Bird Droppings December 2, 2010
Another thought as winter sets in
“Good words do not last long unless they amount to something.” Chief Joseph
We have had some 30 degree nights here this week. Not sure whether to just start building fires in the fireplace or to crank up the heat. With the holidays a few weeks away rumors of icing over and snow of course are floating around and news and weather stations have a snow watch as part of their programs. Just hard to consider it is winter when it was in the seventies over the past few days. Last night however with a clear sky and wind temperatures dropped near freezing. There will be no crickets and tree frogs chirping for a few days.
I have been drawn to Native Indian wisdom for some time. Perhaps it started when I heard the first story of “Little Strong Arm” from my father as a child. My father had been infatuated with Indians from my earliest memory and growing up I was immersed in the same. Indian lore books, stories even artifacts as my father traveled through the west and South America. Many of my current readings are Native Indian basis.
“All things are connected. Whatever befalls the earth befalls the children of the earth.” Chief Seattle
My own life’s journey has had many paths and trails and always as I look back twists and turns that seems to guide and direct the flow of my life. I was fortunate to meet when I took a job in Macon while still a student at Mercer a co-worker who was of the Creek nation. Through him I was taken into the group of Creeks and Cherokee who worked at the Okmulgee Indian Mounds National Monument. I participated in ceremonies and numerous activities. I was witness to spiritual aspects of a culture many never see. My good friends grandfather was the medicine man for the Creek Nation.
“We do not want churches because they will teach us to quarrel about God….” Chief Joseph
“From Wakan Tanka, the Great Spirit, there came a great unifying life force that flowed in and through all things – the flowers of the plains, blowing winds, rocks, trees, birds, animals – and was the same force that had been breathed into the first man.” Chief Luther Standing Bear
About four years ago I was given the name of Kent Nerburn, an author of numerous books on Native Indian Spirituality and on wisdom in general. I have used Kent’s thoughts many times in my writings and thoughts each day. Several years’ back a good friend gave me a smudge stick, a wrapped bundle of cedar and desert sage, and used as incense. Each small piece in my life has led me to where I am now. Walking out about three this morning to take my dog out I watched clouds moving in a clear sky. Wispy patterns of white illuminated by a smile of a moon.
We each have a pathway that we travel on and as I speak with and discuss with high school students daily often it is hard to say this is where you go or be one day. As I grow older and see how each little minute piece alters the journey ever so subtlety ever so gently. I look back at conversations I have been involved in or books I have read and now see how I was influenced. I think back to people I have met along the way each day. How have they impacted me or affected how I see life?
“Death will come, always out of season.” Big Elk
“Each soul must meet the morning sun, the new, sweet earth, and the Great Silence alone!” Dr. Charles Alexander Eastman, Ohiyesa
Several months back I watched a TV movie on Wounded Knee and Dr. Eastman was the physician on the reservation when the wounded and dying were brought in from the Wounded Knee massacre. He went on to be a prolific writer and lecturer around the country. I was thinking along this line one morning as I walked the beach on Cumberland Island as the sun rose. Looking down the beach both ways as far as I could see not a person other than me. The waves were the sole noise hitting the beach. Even the seabirds were quiet as the sun rose brilliantly.
“Continue to contaminate your own bed, and you will one night suffocate in your own waste.” Chief Seattle
Reading the news each day makes me wonder if we are not close to suffocation in our sleep as Chief Seattle warned. So much is based on greed and money. Someone not concerned about the future and or anyone but themselves. I sit working with kids who are similar in their personalities focused only on themselves. I wonder why? Recently I researched the concept of generation Y. Children born approximately 1985 through 1995 and this idea of self centeredness is in many of the definitions. The societal norms of capitalism and consumerism seem to drive that point of focus. I wonder if many of the disorders of children today are not culturally derived.
Some will say it is nutrition, yet is it a lifestyle that has contributed to that nutritional deficit or overload. We are directed to fast food as an alternative and aid in our quest to grab a few more minutes out of a day and be more profitable and able to buy more things and grab more pieces of life. Perhaps it is seeing everything as having a dollar value, and or as a commodity. In some recent reading the term cyberhuman was used. We see ourselves as a prosthesis only and not as human. We are simply something to be added to or deleted from.
“As a child, I understand how to give; I have forgotten that grace since I have become civilized. I lived the natural life, whereas I now live the artificial. Any pretty pebble was valuable to me then, every growing an object of reverence.” Dr. Charles Alexander Eastman, Ohiyesa
We strip away from our children and create consumers to buy all the odds and ends we have built for us in plants over seas. We take away innocence and give back standardization. We deplete imagination and creativity and offer packaged curriculum so all will be more easily tested and graded. It is so sad Native Indian thinkers of over a hundred years ago saw this and knew this and we just now are starting to pay attention. Please take a moment and think about our friends and families in harms way around the world and keep them on your mind and in your heart.