Another Way to Live

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The drive to Taos New Mexico  takes us skyward to more than seven thousand feet. There are few cars on the roads and my friend and I stop to gather fragrant bunches of stiff Black Sagebrush, an aromatic herb used to purify people and areas before and during Native ceremonies. The junipers and pinion pine are taller in this country and the latter is spilling out her cones and seeds (the pinion nut is a delicious food, first eaten by Indigenous peoples). Along the way, we stop the car and help silver dollar sized black tarantulas cross the highway to safety. We both wonder why the spiders need to cross the road at this time of year. (This question remains unanswered at the time of this writing)*. The air is crystal clear, and as we move closer to the town the pull from the Sacred Mountain intensifies. Called Taos Mountain by Anglos, the mountain has it’s own sacred name for the people who have inhabited this astonishingly peaceful place for millennium.

I notice immediately that visitors are only allowed into the Pueblo in one open area. This is fine with me, because having Native roots myself I am sensitized to what the American people have done to the Indigenous peoples of our country, and part of me feels a terrible hopeless shame.

The buildings belong to the land and are built of earth, straw. mud, and the trunks of trees. They stand one upon another and are fashioned by hand with softly rounded corners with small windows and doors of various sizes. Many doors are painted bright blue, others weather naturally and have pleasing designs.

There is a quiet sense of activity present as men repair the walls of the buildings for the coming winter. I sense that these beautiful structures along with these peoples “belong” to the earth in a way that I cannot articulate because the feeling is in my body. I feel so rooted, conscious of the way my feet are moving over the packed ground. Some older women and men are sitting under ramadas – square open structures also made of wood that offer shade even on the hottest of days. Contented dogs of uncertain breeds roam the area freely. There are signs that say “do not feed the dogs.” Wonderful, functional wooden ladders allow the workers to move up and down the pueblos with ease. I love it that the perpendicular poles of each ladder are a different length. No two are exactly alike.

It is a brilliant fall day and here the cottonwoods are turning gold in the sun. The small clear stream is crossed easily by a wooden bridge, and I stand in the middle to listen to the water talking to the willow trees that bend so gracefully towards the source of the sounds I hear. Everything is clean. Behind the signs on the coyote fences that make it clear that visitors are not allowed to trespass, we see lush gardens with corn and other vegetables growing, small houses in neat rows, some almost completely covered by large trees.

 

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In the plaza there is a church that has had its entrance walls white washed so that the cross at the top almost blinds me, it is so white. My friend comments that this work must have been recently completed. She knows because she has been here many times before. People are milling about in the courtyard and we enter the church just as a guided tour is ending. I learn that the coffin at the right of the chancel represents the body of Christ. The altar intrigues me because there are many paintings of Mary, Guadalupe, and other saints;  Although painted on a blue wall they appear to be floating in the air although Guadalupe has skin that has been lightened. I am puzzled by this attempt to make Guadalupe, who was an Indian into a white person. My overall impression is that ancient goddesses are present in these images of Guadalupe, Mary and the  other Christian saints…Although the usual gold cross/crucifix is present as part of the picture, the feeling I have is that a Great Mother is living here, one who cares for the people who live under her Mountain.

We are aware that although some doors are open at ground level we are ambivalent about entering any of the low ceiling rooms. I see a beautiful unevenly carved micaceous pot displayed outside one particular door and we are drawn in to a small room, another is curtained off behind it. It is very cool inside as we step down into the room and quite dark after the brilliance of an almost blinding sun. A woman displays many small black and white scaled quail and other handmade clay objects, pots, and some jewelry.  The quail, she notes, is a bird sacred to her people. In a quiet voice she tells us that this small room was once inhabited by her great great grandparents. And that even today the People (Native peoples of all tribes traditionally call themselves the First People) come here to the plaza to re-enact their ceremonies. I ask her where she gets the clay to make her pots and she replies that she goes to the same place on the mountain to dig clay that her ancestors did.

