By Carl BR Johnson
Editor’s note: Journalism student Carl BR Johnson is interning at the Revelstoke Times Review for part of March and April. Amongst many other assignments, we asked the Calgarian to look for things about Revelstoke that stick out to an outsider like him, then write about them. His first observation will drive certain Stoke List trolls into apoplectic rage fits; to Johnson, Revelstoke is a dreadlocked town. Wait! Before you break your keyboard mashing an angry anonymous post about unclean hippies with dreadlocks driving our once-proud community to hell-in-a-handbasket, read Carl’s story about the individual with some of the most impressive dreads in town. Maybe it’ll change your mind. Or maybe not.
Being from Calgary, I don’t see many people with dreadlocks, and when I do, I usually join my fellow Calgarians in the ritual stare as if we had just seen something from another planet.
Legend has it that when Julius Caesar first saw the Celts sporting dreadlocks, he claimed they had, “hair like snakes.”
And when I arrived in Revelstoke recently, I started to notice an unusually high number of people with the snake-like hairstyle, and one in particular, Maggie Davis.
Davis is an employee at the Last Drop Pub in Revelstoke, with a very prominent and quite developed collection of ‘dreads’.
At first glance, she’s an attractive, easy-going 26 year old with a bubbly persona and an ever-present smile complete with a ‘far out dude’ demeanour.
She would easily fit into the kind of nomadic group of hippie girl types that were found everywhere, especially in San Francisco, U.S., during the Sexual Revolution in the ‘60s.
As we sit down together in the cozy Last Drop Pub, her rasping voice sounds much like a young Demi Moore, with which she easily slides into my heart, “whaddya wanna know Carl?”
Dreadlocks for her are a symbol of “my teenage rebellion,” and she has been sporting this hairstyle for 13 years.
“They [dreadlocks] have become a part of me as an individual,” says Davis. “They have shaped me as an individual and have helped me in how I look at others and I don’t feel weird about being judged because of the way I look.”
Davis says that once in a while, she’ll get someone staring at her, but she’ll get positive comments too from people – something she loves to hear.
“I love it when people ask me questions about my hair.”
She surmised that many in Revelstoke might have this hairstyle because this town has become a Mecca for adventurists.
Those who engage in sports such as skiing, snowmobiling and snowboarding especially, are commonly found with dreads, like her.
She snowboards at the local hill three to five times a week, something else that has become a part of her.
As we continue, I become more and more enchanted by her overwhelmingly positive attitude for life.
Her individualism exudes a distinctive character that could illuminate the darkest of corners and I can’t help but become intoxicated from her energy.
“Right on man!”
But Davis concedes that even in forward-thinking Revelstoke, there is a certain stigma that dreads have with regards to the myth of walking around with unwashed hair.
She is quick to dispel that notion by saying she keeps her hair quite clean.
“I’m so proud and happy to be a part of the stigma that people with dreads have, it’s a beautiful thing.”
Davis says that there is a definite ‘dreadlock culture’ that encompasses people like her – it’s not just a hairstyle, it’s a hippie, peace-loving way of life.
“People with this kind of hair are very conscious people – conscious of their bodies, what they eat, what they wear. That’s my whole persona; classic-rock, flower-child. This hair is definitely a throw-back from the hippie era. I was born in the wrong century.”
She also noticed that many people in Revelstoke have dreads and she chose to move here from Golden because, “the sense of community is stronger here than Golden.”
According to religionfacts.com, dreadlocks have roots (pun intended) in the Rastafari movement that came about in Jamaica during the 1930s; those who were a part of this movement were known as ‘Rastas’ or ‘Rastafarians.’
The wearing of dreadlocks has also become a spiritualist ritual with some sects of Hinduism.
South Asian holy men and women who were part of the Hindu sect known as ‘Sadhus,’ were known as ascetic wandering monks.
They believed that locks of hair are considered sacred, and part of their religious practice was to shun profane vanity.
Dreadlocks were adopted for them because of the low amount of maintenance required for this hair-style type and that coiffure became a pinnacle of the Sadhus’ modus-operandi.
It was part of their spiritual understanding to believe that physical appearances are unimportant in the grand scheme of things.
Davis agrees that many like her are very spiritually open people and their dreads are a method of spiritual self-expression.
“Many people I know with dreads are a lot like me – very earthy, spiritual types,” says Davis. “I’ll probably have these for the rest of my life.”