BREAKING THE SURFACE

Opening Introduction by Allie Jenkinson
Photo by Scott Bell

Storytelling originates underground. It’s the job of a writer to drag little known stories to the surface. Journalists bring covered up or willfully ignored information to the light. It’s a repetitive and never ending return to the well, hauling up voices from the past and releasing them into the ears of the present.

What information we are willing to hear is circumstantial. Many commonplace narratives of each generation were shocking and even blasphemous to generations that came before. Social consciousness is a bizarre back and forth—some people are intent on revealing, while others are determined to bury. And in this process, some stories from the past no longer live on.

In the Comox Valley, many connections to our past lie underground, where a history that includes power struggles, inequality, hard living, and tragedy rests. This community doesn’t belong to us alone.

And from the ground came the draw for a new generation—a rich environment to explore, and the mountains that rose from the earth and support the glacier that feeds the watershed. These waters provide the first bone-chilling swim for those of us unwilling to wait until it warms.

Underground is the absence of light. It’s the deep, dirty, raw potential of truth, promise, and all that’s left to come. Both our past and our future are underground. But life is lived on the surface, in the sunlight, where what was once contained bursts open from the dirt to flourish.