Ana was the ultimate gardener. She cultivated plants and people, helping them to grow and prosper.  Ana Miriam Leigh at her booth at the Denman Xmas craft fairHer garden was an amazing and integral part of her home, in fact, her house over the years was gradually being absorbed by the garden. Ana could grow anything. I think that was because of the abundance of her love for all things that live. She used the herbs in her garden to make medicinal teas and herbed vinegars, and to spice up the

Ana and Lyn at the Blackberry fairmany meals that we shared with her. Her laughter nurtured the souls of anyone who met her. Everyone on Denman knew and appreciated Ana. If there was a worthwhile cause, Ana was either part of it or found people who would be able to contribute. We watched her smooth ruffled feathers many times, and encourage community whenever she could. Ana was intelligent and observant, with insights into her Island community and the world in general that never failed to inspire and stimulate thoughtful conversation.

Ana with her daughter TachiWe first met Ana in 2000, when Lyn taught a belly dance retreat at Hollyhock on Quadra Island. We were attracted to her cheery philosophy and wit and soon became good friends. A few years later Lyn began teaching annual belly dance retreats on Denman Island.  Ana often attended, and we sometimes stayed in her beautiful wood crafted home nestled in a verdant garden. Every morning we would sip homemade teas in her little breakfast nook and discuss every topic under the sun, from philosophy to gardens. She generously shared her knowledge of Denman Island, and introduced us to many people.

Ana Miriam as the storyteller in Miraj at the Victoria Fringe Festival
Ana Miriam as the storyteller in Miraj at the Victoria Fringe Festival

Ana often acted in productions on Denman Island. She was always full of creative ideas and experimenting in art, music, writing, dance and theatre. In 2003, Ana agreed to perform at the Victoria Fringe Festival with Lyn and her dance cooperative, Earthfire.  Ana created the role of Crone for the dance theatre production, “Miraj,” speaking texts by Rumi. Her performances were powerful, holding the audiences enthralled.

A couple of years ago, when Lyn and I were working on, she offered her home to us every time we came to the island. When she wasn’t able to accommodate us she found us alternatives. Her generosity and goodwill opened many doors to us, and she was always suggesting new people we could interview, events we could record, and places we should visit. Her music group “Strings Attached,” with Sheelagh MacKenzie and Barbara Heywood-Jones, performed the soundtrack for the video on this page “Denman Island- Year round creativity”

Ana died this year and her passing encouraged us to complete and publish this website as a tribute to her. We will sorely miss her smiles, laughter and wit, but every year when the daisies push up from the ground I’ll remember Ana and know that she’s behind them.

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