Friday, February 15, 2013

An Inuksuk in my garden

What exactly IS an inuksuk?
An inuksuk (plural inuksuit) is a stone landmark or cairn built by humans, used by the InuitInupiatKalaallitYupik, and other peoples of the Arctic region of North America.
The inuksuk may have been used for navigation, as a point of reference, a marker for travel routes, fishing places, camps, hunting grounds, places of veneration, drift fences used in hunting or to mark a food cache.Despite the predominant English spelling as inukshuk, both the Government of Nunavut and the Government of Canada through Indian and Northern Affairs Canada are promoting the Inuit-preferred spelling inuksuk.
"The mysterious stone figures known as inuksuit can be found throughout the circumpolar world. Inukshuk, the singular of inuksuit, means "in the likeness of a human" in the Inuit language. They are monuments made of unworked stones that are used by the Inuit for communication and survival. The traditional meaning of the inukshuk is "Someone was here" or "You are on the right path."

The Inuksuk is not directly in our culture in the southern part of Canada, but it certainly is in the culture of the northern part of my homeland, and in my family, well, we like them! My dad has this tradition of building a little inuksuk wherever he goes on vacation. It's his "marque de passage"... a fun "I was here" note. I remember he made a small one the very first time he and my mother were in Denmark. It stood on the windowsill of the summerhouse where we stayed. I wonder how many new visitors it greeted.

When my parents and grandmother visited us in Denmark in July 2012, my grandma built a small inuksuk out of some of the stones that were covering a part of our lot. Even after my family were gone back home and for the remaining of the summer, this little 15 cm high mark of their visit stood on the side of our driveway, looking out for visitors and passer-by's.

At Fall, when my husband and I decided to get the stones removed and sow grass in stead, little inuksuk was in danger, standing right by the edge of the stone covered area. So I carefully picked it up and placed it safely in the shed, making sure it didn't loose any part of its fragile construction. It stood there all winter and today, I finally brought it inside and glued it together, to immortalize this little token of my grandmother's visit to my adoptive country.

Inuksuk built by Grandma - summer 2012

My biggest inspiration and drive for having a vegetable garden are the memories I have of my grandparents' garden when I was a child. It was always so beautiful and successful. Among other things, I remember the freshly picked carrots we got when we visited. My grandma or grandpa would dig them up, wash them with the hose and we'd play outside munching on the fresh root. My grandpa has been watching over us from above for a few years now (love you grandpa xox), but I feel so extremely lucky that my grandmother was able to visit us in Denmark and see where we live and even see my very first garden. She gave me tips, too! She lives in Canada so she can't be here all the time to guide me in the garden, but I want her inuksuk to stand and watch as I (hopefully) learn and gain gardening experience, year after year... Someday, I want a vegetable garden like the one my grandparents had back in the days. :)

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