From ashes to ashes

Ashes of New­found­land artist Ger­ald Squires scat­tered around his cre­ation at Boyd’s Cove

The Pilot - - Classified - BY CLARENCE NGOH ngo­hce@gmail.com

BOYD’S COVE, NL – It is a path Gail Squires is fa­mil­iar with as she makes her way along the 1.5-kilo­me­tre groomed walk­ing trail. A small band of close friends, as well as staff from the Boyd’s Cove Beothuk In­ter­pre­ta­tion Cen­tre, fol­low be­hind.

“Each walk is dif­fer­ent and it is sad to­day,” Gail says.

They reach the lo­ca­tion of the “The Spirit of the Beothuk,” a bronze statue cre­ated by renowned New­found­land artist, Ger­ald Squires.

Esther Squires, daugh­ter of Ger­ald and Gail, places the urn con­tain­ing the ashes of Ger­ald at the foot of the sculp­ture.

The urn was some­thing Ger­ald and Gail cre­ated to­gether, ac­cord­ing to Esther. “They were al­ways do­ing that. Gail made the pots on the wheel, and Gerry would dec­o­rate them with his sculp­tures.”

The group forms a cir­cle around the sculp­ture. Des­mond Can­ning, chair of the Beothuk In­sti­tute, be­gins the smudg­ing cer­e­mony, a cleans­ing smoke bath used to pu­rify the body, aura, and cer­e­mo­nial and rit­ual space.

Af­ter the cer­e­mony, each per­son in the group spoke about Ger­ald and scat­tered his ashes.

Karen LeDrew- Day, site su­per­vi­sor of the Beothuk In­ter­pre­ta­tion Cen­tre, spoke of Ger­ald’s pas­sion, hu­man­ity and con­nec­tion to the Beothuk.

Barely con­tain­ing her tears, Esther said she saw her fa­ther in a dream. “He had a long black wool coat on, and he wasn’t sick, and he looked beau­ti­ful. I said, ‘ Wow, you look amaz­ing – are you go­ing to stay?’” He said, ‘My feet have been walk­ing on this earth to and fro for a long time now. It’s time for me to go.’

“So, I’m let­ting him go, not from my heart, but to free his soul.”

As dap­pled sun­light poked through the trees around the statue, Gail closed the cer­e­mony with, “all this is just a sad, mean­ing­ful real mo­ment.”

Re­call­ing their life of trav­els and ad­ven­ture, she added with a chuckle, “any­way Gerry, happy trails.”

His re­main­ing ashes, ac­cord­ing to Esther, will be scat­tered “in ar­eas where Gerry re­ally made an im­pact and lived our lives and felt con­nected to.”

Esther Squires, with Gail Squires and a small group of close friends, walks the trail to­wards the bronze statue of Shanawdithit cre­ated by Ger­ald Squires.

Esther Squires re­flects as she holds back tears, re­call­ing the dream when she said Ger­ald ap­peared to her af­ter his death.

The urn that con­tained the ashes of Ger­ald Squires. Ger­ald and Gail fre­quently cre­ated pot­tery to­gether, with Ger­ald dec­o­rat­ing it with sculp­tures.

CLARENCE NGOH/THE BEA­CON

Gail Squires scat­ters Ger­ald’s ashes around the sculp­ture. The sculp­ture took four years to com­plete.

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