Friday, February 29, 2008

Food for Thought

I teach a webCT class on Consurmer Culture and Identity
and one of the students,
who is currently living in Albania,
uploaded some photos to the course website.
One was a
photo of road construction and the poor infrastructure of
a downtown area
in Albania, but what caught my eye was
the hive of activity going on at
a street corner. Vegetables
for sale, food sellers, the shoppers looking over what
become their supper. In an otherwise what many in the West
would consider a
drab or even shabby environment, the colour
and vitality of the food literally
jumped out at you.
That moment in the everyday life of some street corner in 
reminded me of Atlixco, a small town a the foot of
the volcano Popocatapetl in the Puebla State of Mexico
where last June I spent
3 weeks. Like Albania, the small
villages, towns and countryside around the city
of Puebla
(1.4 m people) are poverty-stricken. Atlixco is increasingly
becoming the place for the wealthy of Puebla to snap up
summer villas.

Away from the gated communities that insulate those with
money, there is lots of garbage strewn
The roads are constantly in a state of being repaired. There
are lots
of buildings in various stages of decay--many in
everyday use despite the seeming
rundown look to them.
A beautiful decay that challenges the notion of progress.

 ~ a door to someone's home in Atlixco ~ 

Yet the food that crossed my path as I traveled around Cholula,
Atlixco, Tlaxcala, or Cuetzalan was healthier and fresher than
anything I can find off the grocery store shelves here in

Thunder Bay
. I don't recall seeing much packaging. You had to
bring your own bags.
I had meal upon delicious meal in my 3 weeks, going to tiny
restaurants, some
which were little more than a tarp over
a concrete cubby, plastic resin chairs,
and modified barrels
for cooking on the spot. Even then, a TV up in the corner,

turned on. Small pickups would pull up and deposit the day's
fresh veggies for
the cook/s ~ owners. I ate restaurant food
that has no equal in
Canada. If you are ever in Puebla be sure
to have Chicken Poblana, made from chocolate.

The people of
Puebla invented it.
 ~ La China Poblana Restaurant in Puebla City
Some of the food sellers in Atlixco are actually found outside
the market;
the ones who can't afford to pay the price of a
stall or table. Most were
women; lots were elderly women.
They just set up on the sidewalk, wherever
they could find
an opening to lay out a sheet of plastic and display
their growings.

These two photos I took directly across from each other.
The indigenous women
selling their produce while, looking
down at them, an over-sized fashion
billboard of blonde
babes crisscrossed with the power lines photographers
usually try to avoid getting into shots so as not to
"ruin the view" with
the realities of real life living.
In Cholula and Atlixco you can't avoid seeing 
the workings and problems of life.
Our Western excessively processed diet, controlled by the
food industry and
agrochemical corporations, is a pitiful
excuse for food in comparison to the
bounty of many much
poorer peoples' daily fare. Michael Pollan does great

investigative journalism on food in his new book
In Defense of Food (you can read the introduction to his
book on his website). Of course, the traditional foods

and eating habits of peoples in Mexico is a complex site
with much variance,
including class, use and dumping of
pesticides, labour exploitation, etc.
And food (in)security
is a huge issue. Not having any food to eat at all
(this is exacerbated by neoliberal structural adjustment
policies that compel
many nations to grow particular crops
for export markets, not what is
traditionally grown or what
can feed local peoples). Also, there is lots of junk food
moving in everywhere, too.
But the idea of food as culture, as part of everyday life,
where one shops
for food and exchanges conversation rather
than racing through a till and
harried, driving home in a
rushhour, is still apparent. Food is
not reduced to simply 'diet'
or 'nutrition' or 'healthy eating lifestyles',
but is actually a
cultural practice, a part of what you do socially every
day --
and you enjoy it.

~ a restaurant in Cholula where one lazy afternoon
Abetha, Adialuz and I were the only patrons ~

I sometimes spent entire afternoons sitting in restaurants
eating with friends, enjoying a cold Negra Modelo.
Of course,
this shows my privilege of money + leisure + time + elite

education as I was in
Puebla for a 3wk summer institute on
globalization and women's
rights held at the
Universidad de las Americas Puebla, the most expensive
university in ALL of Latin
America--all expenses paid
by York U research grant monies. Sigh. It can be seductive
to participate
in relations of inequality.

