Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Pondering The Trail of Tears

I mentioned in my last post that the land we had come to love so much had been sold.  I have mourned this.  I even held out hope that the land was purchased to preserve it, but alas the developer has wasted no time in getting the equipment to continue the construction (habitat destruction).  In fact, a cul-de-saq that had been overgrown with weeds (wild carrots, mugwort, dandelions, etc.) has been cleared again.

I have thought about the events leading here.  I have thought about my feelings.  In spite of the short term of our relationship with this place, I can commiserate with the Native Americans who were displaced.  Mind you ... there is no REAL comparison between my short time here and the generations of People who learned to read, love, and work with the land of their ancestors.  But, I can imagine the sense of devastating loss. 

How does one recover?  I have no choice in the matter, as the native tribes had no choice, because I do not have the capital to do anything about it.  It would have been an easy decision, if I had deep enough pockets, to purchase the land to preserve, and encourage, the wild nature of this fantastic place.  Now, I must pull together the shredded remains of the relationship and start again with a new place.

For me, the process is simply spiritual and emotional.  It does not pose significant difficulty on me physically.  I have a job and access to all of the modern conveniences to be able to simply purchase necessities from the grocery store.  I will eat.  The natives were not so lucky ... they did not have access to money, although they may have been given some food stuffs.

So, how does one adjust?  How do I adjust?  I do not intend to stop learning and growing.  This is  not the end of my quest to seek the sacred wisdom of the land, lovingly held by the Earth and her People, reserved for those who truly care to find it.  Certainly, the displaced indigenous souls could seek counsel of their tribe shaman and his network of spiritual support.  I am sure that there was a lot of soul-searching, but there must have been other hints and clues for those people so closely tied to the land.

We have had the experience of trying to forage in a new place only to find that the ecosystem was so completely foreign to us that we could find nothing.  Perhaps, that was not the case for the indigenous folk who lived semi-nomadically, moving from one ecosystem in the winter to another for the summer, seeking the things that they would need to thrive.  So, what other clues did they have?

The answer ... an answer ... hit me.  I already knew it, but knowing something is not the same as owning it, using it.  Thomas Elpel, author of "Botany In A Day", emphasizes the use of plant families as a means of plant identification.  Plants within a family are often used for similar purposes in diverse cultures.  In fact, I have read of this idea in a couple of books.  In one book, a botanist, seeking new medicines in the Amazon, relates that he recognized plants that belonged in a certain family and that the Amazonian people used these for uses similar to those in his region. 

I will concede defeat.  There is simply too much at stake for the planet and the people on it.  We have lost too much wisdom already.  I will continue to search and grow.  This is, after all, my path.  It is my place to serve the purpose I have agreed to for this life, even if I cannot remember what that purpose is.

I have been on the land and asked for signs and guidance on supporting it through this transformation.  On a single walk, after opening my heart for support in this lesson, I witnessed a beautiful red-tailed hawk glide into land on a tree branch.  I moved in for a closer look and the hawk vanished without making a sound.  I continued to stroll down the path musing over the sighting, the gift that was given.  As I neared the road, I felt a presence to my left.  I looked and found myself looking straight into the face of a white-tailed deer ... OK it was 30 yards away.  I told it that I was no threat and, after a moment, it darted off.  While I poured over the encounter, I noticed that the deer had been surrounded by a posse of turkeys ... at least a dozen.


It has been over a week since the incredible gifts I was given.  I still have not interpreted their meaning.  It could have been a simple thanks for communing with the land and explaining what was bound to happen.  It might have been  a signal that things would be OK, that the creatures where still there and would find a way to live even in the midst of the sprawl.

Even still, I know that I am blessed and I am grateful for all that has been given.  I am also honored to be able to share the little I have come to learn.  Perhaps, this is required for my further growth.  Regardless, I look enjoy the time I have on this MooseBoots trail.

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