This Indian woman has a lovely round face with beautiful eyes; something about her reminds me of a doe. She seems to want to engage us in conversation. She asks me if I am Native, and where I come from. When I tell her that my Native roots are Passamaquoddy/Maliseet she immediately remarks on the baskets that the Passamaquoddy are so well known for. We talk about the pliability of ash, used by Northern peoples and the red willow that grows by the stream here that is equally pliable. My friend asks a question about all the work that is being done on the pueblos by the men. The Indian woman tells us that this weather is just right, not too hot or too cold to work with the mud, and that the men are preparing for the coming winter. She is frank when she says that many of her people want to close the area down to visitors. They are tired, she continues, without saying of what…She also mentions that some of the young people are leaving the Pueblo to work in the city of Taos. Poverty is a way of life in the Pueblo and continuing to make the choice to stay is saying yes to that poverty. Life is hard without running water regulated heat and all the conveniences that many of us take for granted. The winters are harsh. And yet there is a sense of peace here that is palpable. No one is in a hurry. The mountain watches over her people. There is also a genuine sense of “community,” a word that no longer carries deep meaning for people living in western culture.

I find myself longing to be part of this kind of society, one based on the importance of relationship instead of power. Reflecting upon the experience when I arrived home, I felt a great sadness. These people have so much to teach us about how to live, if only we could open our hearts and minds to something other than greed, war, and acquisition, qualities that simply do not exist for some of these Indigenous peoples who live in harmony with the Earth, and call her home.

*After doing a bit of research I discovered that male tarantulas are crossing roads in the fall because they are seeking mates. Two small leg-like appendages near the male’s mouth will be used to transfer sperm from the surface of the web the male spider will spin for his lady. Sometimes this ritual is preceded by the spider dancing and drumming. As soon as he mates the male spider runs away because female tarantulas are known to eat their mates! The female then seals the eggs and sperm in a cocoon and guards it for six to nine weeks. At least 500 tarantulas hatch from the egg sac just in time for the winter solstice!

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The Turning of the Wheel

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Guardians…

I invoke the Wild Goddess who comes to me through the Lady of the Plants.

The Fall Equinox is the time of “the gathering in” and this year I long to gather the pieces of myself back into one as we move into the dark of the year. This coming to the desert has been a time of wonder and wandering but also filled with difficult practical adjustments all having to do with this little stone/adobe brick house that seems to have problems with locks, broken windows and screens with holes, videos, and more serious, a gas leak. Having lived in Guadalupe’s house for six weeks I feel detached from “Her,” no doubt due to the fragmented parts of myself that struggle to regain grounding, and some semblance of balance and perhaps because it isn’t yet “Her Time.” (?) For the past couple of days a strange depressed state is pushing down hard on me. Oh no, someone cries out – not here too. This, with all this beauty around me, the little red or golden hills, the stark reptilian mountains that weave layer after layer of depth into the whole… Tiny whiptail lizards are scurrying about. Yesterday I saw the first male sagebrush lizard I have seen since Shadow’s death with his shimmering cobalt blotches regarding me with interest while sitting on the rock wall. Shadow’s sagebrush (fringed) that I planted did survive; little green sprouts push up new leaves and I feel like this lizard lives on in me! Yesterday new friend took me to a “Lizard house”… a possible future rent. I picked up a piece of chert (stone) and brought it home with the intention of creating a thread to this lovely house. Today I went to El Rito and met an artist I liked ever so much and she too has a little studio in the trees – no view but much less rent.  I brought home chert from the artists house as well.  Someone else may also have a place to rent. I have nothing to lose by looking for another place for the future if not now but my favorite is the Lizard House facing my favorite Sierra Negra mountain range…

I scattered many wild seeds yesterday while picking up more! Many wildflowers are seeding up and I have spent joyous moments encountering exquisite mounds of lavender a bouquet of which was given to me as a gift. Deep purple, magenta, lavender and pale blue wild asters line the washes and back roads. The buttery yellow chimisa, and blazing stars stun me with their beauty; all of the latter are just coming into bloom even though the fall equinox is upon us. The snakeweed is fading like the sun. Best of all last night it rained (and rain continued through the turning with lightning crackling through the inky blue  skies). I think Nature is blessing the desert because the air is unbelievably sweet and fresh, permeated with wild sages. I have seeds everywhere in the house! Pinion nuts and pine cones, and bean shaped beeweed pods, and the prickly pods of Sacred Datura. This little house is also filled with Artemisia frigida, the sweetest sage of all …and I lit a smudge stick that I made to purify and cleanse the air of this baffling dark energy that swirls around me.