So, one cannot discount the work that goes into growing
that food, or shopping
for that food, or preparing that food,
or cleaning up after making that food.
Someone has to do
the work of food. It takes a lot more time to eat healthy.

Oftentimes, the bulk of the work of food has fallen on
women, particularly
in so-called Third World countries.
They are often the ones who do the most
dangerous work
with chemicals, too, in the plantations for export crops.

That definitely has to be redressed, as well as the
imbalance of privileged
people being able to 'drop into'
disadvantaged peoples' everyday lives.
But moving away from convenience, processed and
prepared foods, packaged foods,
and other corporate
creations that have seduced us into destructive and

unhealthy relationships with food -- never mind the
junk food and food-like
products (i.e. non-food that never
rots) -- asks much more of a person than
simply more
time. It asks you to pay attention to how the food was
and the effects of that on the environment
and people. Many of us would rather
not know the
stories behind the food we buy, or our role in reproducing
inequalities, injustices, and environmental degradation.

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

weaving a Rosette

Interestingly, the sun icon on Weathernetwork has the 8 points of the divine flower symbolic of the morning and evening star, Venus. In an interesting twist on logic, a day on Venus is longer than a year. A day is 243 Earth days, but a year only 225 days. Gives new meaning to the concept of time as we know it.

The timeless rosette is an early motif found in ancient Sumerian, Akkadian, and Persian "art". It is a wedding of the Morning and Evening Star. The 8 pt rosette is also very common in Islamic "art" / devotion. (the idea of art as outside of the spiritual or as separate from everyday life is a more recent, Western invention.)

The 8 point rosette surrounds me. It is evident on all the Persian and tribal carpets in my house and on the prayer mats, too. I see it etched on the borders of boxes of sweets. The covers of books. The trim on a gown. Inspired by the rosette, I once started a series of 8 poems dedicated to Iraq. This red vision is the floor beneath my feet here in my back room where I sit and type. This room on the 2nd floor was once the 2nd kitchen of this old house in the 40s when, following the Depression, it was turned into a 2-family home. That's why I have a large garden lot beside my house unlike my neighbours, whose houses are all tight in a row. The owners of this old house never sold the land beside them for someone to build a tiny wartime home like across the street; instead, they converted the house for rent. Money was tight. I wonder, was there foreclosure in those days?

This rosette strewn tribal carpet replaces the linoleum that was laid over the pine boards shortly after Thursday, May 7th, 1942. That is the date of The Port Arthur News-Chronicle that was laid underneath the then-new technology of linoleum (which is now enjoying a resurgence with the hazards of vinyl flooring becoming known). The newspaper headline reads: Madagascar Base Captured: Jap Naval Activity Increase Called Ominous. Frenchmen Fought with Gallantry, Says Churchill). I guess that is the 40s version of 'the war on terrorism'..."Japs" were the Arabs/Islamic threat.

The red dream under my feet was made in Afghanistan. Its colours warm up the room and just gazing at it soothes a ragged soul. If you look closely, you can see from the bands of different red shades that vegetable dyes were used to dye the wool. This uneven marbling of colour is called abrash and it marks the spot where the weaver ran out of wool and had to go out and get more wool. I wonder if the tribal weavers today have time to weave or are they dodging one of the 4.7 million bullets the Canadian army has shot in Afghanistan?

Traditionally, men dyed the wool. Traditionally, the weavers wove the designs on the carpet guided by the voice of a woman coordinating everyone's work. I wonder if she was singing?

Monday, February 25, 2008

behind Pool 6

a gull feather in Superior ice

an old concrete wall

the rest of the wall, or, what didn't get blown up when Pool 6 was blown up

the concrete portal re-signified

a graveyard on Superior

I wonder, were these old posts underwater at some point? or was this indeed the way to get rid of an old dock?

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Manoushi morning

Last night, son #2 and my daughter and I made asiago and halloum cheese, eggplant, and mushroom pizzas on wholewheat crust, so this morning I made manoushi. I always make manoushi the day after making pizza because I always make so much dough that I always have leftover dough. My own perfected-over-the-years pizza dough recipe handily works for manoushi pies or even Arabic pita bread. Don't ask me for the recipe, though, because I don't measure anything, I just look and put. It's by sight and touch.

