Words by Yolanda:
I woke up to a landscape encased in fog. The whole community was blotted out, softened around the edges as if smudged by an eraser. This must be what Sandy described yesterday when she spoke about the “spirit-fog” that rolled in from the mountains. Exploring Gitanyow in this was an exercise in surprise: you couldn’t see anything until you were directly in front of it: a woodpile, Halloween decorations, some scruffy dogs. And then — totems, at least twenty of them, rising up out of the mist and towering over the creek and gas station. Tall, skinnier than Haida Gwaii, and much older too. There’s no salt water in the air here, so the poles don’t erode as quickly. We spend ages in their midst, wandering, each pole revealing itself in turn.
A few hours later, and several hundred kilometres North, we pass a senior man pushing a stroller down the middle of a stretch of road that stretches into nothing as far as the eye can see. We pull a U-turn and loop around to introduce ourselves and ask his story. This, it turns out, is Jim.