We located ourselves within the available shade that circled the clearing where Haruko Okano’s performance space was demarcated, by a circle of red paper bags. As we waited for the performance to begin, Camille Turner looked across to the group across the way, and remarked how beautiful they all looked. Then, looking over to our side, acknowledging we looked beautiful too. I recalled the Syilx Okanagan Song: We are beautiful because the land is beautiful.
Ayumi Goto and Peter Morin carefully unfurled a large body stencil which Haruko, her body marked with floral patterning, approached and lay down, face forward. She uttered a mantra, Kaerimas; (Coming Home), sorrowful at first, as Ayumi and Peter placed stones around the stencil. Haruko then wrapped herself in a shawl, tent-like, and the mantra became more pronounced. She rose and walked away, out of the clearing and into the woods, tracing a long arc until returning the space. At the same time of this journey we were all invited to reach into the bags, drawing from a mass of natural materials she had gathered over the past weeks; acorns, branches, wood chips, seeds. Silently, we all contributed in filling the space where her body had been. The stencil was removed and we stood and approached in contemplation of the rich and beautiful landscape left behind.