So, morning breakfast: manoushi, labne (a dip made from yogurt), Lebanese olives, a small plate of tomatoes, last night's steamed asparagus, and cucumber, and like every morning, a mug of fairtrade organic coffee. Currently, I am drinking some Guatemalan dark roast Peace Coffee that son #2 brought back from the co-op in Duluth. And, like an old-style Finnish Canadian, I have that with cream.

My manoushi pies are simple. Za'atar mixed with a bit of olive oil, throw on a few pine nuts. Bake in a hot oven, lower rack. Of course, the za'atar you use makes the utmost difference. There is za'atar and then there is za'atar. One of my favorite blogs, Land and People, has a 2 part section on understanding this delicious and healing ....wonder food. Manoushi is aka mana'eesh or manoucheh or simply, za'atar pies.

Like a trout story, everyone has a za'atar story. My daughter related hers as I sipped coffee and dipped an edge that I had torn off my manoushi into the labne. Popped an olive in my mouth.

We went up to the mountains with Ziad, she said. Mom, we had the best-ever za'atar pies in the village. Fresh out of the oven.
At our house, we've at least 10 different kinds of za'atar in the cupboard. Indeed, we have a za'atar cupboard. Open and behold. In the cold storage in the basement....more za'atar. Everyone in the family has his or her favorite. So, before baking, I always ask, which za'atar do you want? Then, there is the moot point of detail. My husband likes the za'atar sprinkled on dry with olive oil added on after baking; I prefer my za'atar mixed with olive oil and spread on the dough before baking. And as to which type of olive oil? well, that is another story.....

...if you are in town, try and catch tonight's NOSFA film: Caramel, a Lebanese/French film set in a beauty salon in Lebanon...

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

I live in an AOC*

Sunday morning I decided to walk beyond the Wilson St. headland towards the old Sask Pool 6 site so that I could let Musti and Tassu off leash. It's not officially an off-leash area and you've got to keep your eyes peeled for the dog-catcher driving about in his van, but dog walkers have been known to go there to let their dogs have a bit of a run (if you're job is TBay dog catcher, you did NOT read this on my blog). Stroll about the eerie wasteland that this site is, and wonder.

The city has put up some new chain link fencing to deter people like me from doing just that. However, there is a clear path skirting around the end post. Maneuvering around it, I stopped by the marsh where red-winged blackbirds weave through cattails and a blue heron visits early summer mornings. Musti must've smelled some blue heron-do because she was determined to go down to the ice-covered marsh.

After chatting to another Sunday a.m. dog walker and having the dogs sniff each other carefully, I left him to his paper cup of coffee and I set off towards the old Pool 6 site. You can't tell from the snow cover, but I believe this area is 'brown space', i.e. contaminated, toxic soil. Small towns and cities across Canada are rife with brown spaces left behind by industry long gone packing--except they left their mess behind. Sitting and seeping. The Bay & Algoma corner lot is brown space, too. Owned by Petro Can, which refuses to fork out the $$ to clean up the contaminated soil from their former gas station. So it sits vacant, a central sore spot.

The old loading dock of the Sask Pool 6 elevator almost looks pretty. An antique elegant ghost ship standing alone, as if the Edmund Fitzgerald had risen from the lake bed and heaved itself out of the water to bear witness to the lakers that have gone down in so many storms. A certain symmetry to the deep brown wood. A geometric equation beyond logic that's pleasing to the eye. An exposed skeleton. Worn and weathered. A relic, but there. Refusing to crumple.

Passing underneath its massive heft you have a sense of the work that once went on above. You can almost hear the heavy clang of the workday in the silence. The sound of machinery. Men calling out. Wheels squealing. Its legacy endures. Indeed, the pleasing dark brown wood is actually the reason why it's still standing. Creosote soaked. A brownish-black oily weatherguard for wood made from coke, a byproduct of coal. Used for railway ties, hydro and telephone poles, bridges, marine pilings, fences, lumber for outdoor use. I've even seen my neighbours scavenge old railway ties to make raised garden beds, as well as use them instead of stone walls along the front sidewalk.

The problem with creosote is that it has a tendency to exude from surfaces and release fumes. Enters through touch and breath. It's a mutant. A carcinogen. Carrot, anyone? Hmmm, the carrots seem to have a hint of a smoky flavour..... No wonder crude creosote is aka 'dead oil'.

Watch below to see the Sask Wheat Pool 6 coming down in 2000.

