As I left Spanish, Ontario on the trail a few weeks ago, I traveled west towards Serpent River. As I turned a corner to follow the trail to the water, I passed an old graveyard and noticed many white nameless crosses. A few minutes later a large stone building caught my eye. From a distance it looked almost like a crumbling castle but as I approached it, I knew it wasn’t. The roof was gone, the windows were gone, but the four-story stone building remained. Inside the building, trees were growing. Over the coming years those trees will push the stones down, their roots will slowly defy the granites strength. After a few moments of looking at the building, I continued down the road still uncertain what story unfolded where this ghost building remained. Then I noticed across the street on an empty field what looked like the dead remains of a tree standing about 14 feet tall. I was drawn to it so I began walking across the field towards it and as I got closer I realized it was a sculpture. Entitled, Free Spirits, it was a memorial for Residential School Survivors. That empty building had been a residential school for girls. Not far from the sculpture had been where the boys school once stood.
After I finished the mountain bike riding in Blind River, Ann picked me up and we returned to the sculpture and filmed this short film. The music is by Stephane Dufort. ( http://500daysinthewild.com.nmsrv.com/a-rail-line-a-tee-pee-and-cooking-a-wild-goose-the-trans-canada-trail-from-montreal-to-ottawa/) I would love to credit the artist in the video, if anyone knows their name please let me know so I can add it on.
I find the sculpture powerful and inspiring.
Seems appropriate to share now on the eve of Winter Solstice as we leave the dark for longer days.