A Piece of Birch Bark
Like many of you, over the past few days I’ve been mesmerized by the COVID.19 crisis. The whole world has turned upside down and life in no longer as it was. It is such a scary time for all of us. And, like many of you, I have been trying to do my part, abiding by the rules of social distancing and staying close to home. At times like this, it is so important to keep positive, keep busy, and help in whatever way we can, albeit from a distance for those of us not on the front lines.
Besides staying healthy, my head has been spinning with ideas of ways to help, things to do and ways to keep productive. My sisters and friends have been writing, tackling projects and creating so many wonderful things – quilts, crocheted rugs, pottery, delicious meals. One sister is inspired by the land, the people and the sea; another by everyday experiences; another by food and feeding people. One friend dug out a sweater she had knit several years ago. All the pieces were completed. All that was needed was to put the darn thing together – and so it began.
I, too, have been inspired – sometimes just to sit and watch through my window. With that and combined with all those thoughts swirling in my head, perhaps I can create. So I’ve been writing, reading, building a few little things, cleaning up my workshop, learning the ‘how tos’ of some new online tools, assisting clients with their websites and doing some related volunteer work. Despite the concern and worry, dare I say, “I’ve been enjoying myself!”
Now I started off this morning feeling just a little bit guilty about that … and then I heard the crows!
It All Started Over A Piece of Birch Bark
The crows have absolutely no sense! They are making such a fuss in the trees nearby – fighting over a piece of birch bark, I think. Well now, my first thought was,
“There is more than one piece of bark out there, so stop your fighting. There are a number of birch trees in our front garden so there should be lots to go round.” And then I thought, “Wait a minute! What good is a piece of Birch Bark?”
Several years ago one of my friends gifted me a necklace which she had made. It was so thoughtful of her. Such beautiful bead work! What I found most intriguing was that the pendant was created from a piece of birch bark.
Historically, indigenous people used bark to cover canoes, make watertight wigwams, cradles and even coffins to bury their dead. When I was young, my father showed me how to make a bowl out of bark that could be used for holding and boiling water especially when you’re in the middle of the woods and don’t have a container. He also showed me how to make a horn that could be used for imitating a moose call or, in the absence of bark, to cup my hands a certain way to create that same sound.
I can remember writing little notes on bark when I was a child. In recent years, I’ve gathered bark and birch sticks for making crafts and for decoration in the house. One of my friends uses birch sticks for carving and at Christmas she used the bark to make gift tags. Absolutely beautiful!
But, credit where credit is due. The crows had figured it out long before our time and now I’m thinking they were probably the reason behind our original inspirations.
The leaves and sap from the birch tree are often used for making tea and medicines. I wonder, did the crows have that figured out, too? We have discovered many things just by watching the birds and the animals.
And then I thought – toilet paper!
I hear reports that during this crisis some are standing in line ups to buy up products that they are worried will be depleted. Some are angry because services cannot be provided today or at least some not as efficiently and as quickly as they were yesterday or last week.
And then I went outside to pick up a piece of birch bark.
To all frontline workers in all lines of work – from health care to delivery crews to bankers to cleaning staff to …
Stay safe! Stay healthy!