I think of the ancient wild goddess Artemis and her precedents who live on through the telling of Her Stories…. Artemis’s love for animals, women, and the wild stag in particular seems like a powerful influence that may guide me now as it has before. I long for the presence of this ancient wild goddess’s healing power… When the fringed sagebrush called to me I heard the call but didn’t know what it meant. I cry out especially to the fringed sagebrush Artemesia frigida because this is the one I first fell in love with…I trust that she will help me sort through the tangle of dream threats and possibilities that are materializing before me.

The quail and rabbits are a joy as are the canyon towhees and the mourning doves. Yesterday the bird – bath was on the wing with astonishing cobalt western mountain bluebirds gathering for a drink. Later a deep blue pinion jay also visited. The hummingbirds have left except for a few stragglers. Less wondrous is the heavily spotted fat ground squirrel who finally found us and devours seeds like a hoover vacuum that can’t stop running! I watch for the stars to rise in the night sky waiting eagerly for the velvet curtain to drop suddenly as a glowing orb slips below the horizon. Venus is a jewel in the western sky.

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Although a southwestern exposure is hard on my eyes I have fallen in love with these sunsets. I have also become attached to Guadalupe’s house in spite of the many problems that she has with her structure. I really don’t want to abandon her now; but my vision is clouded and I must allow the future to guide me. I don’t understand how I could have been so sure about coming here when this house has been such an issue, and boundary violations have been extreme. Perhaps trial by fire is part of some kind of initiation? Perhaps I relied too much on what I wanted and needed? Perhaps all of this has nothing to do with me at all? … Perhaps it’s both. I discovered that no one has ever inhabited this house for long and that may be part of the problem too. However, the desert has been kind and oh so generous with her bounty. One day last month I finally felt I had turned a corner and then Shadow died, smashed in the door by an aggressive woman, followed by the deaths of a hummingbird and a number of finches. Continuous stomach issues remind me that my poor body is still protesting.

Lily B’s attack was bizarre and terrifying; yet Debra took me to a wonderful vet who saved his life and now he is flying free and bathing in the afternoon warmth that spreads through this house… I have made a few friends, and most people seem kind in this small community where there really are things to do. A couple of days ago I had a sharp momentary sense that all the problems would eventually work themselves out and that I can stay here after all… because as upsetting as they might have been most are being resolved – even the gas leak is scheduled to be worked on – but then that feeling faded… I may be stuck in an overreaction? (equinox dream suggests no – the threat is real) I don’t know how to trust myself because I have to live through something to understand it…I will be 71 in a few days. I swing back and forth between the usual extremes without clear vision.

On the night of September 17th a dream told that Lily would sing again, and the next morning he cooed. It felt like a miracle.

I have acted out this seed gathering time in a very satisfying way feeling as if I am participating in the ancient ways of the Grandmothers whose gathering of seeds, whose weavings, whose pottery created the first peaceful culture without weapons or war…If it happened once the pattern is there to be lived through once again. I continue to act out this story, choosing to believe in Her…even as I give thanks for this last day of equal light and dark. The wheel is turning towards the winter night…

I remind myself that balance is an illusion. Even the Earth stays in balance for just a moment before  turning…

May She Bless Us All.

Guardians….

Harvest Moon

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At dawn this morning I beheld you in the sky –

a perfect pale round.

Last night your blue light guided me home.

The deep desert silence was

broken only by coyotes

singing just for you.

At midnight the Great Horned owl whoos,

narrating Her story.

The harvest is upon us;

The sun slips low on the horizon and shadows deepen.

(Oh, the gift of changing Light)

A multitude of seeds are scattered by west winds…

Give thanks for this abundance!

Grandmothers, you

bring dreams on your wings,

and hope for hungry hearts.

The dove will sing again.

Gratitude flows through me like the Chama

winding her way to the sea.

I pause this morning to hear Earth’s symphony.

