Embracing the Spirit of the Solstice in Canada Water

It was heartening to close 2017 with a Solstice Celebration. It was an expression of young people learning from older people, older people learning from younger people and all of us learning from the rhythms of nature.

As darkness descended young and old and a shimmering array of paper lanterns began to fill the empty carpark that lies between the Dock Office and the Canada Water Dock. There were about 130 of us in all. These were the children and parents from nearby Redriff School, teenagers from Bacons Collage, some of the employees of local developer British Land, their consultant architects and engineers along with many other local friends and collaborators that Global Generation has got to know over the last year of growing the Paper Garden in Canada Water.

As the salsa band played, the sound of the chanting grew … calling on the fire bird, the spirit of the ancestors, a bird that contains the secrets of the universe.

I am not a bird who shines bright. I am not a flame who devours all night. I do not fly across barren lands, all alone.,. I am hope, freedom, new life. You can say I am a bird but I am what I want to be. I extinguish all fears, doubts, worries. I am by your side, when you need me the most. I fly in your dreams to make your thoughts bright, full of life and adventures. I am what I want to be. I am not here nor there, I am everywhere, in the littlest of spaces, in The biggest of Cities, I am there. I may be a bird, you may say, but really I am me, hope, and my flames started the fire of new life, and a new beginning.  – Arthur GG Generator – 14 years

I turned around and suddenly there she was … The Firebird; bringing us into the magic of this time of year. She led us along the edge of the dock so we could see the moon reflected in the water, inviting us to consider what a bird or perhaps a young person might think of changes in the area.

As a bird in Canada Water the changes I see make me feel anxious, the tall geometric buildings, the fumes of petrol slowly seeping into my nose. This is typical city life. However, there is a side of Canada Water that is packed with nature plants, animals and life. Places like the woodlands where I can live comfortably as a bird. Never the less Canada Water would not be the same without the steady balance of urban and wildlife. That’s why I embrace the changes I see. – Vivienne GG Generator 14 years.

It was really dark now and yet winding our way through the cranes and the herris fencing of the Printworks Courtyard everything seemed bright … very bright. Ahead of us huge fires were blazing, welcoming and calling forth appreciation of the years passing and wishes for the year ahead.

The next morning many of the parents in the Redriff playground said …

Thank you for involving our children in their community.

And we are planning a lot more of that. Over the next few months we will be running workshops in the Paper Garden for young people from The Boscoe Centre and Bacons College, older people from Time and Talents and children from St Johns, St Josephs, Albion and Alfred Salter School. As part of the on-going work of drawing out the life beneath and amidst the concrete we will pay attention to the wildlife spots that fortunately do exist in this very urban area; like the dock. We will explore earths elemental forces - water, air, earth and fire. And as usual we will be planting, cooking and eating with a celebration of seeds and ancient grains in all their many shapes and forms.