pwelverum reviewed the Ground
Haida Gwaii man. The beginning and end of the world. Ancient times and the modern day, walking down the gravel street together. From rare fragments of paper written down by some of the early Euros from late 1800s to around 1905 (before Beanhunter was even a website) we have some foggy descriptions of what life used to be like here. People were ripped. Kids sprinted across barnacled rocks on the beaches and swam in the November kelp waves for fun. All food was oil based and cedar flavored. Indoor life happened in massive dark barns, deep deep dream stories around fires, eternal and legit, no wedge driven between "art" and "everything else". Then smallpox and christianity. Not a ton of time has passed but the generations since that eternity have been a roller coaster. It seems like people are hanging on to the thread, waking up in new ways with the same dream stories on the tongue. I'm just some Euro from America so who am I opening my mouth? But I got to go there and walk around like a shy fan, of the rich past and of the foghills themselves, and also of the echoing present, even whatever regular dudes in pissed pants begging for help on the rough street. I walked into The Ground, a perfectly great coffeeshop in an old house, and tried not to look too much like a reverent fan of the older Haida folks, men mostly, sitting around in polar fleece talking quietly (but mostly not talking). It's super weird of me, I know. But what do I do with this appreciation? An awareness of the place's specific past cultural wealth makes me hushed and observant, even of the brutalized but slowly recovering present. Weird white tourist. The Ground seems to be the place to sit in Masset, perhaps a universal impulse, not necessarily Haida at all. I indulge the mind and think about the past. But today it's the type of place where they'll put an apostrophe after the day of the week, like "Open Sunday's". The muffin was good. The kids making espresso were sharp. Bean is global.