Here's the after shot. What's left of Pool 6, over your left shoulder facing south. An immense mausoleum of giant concrete blocks, heaped up willy-nilly at the lakeshore. Our own stonehenge facing south. A blue-collar pyramid. A whole heap of money needed to clean up this prime lake front property. This tumble-down concrete graveyard is only the tip of the sleeping monster. No wonder the condo and hotel developers that want to come to town want the cleaned parkland in front of the train station for their make-money = bring tourists project. Echoes of a neoliberal threat ring out from these stones: We won't set up in your town unless you give us what we want and we are not cleaning up that land or lakeshore.

Where to dump creosote lumber these days? No doubt, special demolition crews needed to take down the old loading dock. We have a history with creosote in this town. Lumber and creosote go together, but creosote and water don't mix. A huge blob, the size of 2 football fields once lurked like a giant jellyfish just round the corner, on the bottom of the lake, by Northern Wood Preservers (CN Rail and Abitibi owned/mucked up that land/water, too). The blob eventually got sucked into a rockfill retaining pond and was supposedly covered up with some nice, clean fill. Like Love Canal. Pretty on top. Let's let Mother Earth eat toxins for eternity! She can do it, that old gal. I wonder if I should walk further and look for that covered up blob?

I remember reading during the 'discovery' of the blob that after a diver dove underwater to check how far the blob had spread, his diving suit stretched like mozzarella cheese when he hung it up to dry. I wonder if any earth worms are looking cheesy these days....

*AOC Area of Concern 28 k along Thunder Bay harbour is an area of concern.

Saturday, February 16, 2008

nostalgia for green

I thought of green and gardening today. The landscape out my window is a blanket of white. The dusk is descending. There's not a trace of purple in the sky from the setting sun, just a uniform gray. Summertime, angel of the morning sits atop the big-leafed Ligularia. It looks like giant rhubarb, and I mean giant. Angel of the morning was a bargain bin discard I found for $1.99, regular price 29.99. She sits by the water, protecting the birds that come for a drink. Calm and still.

I found this circle of bark from a birch tree once on a hike up the trail at the border. It was a perfect round. I dusted it off for ants and other bitty bugs and critters, then carried it home. I plunked a potted geranium inside it. Red is a must for me in the garden. Placed the pot on a sawed off trunk I scavenged from by McVicar's Creek. An old elm fell over and was chopped up, ready for the chipper. I commandeered son #2 to drive down there and go get one for me. Now, it's a tabletop where I lay peanuts. Crow and squirrel and blue jay steal in, trying to outsmart each other to get them. You can see Lily in the background.

Lily is the girl I found at Steve's on Bay, which no longer exists. Steve's on Bay was a tiny second hand shop of very odd odds n' ends, owned by an elderly fellow named Steve. He once tried to sell me a box full of lids to sugar bowls. No bowls, just the lids. I said, looking into the box, these are real pretty, but I can't use them. He told me a lot of stories about the 30s and 40s in Port Arthur. Who owned what shop, where, and what year. Who they sold it to. Where to get Red Indian Motor Oil. Where the shoe shop was. The milliner's. The Italian green grocers. Lily has perfect lily of the valley leaves as an overlay on her ivory skirt. I immediately placed her by the lily of the valley. A couple of blue forget-me-nots jumped up to greet her.

By the log under the false spirea that drives me crazy, a little cherub sits eternally pouring water out for passing by birds. Again, out of the bargain bin. All day long birds visit. I saw the neighbour's cat there one morning, lying like a fat furry pillow, lapping away. Crow, too, saunters like a general, side to side, stepping up to imbibe. Sometimes the pine siskins fly through the spray, squealing and squeaking. Once, I found a drowned mole in the water. She looked just like one of The Mole Sisters.

Piha ja santta. Yard and shed. The bench Isa made for me. He's not here anymore to sit with me and enjoy the sound of the water trickling, the sight of the birds bathing, or the hummingbird whirring in for a surprise visit at 6:30. Even if he were alive, he wouldn't sit on the bench. That I know. He'd be busy building another bench, or something else out of wood. He'd have made the sauna of my dreams in my basement, for sure.

Old pine sauna bucket with petunias. Isa bought it for me, when I used to have a sauna. It has sprung a leak and I've no longer a sauna after we moved to this 100 yr old house, so, out into the yard it goes.

