Skip to content

OPINION: 'Scandala,' a spoken-word poem for Squamish

Editor’s note: This poem was inspired by a string of hard luck that befell Crystal Favel and her partner, including health issues and job loss related to COVID-19. Then the Sea to Sky Gondola, where her husband worked, was cut again.
Crystal Favel

Editor’s note: This poem was inspired by a string of hard luck that befell Crystal Favel and her partner, including health issues and job loss related to COVID-19. Then the Sea to Sky Gondola, where her husband worked, was cut again. She processed her feelings in this piece.


Seven days of tears, fears, social distancing leers, can’t even hug and console our peers, after living here for seven years.

Disappointment beyond belief, can’t get relief, from this ongoing grief, from what happened under the moonlight on the Chief.

I wake up and hope it was just a nightmare, nope it’s real, it’s just not fair. That phone call to tell me the news, shocked by what happened my heart cried the blues, I’m a cognitive mess extreme depression ensues, don’t care what I wear, can’t even find my shoes.

My husband was there that night, his life could have been lost without a fair fight, the media confirmed he’s all right, but I shake in fear I’m extremely uptight, migraines and more tears prevent a good night, my nerves wired to explode like dynamite.

To the estuary we went, sacred time we lament, held each other while we vent, how will we pay our rent? ...our lives forever different, every penny we have spent, to prevent, being kicked to the pavement, but my husband’s handling this like a true gent.

I don’t want him to go back, obligations tie us to the track, my anxiety ropes me in, railroaded once again. The speeding train runs me over I can hardly breathe, deal with my baggage I don’t want to leave. This situation changes day to day hard to engineer, if it weren’t for this brain injury I could see crystal clear.

I put my forehead on my husband’s chest, told him I don’t want to be homeless, again. Don’t want to sleep under the bridge, memories from my youth living on the edge, now waking up every day is a privilege, I’m a survivor with healing courage.

A book with no chapters yet everlasting drama, a twist in the plot as we battle this second trauma, a crescendo with no hero, Groundhog Day back to zero. No conclusion to this story, spilled guts but no glory, however, I sense a turnaround shortly, something positive more importantly.

Finally! Amidst tears running down my cheek, I look up to see this sign from the street, sweet sentiments to the gondola family, that made me smile immediately.

And the next night driving, up to the light we were arriving, we spotted a fuzzy black bear bum running away, then we broke out in laughter what can I say, some things are worth living for, that includes the estuary next door.

And when I heard the horses shuffling and eating the grass, I got lost in their peacefulness but quickly ran from their gas, then we broke out in laughter and forgot about our loss, we are blessed with visiting horses and I kissed the one that’s the boss.

And greeting the neighbourhood dogs with smiles, tall, short, dressed in different styles, all animals welcome unconditional love for miles.

Especially this patrol dog Gus likes to guard his spot on the street by the bus, then we broke out in laughter as we call his name, we wave like he’s a celebrity or it wouldn’t be the same.

See, there is so much more to love in Squamish, entertained by the jumping fish, accompanied by a lanky crane or two, listening to the honking geese that flew, and a glimpse of the stellar jays that are blue.

Watching crows mock the people who walk by, raccoons in the garbage on the spy, captivating moths n’ butterflies swerve by my eyes, rare stoic eagles who command the skies; who look down on squatting cats who window the daylight, listen to award-winning frogs who sing at midnight, hawks clawing prey with talons of might.

And don’t forget the two ravens who live on the Chief, up to all kinds of mischief, tried to open the secured garbage cans, which is impossible without human hands, we broke out in laughter when we saw them try, amazed by their tenacity to pry, respectfully we greeted them as they flew by, the second-largest granite cliffs in the world from sea to sky.

Now! Every day we wake up to each other, with hope in our heart we let go of this bother, embrace what the universe has planned, understand and keep appreciating Squamish First Nations’ sacred land.

The next time I pick up garbage along the estuary, I will always remember that it’s necessary, to stay safe in uncertain times, to convey that good-hearted people are damaged by crimes, when in fact, I’d rather treasure my life with animals through karmic rhymes.