8/17/16

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Reflections:

All month I have been living in the kind of chaos that disturbs the natural cycles that guide me through my life. Only during the last few days have I finally had some relief, and I have had deadlines to meet that have taken precedence over everything including the waxing of the second full harvest moon. But I have been participating in “the gathering in” just the same making trip after trip into the desert to gather sweet sage, pinion nuts, sticky pitch laden pine cones – to feast my eyes on the abundance of wildflowers that spring out of desert sand. I am saying good bye to the hummingbirds, wishing them well on their arduous journey. I watch with deep pleasure the covey of quail that come in for seed. I keep a sharp eye out for the baby rabbits, and each night look forward to that time -in the crack between worlds – when the sky catches fire and the light shifts every nanosecond. I am so much in love with the desert sky. As soon as the sun slips over the horizon Venus has begun her climb and will soon rise over the horizon to join Arcturus already positioned higher in the western sky. This month I give thanks for Lily’s life, for neighbors whose kindness fills me to the brim with thanksgiving and joy, and for being in a desert that has made me feel so at home…

Abiquiu 2

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I’m beginning this writing after just seeing the first roadrunner hop up on the bird-bath to perch in the tangle of cholla branches that were sticking up all around him. I had to laugh as I watched him fly down as soon as he had a sip of water. He zipped along the ground to the road, and raced down it for a bit before veering off and disappearing into startling clumps of snakeweed bushes.

These plants cover the ground in my front yard and are festooned with millions of diminutive buttery yellow flowers, which have been in bloom all month. I love them. After it rains the branches of the bushes turn lime green as a diaphanous veil settles over the desert. Only the return of the sun can dim the vision. Snakeweed, is used by some Indigenous peoples to treat snakebite, bee stings, headaches, colds and fever.

I love the way my house opens onto the desert floor beyond a few rows of soft pink and sand colored flagstones. There is no separation between the house which sits against the hillside leaning into it from behind and the high desert with it’s reptilian ridged mountains to the southeast that are often partially hidden by clouds, especially in the early morning. A series of little red hills stretch up behind me to the west. I have become part of a whole new ecosystem here and the desert has made me feel at home.

This morning I almost stepped on a red coachwhip snake – the first of his kind that I have seen since I arrived here a month ago today. My guess is that he’s been here all along but has never made his presence known. I glimpsed the long sinewy rust colored body for a few seconds before he slid under the mounds of fragrant Datura or Jimsonweed, whose pointed leaves drape gracefully on the ground. I feel as if I am slowly being accepted by the creatures who live here because more and more of them are allowing themselves to be seen.

Lightening, my sagebrush lizard, greets me each morning as I go out to water the little rocky mountain juniper in front of the house. A few days ago I noted that part of her tail was missing. She had a close call with some hungry predator and I am glad she survived because I would miss her daily visits (sadly, within the next month, she will be going into hibernation). I always converse with her and she watches me with what appears to be some sort of fascination, perhaps because, as far as I know, most folks don’t talk to lizards.

The rocky mountain juniper in front of the house is thriving and has added about two inches of prickly sage colored scales (leaves belonging to an evergreen) to her height and girth from being watered and cared for by Nature and by me. Junipers can live for a few thousand years in the desert because they are not disturbed by logging. As they age some trunks become gnarled and gray often twisting themselves into impossible shapes. Others become dense and bush –like, but all are trees.

Birds love junipers, nesting in their interiors, eating their berry –like seeds, and seeking protection from predators inside their tangled boughs. As a northerner who has lived with the slaughtering of progressively younger and younger trees for 50 years – in Maine a 20 year old tree is now considered to be an adult – I am delighted that this little tree has the potential to live out her natural life –span. I like the idea of being in her life at the very beginning like some kind of tree grandmother. Perhaps the juniper will remember being loved by a human when she was young. A few birds are starting to perch in her uppermost branches, yet this little tree is barely two feet high! As a species, Junipers have my deepest admiration and respect because they can withstand the harshest conditions and still survive. I am dismayed that so few people seem to think they are special. I remember my mother bringing me a small juniper when I was about 40 without explanation. My mother and I didn’t have the kind of relationship that allowed for questioning her intentions, but I had a peculiar sense that she was passing on something important to me…

There is a sculptured circular stone bird – bath in front of the juniper that I began to work on when I arrived to make it more bird friendly. First I inserted a copper bowl in the depression. Next I added cholla branches and driftwood that I collected on my walks to make perches for thirsty birds. Finally I threw seed around the base of this structure and was amazed at the sheer numbers of birds, rabbits, and hares that arrived to eat and drink. The scaled quail run across the desert floor peeping and chipping in their haste to arrive at what has become a miniature desert oasis. The newest arrivals are the roadrunner, and recently, the white breasted nuthatch and Swainsons thrush. In between, I have seen many finches (House and Cassin), pine siskins, a beautiful black throated sparrow, a black phoebe, a sharp shinned hawk, a red tailed hawk, a gorgeous golden headed bird as yet unnamed and three collared doves. The canyon towhee family comes by every morning. They complain about eating with such a crowd so I give them food in the earth house on a little stone table, a structure so named because it is attached to the house on the east side but is situated half underground (It is remarkably cool out there). I was delighted to see the Eurasian collared doves arrive because Lily B. my twenty three year old collared dove has his cage outside where he can watch all the activity. Early in the morning he sings to the other birds as they appear and some perch on the top of his cage. Lily B is a boy but when I got him I didn’t know that. By the time I did it was simply too late to change his name. I added the “B” to remind me of his gender.

