Southey Point Rocks

Southey Point Rocks

From Ganges take Lower Ganges Road to the large four way intersection just past the golf course. You can either turn left here and take Vesuvius Road to Sunset or continue straight ahead onto North End Road.  Both Sunset and North End meet at the Southey Point Road turnoff. Follow Southey Point Road to the end where you will find a small area where you can park. Walk towards the water keeping an eye out for the path to your right that will lead you down to the beach.

The rich deep smell of the ocean – seaweed, salt water, damp wood – greeted me as I began descending down the pathway to the beach. It was early morning and I had the beach to myself. It’s amazing how our brains store memories and that those memories can be instantly and unexpectedly accessed through our sense of smell. For me the smell of the ocean instantly transported me to the beach in Lantzville, and being nine years old in a painting class learning about shading and contouring. As I walked the beach lost in memories I wasn’t really paying attention to where I was and walked right past my site but something caught my attention out of the corner of my eye and made me back track a few steps.

I was delighted as I gazed at a large beautiful sandstone lace rock formation embedded into the small cliff above the beach. I had seen similar formations on Gabriola Island and had been mesmerized by them. Sandstone is a soft stone made up of tiny particles of sand-sized minerals or rock grains and organic materials. It is amazing to think that tide after tide for eons has worn the sandstone into a small cavern. The smooth sides were etched with tide marks in varying shades of grey and blue. The smooth rounded interior reminded me of ribs and the belly of a whale. Had the cavern once been filled with a large rock that had one day fallen out into the tidal waters? Or had the interior void been slowly shaped by the continuous movement of water across its surface?

I’m first generation Finnish Canadian and as a child I was taught that all beings – plants, animals, insects, stones, water – are sacred and have a Spirit. Rocks are the oldest beings on the Earth and carry the entire history and memories of this world. First Nation sweat lodges welcome heated rocks, as Grandmothers and Grandfathers, into the sacred space. During the sweat lodge ceremony they share their teachings with those present. Rocks are also known as the bones of Mother Earth and the ancient ones.

All around the opening to the sandstone cavern were smaller voids, tiny replicas of the larger one. They reminded me of the stones I’ve found in rivers, stones that had a perfectly smooth hole worn away from their centers. The colour of the Southey Point sandstone is a beige-gray and in stark contrast to the beach which holds stones of very different colours – burgundy, black, dark grey.

I began to collect small stones from the beach to place into the smaller voids. I was surprised that the beach rocks were not worn smooth but were instead jagged and did not easily fit into the perfectly smooth voids. I started to think of the process as a stone meditation and contemplated at how this particular practice reflected our passage through this life. I was carefully placing stones into the site knowing that the next high tide would remove them and sweep them back out onto the beach again. My stone meditation was echoing how we carefully construct our lives only to leave it all behind as we are swept along our Spirit journey back to Source.

This ephemeral work will soon vanish and become integrated back into the site, speaking of our own ephemeral passage through this world, witnessed and supported by the natural world we are so deeply interconnected with.

I invite you to become part of this story and add your own photographs of your journey to the Toynbee Sun Fern on Instagram #ssiwayfindingproject