Village News

Feel Your History

  • Gary Dyck, Blog Coordinator
  • Executive Director, MHV

February 15-21 was Heritage week in Canada. Here are two great paragraphs from the National Trust of Canada on why to celebrate our places of heritage:

“Because Canada’s collective story is told through our special places, whether they are historic lighthouses or schools, places of faith, industrial complexes, or cultural landscapes. Our shared heritage in all its forms has the power to create a sense of belonging. Gathering places like town squares, and pow wow grounds, and cultural objects such as artifacts, regalia, and family memorabilia are tangible touchstones with the past that can root us in place and nourish the spirit. Intangible heritage – languages, traditional rituals, music, dance, storytelling, and more – is at the heart of family and community.

In celebration of our past and our future, we encourage all Canadians – young and old, deeply rooted or new to Canada – to celebrate our museums, historic sites, cultural landscapes and cultural centers, and connect with traditional knowledge keepers, educators, parents and grandparents to enjoy heritage”

Last week I wrote about how the Mennonite Heritage Village (MHV) is developing a plan for becoming a place for well-being. One of the action steps is to produce a ‘Well-being hand-out’ that people could pick-up at reception. The hand-out could list peaceful sites and provide good questions for contemplation as well as tangible activities that would benefit the visitor’s heart, mind, and body.

What follows are some thoughts on the different kinds of wood that is ‘on display’ in our village. Wood is visible everywhere, is central to our lives, and if we are mindful of how much it supports us, gratitude is sure to flow.

Touch the dirt of the sod-house with its tree-frame, for this is where it all began.
Touch the rough-hewn lumber of the Hochfeld cottage; houses and homes as we know it taking shape.
Step back and look up at the thin cedar shingles, a magnificent puzzle so small and yet so expansive.

Get close to the straw of the Waldheim thatched roof, thou-sands of stalks too small to become wood, but when bundled provide shelter from the rain.
Visit the sawmill and its piles of wood, one is felled trees from a nearby forest and one is planed timber, let the wonder and gratitude of this transformation grow.
Now touch the planed wood of the distinguished Chortitz house-barn, a marvel to have wood that can now be coloured vibrant red, turquoise, or white.
Go inside and see where log after log provides heat in the hearth and cooks food for the stove, energy to energy.
And when you are done, return to the woods in the middle of the grounds. Touch those trees and thank them and their Creator for the shelter they have provided for you and your family over the centuries.