Early last month I posted pictures of this totem pole that is located at the Jamestown Family Health Center in Sequim. I didn’t know the stories associated with the pole. I heard from a local, Betty, who informed me that the waiting room at the Health Center has informational brochures about the totem and I picked one up. Thank you, Betty! Here is more information about the “Healing Arts Totem Pole” taken from the brochure provided by the Tribe.

At the bottom of this 38-foot pole is a shaman or medicine man whose traditional role is to assure the health and prosperity of the community. He is seen as an intermediary between the natural and supernatural worlds and his most important role is to cure the sick. A shaman derives his healing powers from “spirit helpers,” animal spirits who possess the secrets of life and death and who share these gifts with the shaman. The shaman’s paraphernalia, a rattle and a baton, a crown of mountain goat horns, and a “soul catcher” around his neck, aid him in moving into a trance state to do his healing work. Below the shaman is Frog who lives on both land and in the water and also has the transformational power to morph from a fishlike tadpole into a four-legged frog.

Above the shaman is Sculpin, a guide to aid the shaman in returning to the physical plane. Sculpin is a fish that can also grant certain powers. Above Sculpin is Land Otter. At home on land or in the water, Land Otter is considered a powerful supernatural assistant.

Above Land Otter is Octopus. Octopus is capable of transforming his color, shape, and texture and is considered a great ally when opposing evil spirits. Second from the top is Wolf, who helps to guide the shaman back to the secular world after his spirit world travels. And at the top is Mountain Goat. Mountain Goat lives between the terrestrial world and the sky world and travels ahead of the shaman to guard him against danger.

The S’Klallam brochure does not identify the carving style used for this totem except to note that their totems “represent some aspect of Northwest Native and/or Jamestown S’Klallam life.” The Tribe’s totems at their 7 Cedars Casino are done in a variety of Northwest cultural styles. This one at the Health Center looks Tlingit to me.

It’s tough to fall in love with an orchid, bring it home, and then discover that the spot that seemed perfect simply isn’t. I’m pleased to find that I have an inside spot where orchids seem to be happy, which means for me that an orchid keeps living and blooms again. I think this one is an odontoglossum, but it’s hard to be sure because there are so many hybrids.

In addition to finding the flowers fascinating, the leaves on this plant pop out with a fascinating ruffle. I’m not sure if this is a typical growth habit, but they seem to straighten out and grow normally so I consider it another pleasure of keeping the plant alive. It’s nice to have a plant that is blooming in winter.

If you look at Sequim on a regional map you can see that the landform bulges out into the Strait of Juan de Fuca, particularly in the northern Dungeness area. At times this maritime influence delivers the brunt of high winds.

Planted windbreaks like these are somewhat common around here. This is another view of the lombardi poplar “four seasons trees” that I posted here recently. These trees seem to hold up well against the wind. Others have the look of artistic topiary as they grow bent from the sometimes brutal westerly winds.

Some years ago an African American colleague and I discussed New Years traditions. She shared with me a tradition of getting a new broom at the beginning of a fresh year. I’d heard of “jumping the broom” as a form of marriage ceremony, but not of replacing brooms to welcome a new year. She was frankly horrified when I admitted how old my kitchen broom was.

Other friends and neighbors have shared traditions such as eating pork (specifically boiled spare ribs with sauerkraut) or pig-shaped cookies.

This year I’ve decided to welcome 2012 with a new broom. What are your New Years traditions?

Happy New Year! Today’s City Photo Theme Day topic is “Photo of the Year 2011.” Because the Sequim Daily Photo has had two bloggers this year, Shannon and me (Kay), you get two favorite photos from 2011.

The top one is mine, a moonrise over Dungeness Bay. It captured for me the mood and colors of a perfect summer evening.

Shannon let me choose which of hers was my favorite in 2011. This one immediately came to mind. I rocked back in my chair with an “Oh, wow!” when it came up on my screen the first time. I still think it’s stunning.

I think that together Shannon and my photos capture some of the beauty that I love so much in Sequim. I hope you enjoy them.

Click here to view thumbnails for all participants.

I always try to reflect on the passing year. And I always try to count my blessings. This year I’m very grateful for having the opportunity to post on the Sequim Daily Photo, for the other blogger’s I’ve “met” and whose work I admire, and for the people near and far who visit and who comment here. Thank you, one and all! May you have a joyous and blessed new year!