Rita Walker (Blog Ten): By Dan Watt and Taylor Norris
In the August 9, 2019 Waterloo Region Record there was an article called: Rebuilding a road for tomorrow by Catherine Thompson. By using perforated storm sewer pipes and Silva cells on Ahrens Street West the city of Kitchener was hoping to stop run off of salt and other debris from entering nearby creeks. Currently Highway 24 or Water Street South by Churchill Park does not have a road designed to protect wildlife. But perhaps in the near future these roads will be everywhere.
In the morning Rita showers off the sweat from her struggle not to change from the night before. As the water pours over her she glances at her hands and up her left arm where the tattoos line up as a totem pole would. Stepping out of the shower stall she stares at the mirror. Through the mist created by the shower’s hot water she can see the shadowed images of the other tattoos on her body; each a symbol of survival or rite of passage. Her eyes drift back to the feather symbol on her left arm. Birds are part of the Air Elemental and today she must travel to Cambridge to meet with the Ancient One who represents the human aspect of Air.
Driving along Highway 24 in Cambridge she notices sections of the road are humped as she drives next to the Grand River and past Churchill Park. This is a main area for turtles to cross. The humps or mini-bridges are long so the drive is safe for cars and transport trucks. Many years ago an innovative idea was put to the test in the city of Kitchener. Perforated storm sewer pipes were installed under roads to lessen run off during heavy rain and to create more dispersion. The dispersed water is captured and treated by what was then pioneering technology called Silva cells. Lightly compacted soil within the cells allowed trees to grow. The roots of the trees help absorb and dissipate salt and other run off by-product before it reaches water sources such as creeks and rivers. Now most road repairs are built with the environment in mind.
She glances at the feather tattoo on her left arm in the side view mirror of her leased Volkswagen e-Golf. It reminds her of the time she saw Rae in a dream. In the dream a female dressed in a red cedar bark dress stood on a tiny Island. Rita watched as the woman raised her left arm. She noticed a band around the woman’s forearm made of yellow cedar as a raven flew onto the woman’s outstretched arm. Rita could only see the side profile of the woman and little of her face. But the raven turned and stared directly at her. That’s when the dream ended and she knew that she had caught a glimpse of Rae and the spirit Raven.
In the morning she had asked her mother about raven but left out Rae.
“You have strange dreams child,” her mother told her as she wove together new deerskin moccasins for Rita’s father. “Raven may be many things, but is a protector for us above all else. Ravens will steal food from you, have no doubt, and you should shoo them away if they try, but never hurt them. They are our protection against supernatural beings.”
As Rita drives down Shades Street towards Soper Park she wonders if the raven she saw as a child was protecting Rae from Kaneki. But mostly she wonders why so long ago Rae allowed a glimpse of herself but so far would not communicate with Rita directly.’