Posts Tagged ‘Ceremony’

Ceremonial Dressings (part 2)

November 9, 2015

It’s the first turn after the main road into Elsipogtog. It’s a simple design. One font. About the size of a minor street sign. It says one thing with an arrow: “Sundance”. It points left. After we turn the trail goes cold. No further indications we’re on the right path. We continue several kilometre’s, keeping our eyes open.

For what exactly, I’m not sure. Being former film technicians we’re well versed in seeking out unusual locations. It’s a sixth sense from having driven one too many back roads. And the parade of bright orange pylons (later neon green which threw me off for a spell of time), long and consistent enough to land a 747 Jumbo Jet, taught me to trust that the way would eventually be indicated.

Up the road a spell there is a larger sign for a wellness centre. There are vehicles coming and going. As it’s the summer and the mosquitoes have been surprisingly docile, we turn down the windows. The heavy beat reverberates inside the car. We’re getting close. The road is a narrow two lane paved street with no shoulder. Standing at attention, the forest longs for the moment when it isn’t tamed. It would chew through the asphalt in no time to reclaim its’ territory. The old growth looms large above and stretches out into the thoroughfare.

An easement appears, as though a conciliation from the woods, a sliver of a path opens to reveal a large clearing beyond. The van slopes gently from the pavement to dirt. We slow as the large tee-pee and fenced off area greets us as we enter the grounds. The pulsing beat of the drum hangs steady in our breath.

We pull the van to a stop beside a vehicle with ‘Maine’ license plates. Appropriate, given the fact our guests from Maine were the one’s to incite us to attend.

Sylvie looks back at her camera bag stowed in the back of the van. She glances at it with a forlorn stare. It pains her to not be able to capture what we’re about to experience.

“I don’t think pictures would do it justice anyway,” I say, trying to reason with her. She takes a deep breath before opening the door. As soon as she does she hesitates. I’m out the door and down the path before I see that she’s stopped.

“What’s wrong?” I say.

“Was I supposed to wear a skirt?” she asks.

I’ve turned to notice a couple walking past. The woman is wearing a full length, flowing skirt that skips along the earth. Her hair is tied back in a pony-tail. Arms fully covered down to the wrist.

Sylvie looks down at her comfortable slacks and shakes her head.

The couple is coming toward us. Straight to the vehicle with the ‘Maine’ plates.

“Excuse me,” Sylvie calls out, “should I be wearing a skirt?”

The couple is more than happy to accommodate.

“Well,” the woman starts, “is it your first time?”

“Yes,” Sylvie confesses.

I blurt in, “Have they broken free?”

“No. They do that tomorrow.”

“See,” Sylvie says and punches me on the shoulder.

“I hate to tell you but they prefer it if the women wear skirts.”

I want to sigh again, but what can you do.

“Thanks,” we say in unison before turning back to the van.

“Back to town?”

“Yup, back to Richibucto. I have to find a skirt.”