Into the West: A Vancouver Reflection


Into the West: A Vancouver Reflection

The powers that be, in the film studio on Princess Street in Winnipeg, decided to go for it in Vancouver. I’m speaking about the premiere of our film Call of the Forest: The Forgotten Wisdom of Trees, which screened in the Cinematheque on Howe.

Spring was in the air when I packed my bags and headed for Westjet. After a two-day stopover in Winnipeg to attend Sophia Rabliauska’s defense of the boreal forest, and deliver a lecture at the University of Winnipeg, I packed up again and set off for the “Daisy-Chain City” of Vancouver.

The Cinematheque Theatre began filling by the third night. Then it began filling some more. Then spare chairs were brought in. Then people who had already seen the film offered to leave to give space to those who had not.

I sat on the carpet of the aisle with my back against the wall. A scandalized theatre owner/operator came along with a big chair and said to me ‘You can’t do that, you’re in the film!’ So, I sat on the chair and enjoyed the show along with everybody else.

Some of the afternoons were spent ‘Forest Bathing’ in Great Spirit Park, joined by huge crowds. A huge thank you to Hartley Banack from Wild About Vancouver and to the Musqueam First Nations whose land we visited.

I particularly wanted to demonstrate forest bathing around one tree, a broadleaf which is vital to the West Coast: Arbutus Menziesii, also known as the Pacific Madrone. The flowers of this ancient heath species produce antibiotic aerosols, which I showed how to make the best use of through breathing. It is particularly useful to protect the health of people in aging.

Then I did a signing in Banyen Books & Sound. I enjoyed the audience immensely and found their opinions very interesting. And, of course, we ran out of books. Tom, the delightful owner, and Ross were diligent hosts in this little oasis of bound books. The folks at Banyen are plotting another Vancouver screening in the very, very near future.

So, it’s off to Victoria from April 24th to May 1st, where we will have screenings in Victoria’s Cinecenta, followed by Q&A’s with some of the top dogs that we will drag howling and protesting from the Ivory Towers of the U of Vic.

And yes, I will do Forest Bathing Walks on the side. And yes, I will get marvelous tea from my friends Bob and Lee Colwill. And yes, I will share a ‘wee dram’ with my director, Jeff McKay, who will be coming with me to Victoria. I have some beautiful friends in that beautiful city-by-the-sea. I enjoy myself there and can only envy them because they have better gardening conditions than I enjoy here in my zone 3-4 garden with all of its ice and snow.

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