DAY 330: I want to be prolific and profound – whatever it takes to get the attention of those who have the power to release Sarah, Shane and Josh from Evin Prison, Iran.
I’m hiking around Killarney Lake on Bowen Island thinking about why it’s so hard for the words to flow. And I realize it’s because I don’t want to write to those who have power. I don’t want to write to the world. I want to write to Josh. Talk to Josh. See Josh…So I will.
“Josh, I keep trying to honour your request to appreciate my freedom. To notice and relish everything I sense – so that I can share it with you while you’re kept imprisoned, locked away from the world, unable to see your loved ones, feel the breeze, hear the birds, taste the rain.
It’s hard to be fully present anywhere I am when my heart is with you. But these few days on Bowen Island I try to drink everything in with all my senses. Today as I walk around the lake I listen to the breeze through the trees - ocean waves meeting the shore. I feel the fingers of the breeze stroking my hair, as I admire the ferns as far as my eye can see. The leaves on the trees reflect dark shadows into the lake merging with the emerald green lilypads. The birds sing to each other through the ocean breeze under the wispy, white clouds painting the blue sky.
The sun shines straight down form the tops of the tall tree trunks towering over me, feeling as if a divine presence is showing me the way. The moss clings to the branches and the fallen trunks, an enchanted forest of green. I walk the trail and am stopped in my tracks by the beauty of the sun shining on a boulder springing with ferns. I look up into a web of latticed leaves, some shimmering in the sun and those beneath in contrasting shadow.
My peaceful reverie is broken by some other hiker loudly exclaiming over the root structure of a tree curved like a ‘C’. I walk past in search of a quieter space to plant my own roots. I see a sign indicating a look out point and I take a turn to see what I can see. I wonder what beautiful sites you saw on your last hike and wish you could tell me about them. Did the falls remind you of our swim amidst the falls in Gordon’s Bay, South Africa? Or our cave boating in China?
I imagine you sitting beside me on the wooden bench looking out over the lake and telling me all about it. I carry the hope that those vivid images and memories carry you through your many minutes, hours and days in your cell. And drown out memories of your traumatic capture. I breathe deeply. Breathing the forest air in and breathing my pain out. Again.
I come upon a seedling growing right out of a seemingly dead and rotten trunk. It makes me think of rebirth. Hope that rebirth is possible. Birds flying from the ferns growing from fallen trees renew my hope.
I stop and look at the path behind me and the path before me and wonder when you will be given back your freedom to continue on your path. Into your future. Why have we had to yield here? Why is there this bend in the road? A butterfly flies towards me from the bend, then flutters above into the trees. Reminding me that transformation is possible. Sometimes necessary. I wonder how this is transforming you. And wish you could tell me.
I scrutinize the footage from your mother’s visit looking for signs. I see sadness in your eyes such as I have never seen. I see anger as you draw your breath in at the injustice of the reporter's question, “Do you regret walking into Iran?”, when you know that you were captured in Iraq and violently forced into Iran. Then sadness at your inability to speak out about the injustice for yourself. The injustice of your violent capture and the ongoing injustice of your now 11 month imprisonment, without due process. I feel sadness with you as you lower your eyes, knowing you have spoken out about injustice for so many others…including me. I hold onto the strength and peace of spirit I feel emanating from you. The peace of the lagoon and strength of the mountains I pass as I continue on my way.
Hot, crispy yam tempura and cool, soft avocado sushi rolls melt in my mouth and assuage my post-hike hunger pangs. They will tide me over until the light dinner of Bowen Island salad greens, BC tomatoes and cashew carrot ginger soup I pick up from the Ruddy Potato, Bowen Island’s organic food store. I carry my dinner up the trail to Artisan Square. I love a place that has trails leading me where I want to go. The never--ending slope tests my lungs. Lungs used to the relative flatness of Ontario. A vista overlooking the ocean against a mountain backdrop provides a welcome respite. And Cocoa West, the Organic Chocolate Café up ahead provides an irresistible lure. The hot chocolate is foamy, rich, chocolate goodness and the tiramisu and salted caramel chocolates heavenly perfect creations. I want to share them with you.
I wonder about the food that you’re eating. Do you have any choice? Variety? How hard do you find it not to be able to cook for yourself, others…as you used to do for me? How hard do you find it not to be able to grow your own food or at the very least choose fresh, healthy food and herbal remedies to soothe your body, mind, heart and soul? Or does worry about your larger predicament overshadow such mundane concerns?
I want to share my Rescue Remedy with you. And the Vital Ginseng and Vit E capsules you bought me in Cape Town that I’ve been rationing for 11 months. The 11 months that you’ve been cut off from me. From everyone. I’ve needed everything I can get to help me stay strong. My nosebleeds that started on Day 250 in Brooklyn and recur on particularly stressful markers, are telling me that my strength is limited. And I worry about how long you can wait. For the Iranian authorities to finally see that there is only one thing they can do and that is to release you and Sarah and Shane to the many, many thousands around the world waiting for that day.
One last dip in the sizzling, bubbling hot tub overlooking the sweeping valley. The clouds that were hovering so low I couldn’t leave the comfort of my ‘Forest’ room, have lifted. I can see another whole mountain range in the distance. I can’t take my eyes off their snow-capped peaks and the glowing ‘Pink Jasper’ sky. The mountains stand strong and defiant – unmovable amidst the shifting clouds. And Pink Jasper signifies healing, justice, protection, and courage. I send that all to you."