Author Annie Dillard in perhaps her most famous essay tells the story of a man named Larry living on one of the San Juan Islands off the coast of Washington. According to Dillard, Larry was attempting to teach a stone to talk. Larry’s futile efforts, she suggests, are the result of the silences we moderns live with. There was a time when the world was full of voices. Gods and goddesses spoke from sacred caves and through shamans and prophets, prophetesses and crones.
Over 25 years ago in a small village in Southeast Alaska, my hometown, a place on the edge of nowhere, as far from the center of it all as you can possibly get, raised the first totem pole ever raised there in modern times.