Monday, July 28, 2008
Day Out of Time
Last Friday was Day Out of Time Day in Roberts Creek. Located between Gibsons and Sechelt on the Sunshine Coast of British Columbia—both of which are regular towns with regular governments—Roberts Creek is an unincorporated and much more self-invented locale. A history from the 60’s of American draft avoiders and a later and continuing influx of hippies and free spirits still provides a focus for the community. But more impressive is its strong sense of itself as someplace different from the rest of the places around. And part of this difference is in its holidays.
While Sechelt and Gibsons organize for regular holidays and for tourist kinds of spectaculars (Festival of the Arts, Festival of the Written Arts, Fibre Arts Festival, Sea Cavalcade), Roberts Creek specializes in a special kind of home grown celebration. They have, of course, their own Earth Day celebration, but they also have, in August, the Higgledy Piggledy Parade--a wonderfully home-spun phenomenon--as a major feature of Creek Daze, which also includes music, food, and craft fair. Any Creek celebration will include a weekend with special live music at the Gumboot Restaurant and with a dance or concert at the Roberts Creek Hall.
Day Out of Time is the occasion for all those things, but it is especially the occasion for the re-introduction of the Roberts Creek Pier Community Mandala. Each year, someone in the community provides a new design--this year a tree--for the mandala, and everyone in the community who wants to, comes out to paint a section of that design as suits their mood and talents. The mandala, which is about 35 feet across, is located at the end of the street that leads to the Roberts Creek Pier, itself a fairly simple arrangement of rocks, benches, and water.
A few days before Day Out of Time, the design outline is painted on the street and then the folks, young and old, come in to paint their own special segment of it. The picture above is an aerial photo of this year’s finished mandala. Here are photos that Duane Burnett took of the painting and of the festivities. And here are photos I took of the day after the festivities, primarily close-ups of segments of the mandala in order to illustrate the painting style, and the way in which one walks through it.
This mandala creation tradition began maybe ten+ years ago, and it is remarkable to see it bloom again, each year, with a different form and features. Kids and adults come year after year to add their visions to a solid piece of Roberts Creek. Great memories, as well as real participation in actions that build the tradition, as opposed to just observing it. Lucky kids! Lucky adults.