The Benediction:

Kevin picks up his grandfather’s medicine bag from the blanket, pulls out grandfather’s ring, and rubs it between his fingers.

“Am I thinking about the fight I had with my wife?” he asks. “Who am I thinking about?”

“Grandfather,” says the blue-eyed woman from England.

“Yis, not the trivial argument with my wife.”

“This lighthouse is a special place. We all need a special place to go to where we can sort ourselves out. Do you have a special place?” He pauses but does not expect an answer.

The Blessing:

Going clockwise (the direction of the sun) Kevin hands out sage leaves, first to the man with the red-and-blue-collared dogs, then to Lew.

When he comes to me I say, “We’re together, we can share.”

“I don’t want you to have to share.” He holds the leaves out to me, so I open my palm.

Then he reaches behind him to the red blanket, and deft as a magician hands me the sea shell bearing the smudged sage.

Smudge Dish. Painting by Ana Lucia Fernandez


“How did you know I wanted it?” I gasp. Only as I hear myself sputter these words does the wish take shape in my mind: I want to hold the shell, I yearn to be pure and to feel protected from evil, I wish to smell the smudged sage leaves close up. 

 “I didn’t, but the Creator did.” 

I cup it in my hands as though it were fragile as a robin’s egg. The sage leaves smell like Thanksgiving dinner.

After distributing sage to all, Kevin says, “Thank you.” One by one we shake his hand. I am last.

He once more reaches down to the red blanket and this time hands me the ceremonial feather.

“Here, to go with the other,” he says.

Ceremonial Feather. Painting by Ana Lucia Fernandez







One thought on “Newfoundland. Part IV: The Gift

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