By Dena Jensen
If you were a sleek and colorful little hummingbird who had unrestricted access to the immediate vicinity of 119 N. Commercial Street in Bellingham, both inside and out, on Tuesday, June 16, 2015, what would you have seen?
First of all, let’s just say there was a screen in ill-repair on one of the windows, a window which had been opened a crack to let in the generous breeziness of that day. That’s how you got in. And let’s also narrow down your keen perceptive abilities to zero-in on a key set players and activities, so that we end up with a blog post and not a novel. Who knows how many tales of that building and its surroundings would be worthy of storing in your brilliant tiny brain on any given day?
On a few of your passes through the lobby you would have seen a group of adult humans gathered, greeting each other by name. Ellen, Peter, Margaret, Alyce, Ronna, John, Jan [pronounced Yon], Sandy, and Dena. There was human chatter, some rustling of papers and carrying cases. At one point cedar fronds were being employed. You know of cedar. You approve.
You zip out for a bit while all this is going on and a curious group of bamboo poles, with some sort of netting wound around them, is leaning up against the building across the street from 119 Commercial. Okay, you pass those, about-face at Mt. Baker Theater and zoom back to the lobby. The gathering is breaking up. Humans are wandering to the glass doors and outside, where you love it best. You pass above and beyond them, unseen. They are on a mission. They approach the bamboo poles and unfurl the netting. There are sets: netting and two poles, three of them. They reveal their purpose as banners that have something important to say.
The humans, Ronna, Margaret, Peter, John, and Alyce, take the poles, and arrange themselves to hold them, stretched out and aloft. There is a period of taping, trading and maneuvering. Soon, everyone has their spot.
The humans appear cheerful, but intent and focused on the words they are upholding. Dianne shows up, taking a post with one of the bamboo poles, her banner speaking loudly. They seem glad when people drive by and honk to them. One of the ladies is filming and photographing this. Oh, and now some other people from the lobby, Ellen and Jan, are coming by and greeting the banner-holders, commending them on good work.
Jan is playing a calming and somewhat bird-like call. You hover. You like it. It is a quick, but warm visit and Ellen and Jan and the camera-lady are off across the street to 119, then back in the glass doors. You stay outside and zip up to your access window on the 13th floor. Luckily you are not superstitious, and luckily Ellen, Jan, Sandy and the camera-lady are there. You know them now and you like that bird call. It is so beautiful.
Ellen is just reaching a door with a little plaque. She pushes a button beside it which ding-dongs, and a voice comes out in a buzzy manner, through a small speaker. Thomas Boucher (you hear him introduce himself) lets everyone in. You stay up high and speed through the closing crack of the door so they, maybe, will not hear. Fortunately, they seem preoccupied by their task at hand and are busy listening to each others’ human communications. Everyone wanders back through a skinny hallway. You zip around the front room for a little while taking in all the books, brochures, and business cards.
You hover at the office window,
There are positioning voice patterns and reverberations down at the end of that hallway. When you are done sight-seeing you find Ellen standing and the others seated in a small conference room. There is still some positioning though. Ellen is speaking and laying things out on the table. Yes, these are fine things. Sacred. Rock, and shell, eel grass and sea water. The standing one says their home is Xwe’chi’eXen, Cherry Point.
Jan is producing more calming notes, but the bird call is gone. His new voice source seems to rise from his center and offers notes that gently ring up and down, blending as they are sounded. It is making you calm and calmer. You sucked in your weight in nectar on your travels outside, but there is nothing here to imbibe. You must shut down or go outdoors. You are at peace here. You land on the door sill above Thomas Boucher. You go into torpor, your mini-hibernation. The human voices play on.