On the way back to Waterfront station, we met David at the corner of a bustling intersection, Hastings and Abbott St. We introduced ourselves to David, who was sitting in a wheelchair carving wood pieces. He joked that he didn’t look his age, while admitting that he was sixty years old. He was very comfortable with us, and made sure to smile and make eye contact with us during our conversation. He explained that he enjoys wood carvings, and takes typically two to three days to finish a small wood art piece, or up to a month on larger sized carvings. He learned how to carve wood a long time ago, as part of his First Nations heritage. David shared that in the past, his
grandmother would cleanse the home and then the body with the scent of burning a mixture of herbs, including sage and sweetgrass. He was very open about his spiritual beliefs, and talked about nature, spirits, and animals. His brief summary of a story about the raven and the clam stood out to me, because I remembered viewing an artistic sculpture representation of this creation story at UBC’s Museum of Anthropology. He was also against animal cruelty, and stated that animals have families, emotions, and lives too, just like humans. We learned that cedar played an important role in spiritual beliefs, as it represented life. In the midst of our conversation, he threw away the cigarette that he was casually smoking, and told us not to smoke. Because he started at too young of an age, it is difficult for him to stop now. We could tell that he enjoyed talking to us, the younger generation, while sharing his wisdom. David took care to remember our names throughout the conversation. He emphasized that sharing is good, and that a good heart will come around full circle to lead to you to a good life.
This was my second Warmth of Winter experience, and I was grateful that David shared so much of his own life story with us, a group of strangers. He reminded me that amidst our busy lives, it was important to be kind to other people, and share with an open heart. I was incredibly humbled when he praised us, letting us know how much he appreciated our act of kindness with the care packages. Overall, I enjoyed our meaningful dialogue with David, and hope to see him again in future Warmth of Winter events.