Mom! pretty soon the yard's gonna look like some sort of tacky doo-dad junk yard! said son #1.

In the sauna, before filling the bucket with water, you place a stone in the bottom, then pile on birch leaves, cedar leaves, a sprig of Labrador tea, a spray of blueberry stalks. Your own personal healing bundle. Petunias are particularly healing ~ in the yard ~ yet I always resisted buying petunias. Why? Too common. Everyone had them. A dime a dozen. Here a petunia, there a petunia. Well, last spring, I saw these friendly purple and white petunias calling out to me. So, I brought them home. As they stayed and stayed with me over the summer and grew more and more brilliant in their colour and their intensity, I knew, I just knew why everyone buys petunias. They are undying summer hope.

This nostalgia for green was inspired by visiting the TBay gardening blog. Oh, for summer! I've so many flower friends calling!

out and about

a walk on the ice

crow catches breakfast

no parking zone

Sunday, February 10, 2008


Surprise Lake. The same view, the same cabin, 6 months apart, one taken to the west of the cabin, the other to the east. Late last September, I was driving down Dog Lake Road to visit Pirjo who lives on Surprise Lake when I was caught by surprise by the fall colours and the perfect mirror of the lake. Someone has a perfect sauna on the shore! This afternoon, I was driving along Dog Lake Road, but this time returning from visiting Armi who has a home on Warnicke Lake and I passed that same cabin and the same expanse of water on Surprise Lake. Except, of course, today is one of the coldest days of the winter. It is -28 c with strong northwesterly winds the windchill is -40. Hardly a car or truck in sight. No people at all. One dog. I was imagining that it would not be fun to have my car break down in the middle of nowhere. I did not get out of the car to snap the photo this time; I just pulled over and rolled down the window!

Thursday, February 7, 2008

Sun Sisters

Sisters are like sunshine. They brighten up the day. I know that not all have such a joyous feeling when they think of their sisters, but for me, sisters are a beam of light that shines into my life. Today, it's my sister's birthday. A week ago it was my older sister's birthday. The 3 of us are Aquarians. We all entertain visions. Heads are often in the clouds.

Like Ant medicine, we know the strategy of patience.

"Know what is yours will come to you."

Ant is a builder like beaver, aggressive like badger, has stamina like elk, and scrutiny like mouse.

Ant people are active, community-minded people, planners like squirrel. Ants works for the good of the whole. Build their dreams one day at a time. They collect one sunbeam at a time and build from it a sunshiny day.

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

Gee whiz....

I did a double take when I saw this sign the other day as I cut through the Safeway parking lot. Cheez Whiz an "Ingredient for life"? I had just passed a mom and her young daughter pushing their grocery cart through the snowy lot, with a jumbo box of Honeycomb cereal stuffed into it. There was a time when I, too, thought that Honeycomb cereal and Cheez Whiz were oh-so desirable foods. Now, I don't even think of them as food. But when I was a little girl, shortly after starting grade school and entering tv land with our new black-and-white tv, Honeycomb cereal and Cheez Whiz were the stuff of dreams.

Up to that point, living in Jumbo Gardens, my sisters and I had mostly been around other working-class Finnish immigrants. Then, going off to school, we discovered "Canadian girls." Our Dick and Jane readers impressed upon our young minds a whole other way of family life. And then, there were our 'lady teachers.' They were our role models. At school, we learned to dream about being Canadian, too.

One day at the dinner table we asked Aiti, "why can't we eat something different?"

"Isn't this good enough?" she retorted, ladling potatoes onto our plate.

"Why can't we eat like Canadian families? They eat different things, not always potatoes and meat."

Isa didn't say anything, just reached for another slice of rye bread, then slabbed a half inch of butter on it.

"Yeah, we want Canadian food. Like Cheez Whiz. Why can't we get Cheez Whiz?"

Next to school, tv gave us lessons on being "Canadian." Of course, many of the shows we watched were actually American, but to us that was the same. Amerikalaanen tai Kanadalaanen--all we knew is that they weren't like us. Finlanders. There were no Finnish families like ours or our neighbours on the tv. We used to watch Roy Rogers and Flipper, and sometimes Perry Mason (who was Canadian). My friend, Flicka. Petticoat Junction.