A few days after we arrived Lily B had a Cooper’s hawk land on the plywood covered cage one morning. The hawk attempted to bow his head to peer in at Lily who was perched just below the plywood cover without success… at dusk a few nights later another predator arrived in the form of the great horned owl. S/he sat on top of the plywood and turned her head around almost 360 degrees surveying just what, I am not sure, before flying silently to the ground. (I have never witnessed this 360 degree turning behavior in an owl before although I have read about it). I thought my bird would be unnerved by all this unwanted attention from these aerial predators; yet he continued to coo quite contentedly each day so I was not unduly concerned.

At dawn one day last week I approached his cage in shock because feathers were strewn everywhere on the ground and in his cage. I couldn’t believe my eyes. Something had brutally attacked Lily B during the night clawing his neck open. A great gaping wound about three inches long was caked with dried blood and matted feathers making it impossible for me to examine him properly when I removed him from the cage. My poor bird was numb, seemingly in shock. Immediately, I brought him indoors, and soon after, with the help of a neighbor, I had the cage situated in a window. The bars of his cage are so narrow – less than a ¼ of an inch – that it is impossible to offer a plausible explanation for this attack unless something crawled in from below. Most mornings Lily B coos and sings his heart out. His terrible claw-like wound and equally terrible silence turned this morning into a nightmare. Not only was Lily in tremendous pain, but there was nothing I could do to remedy the situation because it was Labor day. No veterinarians were open anywhere.

The pain he was experiencing was palpable. He couldn’t turn his head. I stood vigil for hours, numb with horror, feeling the life force draining out of him, yet he survived the night. Early the next morning my unbelievably kind neighbor finally found a vet in Santa Fe who would treat birds. After a brief exam later that afternoon the vet said she would have to give him pain medication, antibiotics, sedate him and try to stitch up the wound the following morning. If he made it, we could pick him up the next day. I was in a daze. I did not believe he would survive more trauma but he did. When Lily B was brought out to me the next afternoon I winced; his entire neck was stitched up and he still couldn’t move his head. I was given antibiotics, liquid food, pain medication and we drove home. That night I stayed up with him. The next morning he was still in so much pain that he refused all food, but then ever so slowly something shifted and Lily began to improve. It has been a week since this tragedy struck and lily B is finally gobbling down his Havarti cheese with gusto, eating his chopped egg, and pecking away at his seed. Although he will have to stay in a cage for the next two weeks and he will carry a deep scar for the remainder of his life, he is taking great interest in the birds outside his window. He is still unable to groom himself and his feathers are in tatters all over his body. He is so fussy about preening – normally keeping his feathers immaculately clean that it must be very hard for him not to be able to groom himself. I note that he’s also becoming restless which I hope is a good sign. Normally he flies free in the house and he dislikes being caged except outdoors. My 23 year old bird has exhibited an extraordinary will to live. Most collared doves have a life span of 10 to 12 years. I am guardedly hopeful that he will once again be able to fly, bathe, and groom himself. I will be forever indebted to my generous hearted neighbor for her help.

This terrifying experience with Lily has left me walking on air. This desert moves me so and the people are kind, but from the day I arrived I have had problems with this house. The interior was filthy. A dirty oven and a fireplace filled with creosote, screens with holes in them, a broken video, loss of hot water, diminishing water pressure, a gas leak which has left me without a stove to cook on, windows and doors that were broken and won’t lock, barking dogs that awaken me almost every night are some of the issues I continue to face. I came to Abiquiu to write and have been unable to begin my project with all the confusion swirling around me. Consequently, I am slipping into a depressed state. It is only when I am engaged with the desert that I feel peace, and the sense of “home.”

