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.

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Heart Wrenching News

My heart sank at hearing the news.  I was completely devastated.  I had worked so hard to develop of loving, nurturing relationship.  Outwardly, I simply smiled and offered that it must have been a huge weight off of her shoulders.

Wendy and I have spent a lot of time together, roaming the woods, visiting the fields, writing our book.  We have shared our lives, growing, learning, seeking wisdom.  We have seen incredible sights.  We watch in wonder witnessing natural beauty spring forth from the newly thawed soil, sprouts claw to the sky, leaves unfurl to gather the warm loving sunshine, buds burst forth into vibrantly colored flowers, flowers fade to desiccated pods holding the promise of life.  The truth is that we had come to love the land and her inhabitants, with whom we gratefully worked and played. 

Things change ... it is a fact of life.  Wendy told me a few days ago that she felt a change coming.  Quite unexpectedly, the tension broke loose ... serendipitous happenings.  And, I am left to piece it all together like a large jigsaw puzzle, with a photo of the night sky framing a sliver of a waning moon.

"I sold the development last Friday ... finally."  As I said, my heart hit the floor.  "I know it has been really hard for you.  It must be a huge weight off of your shoulders."  Selfishly, I thought of all of the things Wendy and I had done to support this amazing place, the things we had experienced and learned.  This is our favorite place to forage, to hunt, to re-connect with the Earth.  It is our school, our cafeteria, our church, and our home.  And now, or soon (within a few years), this blessed sanctuary will be reduced from 25 acres of wilderness surrounded by a sea of subdivision to piecemeal 1/2 acres parcels of tamed (tortured), suburban humanity (likely complete with McMansions for the pretentious "owners" to look dissatisfied at our efforts to homestead our little piece of heaven).

"We have to move", I told Wendy as soon as we were out of ear-shot.  This comes on the same day that I was contacted by a company wooing me to accept a position that I turned down in June, and by a former co-worker who recognizes my worth and wishes to coax me to relocated an hour northeast along the coast.  It also comes as difficult times have hit the dance school my daughters attend ... not that the school has been terribly financially sound for a few years now.  Change seems to be brewing.  It is all just a question of how long do we have to react before the choice is no longer ours.

Tonight, I mourn to the land.  I mourn for our society that places so little value in anything other than that which brings value in the form of money.  I mourn for the raccoons, the opossum, the fishers, the squirrels, the deer, the hawks, the great blue herons, the geese, the turkeys, the chipmunks, the fox, the stinging nettles, the Japanese knotweed, the oaks and maples, the hemlock and pines, the blueberries, the bunchberries, the wintergreen, the partridge berries, and all of the other Beings I have yet to meet ... that they will lose their homes to be displaced by people who wish only to live on the land and not with the land.

Of course, change happens.  And while I mourn, I rejoice the moments we have shared with Nature, the Universe, and this wonderful place.  I cherish the time we have been given and the remaining time we may have.  I hold to the knowledge that every journey holds turns and twists, unexpected events that push us to realize our full potential as healers, teachers, lovers, and friends.

Thank you to the spirits of this place, that we have come to love so dearly.  Thank you to the Elementals who have helped us along our journey to grow and reclaim a piece of the heritage that we have lost through the generations that have gone before.  Thank you for the divine spark within each of us that pauses to watch as the lone hawk darts to avoid the protective mother birds, striving to give each of their young a chance to experience life on this remarkably beautiful Earth.

May you find peace in this life, and all of those to follow.