She is ever-present, omnipresent. She sails the Squamish mountains. Wherever you go in Squamish, she is there, front and center.
Squamish is blessed by wind. It cools us while other places suffer from the scorching sun.
The wind is so beloved that we hold a festival to it every year.
Get ready to celebrate at the upcoming Squamish Wind Festival of the Arts.
I recently walked past the dock and saw how the boats bob on sparkling water by the ripples caused by the wind. It whipped the nautical flags on their poles. I heard wind chimes.
At the Spit, I saw kites like upside-down crescent moons soar in the sky.
Kiteboarders tethered to them, skimmed the surface of the river, revelling in the speed and spray. A young kiteboarder said, “Harnessing the wind is such a rush. It makes you feel free.”
The wind inspires us with many inspirational sayings:
“Go fly a kite!”
“Kites rise highest against the wind, not with it,” a saying that is often attributed to Winston Churchill, but the sentiment was first written by author and critic John Neal in 1846.
“When you can’t change the direction of the wind — adjust your sails,” said by U.S. author H. Jackson Brown Jr.
And there’s the old Irish blessing, somewhat modified by Johnny Depp, “May the wind always be at your back, and the sun upon your face, and may the winds of destiny carry you aloft to dance with the stars.”
Mother Wind cradles Squamish as a cherished child.
She is also known as the witch on the mountain. Have you noticed? She’s grinning these days.
Some see her image clearly, the witch in constant flight on the rock of the Stawamus Chief, when you look to the left. Looking to the right, some see a dancing bear. There are other Squamish icons.
There’s the sign you pass on the highway. “Welcome to Squamish” with its scene of sky, river, mountain and rock.
Toward town, you pass the larger than life lumberjack at the casino, reminiscent of Squamish’s logging past. Turn onto Cleveland Avenue and pass the aisle of jutting rocks, affectionately known as Squamishhenge, a take on the ancient, spiritual Stonehenge.
I recently read of the steps taken by our local politicians to preserve Squamish waters from those who want to bottle and sell it.
We must also preserve the wind that those who contain it and experiment with it, release it back into the skies purified. (Where is the smell of burnt sugar coming from?)
Residents want assurance that proper care is taken in its land development.
After the recent debate over Squamish’s name, it’s obvious. People are passionate about this town! Knowing this, maybe that’s why Mother Wind is smiling.
Squamish’s Melody Wales graduated from Ryerson University and has worked as a columnist for various publications.
Editor's note: This opinion column has been corrected since it was first posted. Previously, it incorrectly stated that the word Squamish translates to "mother of wind," but Squamish Nation Skwxwu7mesh speakers have told us that is not the case, thus we removed that from this piece.