And from tv commercials we learned about Cheez Whiz. The pretty mom feeding her children Cheez Whiz was just like our lady teacher. Like the Canadian girls' mothers. We want Cheez Whiz! we shouted to Aiti.
One day Isa came home from ShopEasy, the new supermarket on Red River Road, with a glass jar of Cheez Whiz. You should have seen the excitement! You would've thought he brought home a new puppy! We immediately spread the glossy bright orange spreadable cheese product onto a celery stalk, just like we saw on tv.

We bit. We chewed. We looked at each other. We munched. We chomped. We pushed the slimy cheese spread around the inside of our mouths, and ....

Isa looked at us with his eyes twinkling. Don't you girls like it? he asked us in Finnish.

That jar of Cheez Whiz sat in the cupboard for months. Sometimes our little sister snacked on it. But, for me and my older sister, that was the end of our love affair with Cheez Whiz. The Honeycomb kid, however, on his white horse, well that sugary romance lingered.....

Saturday, February 2, 2008

something fishy here....

Everyone has a trout story. I'm sure you have a trout story. Valteri told me a great trout story about fishing the pools of the McIntrye River in the 40s. Before work, after work, just head out to the nearest spot and bring home your breakfast or dinner. My sister has a good trout story, too. My sister's trout story, however, actually belongs to her husband. It goes like this:

he looked out the window and dreamt a pond. He envisioned a pond stocked with trout right where the small brook trickled through their front property. Imagine the tasty trout dinners they could have! Just step out the front door, drop in the line, and set the hook!

He got busy hardscaping the land. Moving rocks. Planning the meander, the shape of the pond. Perhaps a small foot bridge-- like Monet's ? A reed-like plant here. One whose roots love water, there. Pickerel weed for the edging? or arrowhead? And water lilies, definitely some water lilies. And, facing the setting sun: Kalevi's bench. Perfect for after dinner relaxation.

Well, the pond was stocked. And each morning he went out to feed the hungry little fingerlings to fatten them for the frying pan. Day after day he went out to the pond. The trout began to expect him. They blew kisses of air as they nibbled at the surface. They thrived under his care, in the pristine playground he had made for them. They grew quite large. Are the trout ready for the frying pan, yet? asked my sister one soft Irish evening as they sat together on the bench. The sun had started its descent into the purple hills. Their eyes followed the school of trout playing hide-and-seek under the lily pads. You can guess the rest. They never did end up frying trout in a pan. Fish have personality*, too.

Of course, that's not my sister's husband's story of trout, at all. That's my story of my sister's story of her husband's trout. My story of trout is set by McVicar's Creek. It starts last summer when my brother, his wife, and my two nephews, Kai and Axie, came to town.

Traditionally, for many northern people, like us Finns, winter is the time for story-telling. Summer, you're too busy fishing. I have a theory that what people call "cabin fever" is really lack of story-telling. Too much aloneness. Story-telling, you see, implies an audience -- you. And a teller -- me. So, story-telling is always a communal act, a social act. Our ancestors knew that. The Finns have a rich story-telling tradition. Find a Finlander, you find a story. Or two. Or three. In the past, our ancestors had a story to lift one's spirits, to brighten the dark days and nights. A whole word chest of stories for all kinds of moods. Today, by the time February rolls around, people here start talking about "depression". The "mid-winter blues." Now, that's easy to happen in the winter when it's dark, cold, gray and desolate--and you start staying in rather than going out. You start hiding yourself away. Some days you don't even go out. You sink into darkness, literally and psychologically. Surviving winter is not easy. It's a feat, especially if one's ancestors are northern people who lived in the land of ice and snow. Tipped away from the sun. Before gas furnaces, central heating, electricity, flush toilets, cars, grocery stores. My presence is proof that my Finnish ancestors had the sisu to survive winter before consumer conveniences.

Story-telling was one of their survival strategies. Story-telling was the white light to the rescue.

*of course, fish don't have "personalities." That is a word that not only separates mind from body and the world, but also anthropomorphizes a being. That is, places human-like (human constructed, too) meaning on the fish. Even the word 'fish' is of our making. So, if not 'personality', what? I thought of the yogic greeting, Namaste. Roughly translated as 'the divine in me greets the divine in you.' The meeting of spirit. Everything has spirit, say the Anishnawbe. So, rather than having a personality, a fish has spirit. The spirit of a person and the spirit of a trout meet/greet/mix. A person in human form, the fish in its fishiness.