I still haven't finished the Olympic storytelling, but our computer was acting up for the last several days - crashing every 10 minutes, which wasn't conducive to the longer task of photo formatting and blogging. Now that THAT is sorted... I'm going to interrupt the Olympic narrative for this morning's Paralympic happenings:
The Paralympic torch relay is considerably shorter than its Olympic counterpart, and the torch was lit this morning from a sacred ceremonial fire, "gifted" to the community by the local Squamish and Lil'wat nations. The ceremony took place at the Squamish Lil'wat cultural centre (as it happens, just a couple of blocks from our home.)
After some traditional singing, drumming, and dancing, the fire was blessed by a Lil'wat elder:
It was handed off twice,
before being deposited in a safety lantern for the trip up Blackcomb mountain, across the Peak to Peak Gondola, and down Whistler mountain to the Village.
To be honest, I wasn't sure I had the emotional capacity left to be moved by yet another ceremony... but I was. This one was far more intimate than the tens of thousands that greeted the Olympic torch - and all the more special because of the connection I've had over the last couple of years with various elders and members of the Squamish and Lil'wat nations. The opportunity to integrate our local First Nations as proud hosts and citizens, and to begin to understand and incorporate their history and tradition and connection with the land into our community consciousness, has been one of the very best legacies of the Games.
Perhaps I'll write more about that another day - relations with First Nations communities and the fallout from colonialism has been a passion of mine for decades, and the things that happened in and as a result of the Olympic bid and games here in Whistler and Vancouver are simply breathtaking in terms of the nature and scope of genuine good-will and healing.