I am doing my best to stay afloat in all this chaos and unsure of what the future holds. I am puzzled by the extremes I am encountering. I have to face the fact that I may have made a mistake coming here.

The most effective remedy for my sleep deprivation and exhaustion has been to get out and walk in the desert….

On our morning walks miniature striped Chihuahuan whiptail lizards with bright green tails flash by disappearing in seconds in the nearest vegetation. Desert cottontails and black tailed jackrabbits astonish me with their sudden appearances, especially when they freeze so that I can pick out individual differences. One morning I watched two cottontails chase each other around the wash that stretched out in front of us. Two baby cottontails visit the bird place every night.

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Wildflowers are amazingly abundant especially in the washes. The birdcage primroses are pure white, tinted with delicate pink petals, wild flax wash the landscape in pale sky blue. Sunflowers spring up almost anywhere. The magenta and pearl white blossoms of cleomes are buzzing with bees. Purple and yellow aster bouquets spring out of dry sand. Tiny pincushion clusters of deep purple blossoms surprise me each time I stumble on one. My favorite wildflower is a tiny periwinkle blue flower with five petals and a bright yellow center that I also can’t identify. I never before associated an abundance of wildflowers with the desert in late summer or fall until I came to Abiquiu.

Last week I accidently injured a six – inch juniper that I dug up. It was growing under a nurse tree leaning towards the sun it couldn’t reach. My intention was to give this small juniper a more tree friendly home – young junipers are shade intolerant – but I broke off its taproot while digging it up. I left it sitting in a glass of water and potted it up yesterday. I hope that it lives.

Feeling distressed and responsible for what I had done to this young tree I went for a walk in one of the washes. Suddenly I began to see the differences between each juniper. Previously I had been researching junipers trying to identify them by name and had become very frustrated because I hadn’t been able to discern the different kinds. When I started to perceive the junipers as individuals it was as if as curtain had lifted before my eyes. I understood then that the desert was trying to teach me to be patient and allow the trees to speak for themselves in their own way, in their own time.

How many times did I have to re- learn this lesson I wondered. Nature dislikes naming because classifying does not facilitate relationship between person and tree. In fact it separates and distances us, allowing us to objectify whatever we see. What I needed to do was to slow down and let Nature take the lead.

Yesterday in one of the washes I discovered that the pinon pine was dropping her cones and the desert floor was covered with seeds. I knew that these trees produce nuts on an irregular basis every few years, so I felt blessed to be witnessing this particular dispersal. I picked up some seeds and brought a whole clump of sweet scented cones home and placed them in a basket to remind me that the season is turning…

All the grasses are seeding up, some looking like wispy tufts, and some wildflowers have already gone to seed. The Datura trumpets are producing dusky spiny pods that pop when they open. I am gathering seeds of all kinds to cast on the bare ground around this house in the hopes of repairing the earth damage, and to give to my neighbor for her new home knowing that I am participating in an ancient ritual, because as most archeologists will attest to, Indigenous women have been gathering seeds for millennium. Women invented agriculture with their seed gathering; their handprints are imprinted on the ancient clay vessels they created to carry water and to store seeds and they wove clothing from wild plants and animal skins and fur – All this occurred thousands of years ago and stretches back to the Paleolithic era.

At the Indian market fresh produce is at its peak with luscious tomatoes, pears and peaches, green chilies and buffalo meat all sold at reasonable prices from the Indigenous peoples that grow their produce without pesticides.

Soon the 2nd Harvest moon will be upon us. Waxing full on September 16 the moon precedes the Fall Equinox only by a few days. For a moment the earth will pause, and day and night will be equal in length and then the days will grow shorter. Surely this is a time to be thankful for the abundance the earth has provided.

There is a traditional Navajo expression in this area that states:

“There is nothing the human hand has made. The lake is our church. The mountain is our tabernacle. The evergreen trees are our living saints. We pray to the water, the sun, the clouds, the sky, the deer. Without them we could not exist. They give us food, drink, physical power and knowledge.”

IMG_2631.JPGThis kind of heart centered embodied thinking allows me to become part of all there is. Growing up I knew nothing of my Native heritage and yet, it was to Nature that I turned for solace. It was engaging with Nature that brought me joy. When I discovered my Native roots I wondered if it was this part of my psyche and body that had been leading me “home” all along. Perhaps home for me is anywhere where wilderness still thrives?