Seeking Asylum: Walking Through Varjupaik For The First Time

Anthony and Mingus

I am a man without a tribe. I am a man without a land. However, I have found the beginnings of both, and now have to put all of my life’s efforts into fostering and shaping all that could be. A first step towards the possibility of creating a place where an imagined family and I could spend time on the warm summer nights that sweep across Prince Edward Island was taken this morning. We went to make my first visit to the 16 acres of land that I am in the final stage of purchasing in Belmont.

I will admit that I would not have ever been brave enough to purchase land were it not for a friend who helped me realize the value of connection. Even now, I slip into the fear that I may never be able to realize my dream of a family, and that this land will continue to be empty during my lifetime. Even now, I question my choices, but I know better. I know that fear keeps us all from taking the risks that truly matter and will make our lives extraordinary. I know that if I remain true to my vision, then I will find the path just as I found my magical spaces on the land as I walked it with my brother today. I will walk this land with more of my own kind soon, I hope.

Base Camp X

After a thirty minute walk through significant brush and frozen puddles, I found my clearing and set down the axes, camera and we left my parents there as we walked to the edge of the property [16 acres is a lot of land]. Perhaps we became lost for a while, but the walk with the dogs, who loved the freedom and the area, was a wonderful exercise in the imagination. We passed across the tiny brook that makes its way through one edge of the property like a serpent. It was frozen thick, and Mingus skated over it until he smelled like swamp water. After an hour of rambling, we found our way back to the spot where my parents were frozen and over-reacting to our absence.


Our next task was to offer up simple sacrifices to the spirit of the forest. My closest friend had sent me along with a package made for this purpose and bound in a beautiful leatherwork pouch made as a present. We then drank mead made at a wonderful workshop a friend and I had taken. We drank it from cups that my brother had sourced for this specific event, but that will be used for as long as I breathe in such clean air. The simple act of savouring the moment was not lost on me. I know we only have a few great moments in our lives, and that most other moments are spent in sadness, loss, failure or fear. Today, I refused to submit to any of those emotions, and instead summoned up love, family, hope and perseverance.


As we walked back through the dense undergrowth, I was already planning my return visit in the next 48 hours. I know that I will need to tie ribbons to mark where I will want to cut a trail this summer to my Base Camp I. I also know that I wanted to clear a bit of the path of underbrush with clippers, so I will begin that tomorrow. I wish that I were not alone in doing this, but I feel like unless I begin to build this dream then I will not have the person I need to share it with come. I will build, I will clear the way.


I also had the great pleasure of using my Base Camp X Pioneer axe that was given to me for my work by Graeme Cameron. In my Toronto condo unit the green, orange and black paint seemed out of place, but at Varjupaik it was perfect. I tested out the axe’s chopping abilities on a few dead trees in the middle of the clearing. One must perfect the swing before beginning the real work. I think that my swing is now as good as it will ever be; I am as good as I will ever be.


The next stage of my life has begun. I am now a different man. I am stronger, more open, and ready to follow the one thing I want to the very ends of the earth and time. My next few days will be spent reconnecting with old friends, attending Moksha Yoga sessions, spending a few hours on Varjupaik, and preparing myself for what may yet become the darkest winter of my life. At the same time…it may well be the first winter where I no longer feel the cold of being alone in a world that seldom understands me. May the spirits of my elders, and those of my children to come, thank me for being brave enough to seek against all odds. I will never give up on what I know to be meant for me.


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