Don’t replace cross on Mount Tzouhalem
An article in last week’s issue of the Cowichan Valley Citizen raises the possibility that the cross on Mount Tzouhalem was cut down as a random act of vandalism or in response the issue of residential schools. As someone who has hiked to the top of Mount Tzouhalem many times over the last 30 years, frequently as part of an Easter pilgrimage, I am more concerned with whether or not it will be replaced. Frankly, I hope it is not, either with another cross or any other human construct. I would argue that this local landmark should remain in its natural state as much as possible, so that all those residents who feel the Cowichan Valley is both full of their own history and recognize the damage that same history has done to it, can ask, while contemplating or visiting the mountain top: “What is this place? What is in it? What is its nature? How should I live in it? What must I do?” (cf. Wendell Berry, A Native Hill).
I don’t know the answers to these questions, but in a sense, the questions are more important. Like those asked by the prophet Job, they are expressions of humility, such as might lead to us understanding what our responsibilities are, and what our place is both on earth and in the order of things. They offer hope of a relationship with nature and one another that is both decent and preserving.