contributing.  ↩