Bird Droppings October 24, 2022
Did you know trees can talk?
“Did you know that trees talk? Well, they do. They talk to each other, and they’ll talk if you listen. Trouble is, white people don’t listen. They never learned to listen to the Indians, so I don’t suppose they’ll listen to other voices in nature. Tatanga Mani, Stoney tribe
Most people would laugh at the comment trees can talk. I thought it was odd as I first read the quote from Tatanga Mani or Walking Buffalo, a Stoney Indian from Canada who never gave up his reverence and respect for nature after being educated in the modern world. A friend posted a note in Lord of the Rings, which I thought of as I read this quote earlier today. I had been by the cottonwoods beside the Indian cemetery at Fort Sill and stood looking across the plains listening. The rustling of the cottonwoods along the creek can provide a sense of communication unlike anything I can describe. I was last at Fort Sill in Lawton, Oklahoma, in 1994, it has been a few years, but the memory lingers. This morning I went out before the sun came up and stood listening to the night. Pine needles create a sound unlike the leaves of many deciduous trees. Fading in the background, the crickets and tree frogs chirped along, keeping time with a slight breeze.
“For the Lakota, mountains, lakes, rivers, springs, valleys, and the woods were all in finished beauty. Winds, rain, snow, sunshine, day, night, and change of seasons were endlessly fascinating. Birds, insects, and animals filled the world with knowledge that defied the comprehension of man.” Chief Luther Standing Bear
While I sit, I listen; my mind seems at ease, and trouble seems to wander off. Around me are the sounds of nature and the awareness of all around me when the sunlight finally makes its way through the dark. Butterflies and flowers are all about me, and each has a specific purpose and often occupies and lives a delicate balance in our hectic world. Many people do not mind a butterfly that only survives with a particular host plant, much like the Monarch that feeds only milkweed and related species. The Monarch also needs a select forest to winter in as part of its natural cycle. In Mexico, timbering is wiping out the winter resting spot for northern Monarchs, and soon we may see a decline in Monarch populations.
“Everything was possessed of personality, only differing from us in form. Knowledge was inherent in all things. The world was a library, and its books were the stones, leaves, grass, brooks, and the birds and animals that shared, alike with us, the storms and blessings of the earth. We learned to do what only the student of nature learns, and that was to feel the beauty. We never railed at the storms, the furious winds, and the biting frosts and snows. To do so intensify human futility, so whatever came, we adjusted ourselves, by more effort and energy if necessary, but without complaint.” Chief Luther Standing Bear
I have often written about life’s sacredness and all about us. Perhaps in greed, we lose this sense of nature. Over the past few years, I have learned to be more revenant to the world around me and, in turn, to people. I spent a large part of yesterday talking with a friend about how I see all like a puzzle, a great jigsaw puzzle with each piece interconnected to all the others to form a picture of life. Some people hear my puzzle analogy and do not understand it. It has been some time since listening to a great speaker Dr. Norman Vincent Peale, talk about how we influence at least ten people daily. He was referring to the fact that, positively or negatively, every person we come in contact with is impacted by what we do. The example we set is what is seen by others and carried away. Life constantly interconnects people, places, things, and ideas.
“What is life? It is the flash of a firefly in the night. It is the breath of a buffalo in the wintertime. It is the little shadow which runs across the grass and loses itself in the sunset.” Crowfoot, Blackfoot warrior, and orator
It has been some time since walking across the fields near my old home. As a child, I often caught fireflies and filled a mason jar to light my bedroom at night with their glow. I could hear the buffalo snort and paw the ground, agitated by my prescience and letting me know I must move on. There is a point of understanding and reverence that we lose in our greed and selfishness. We tend to rush by and miss so much the world has to offer. I am sitting, writing, listening, and wondering as I finish today. My dear friends, please keep all in harm’s way on your minds and in your hearts and always give thanks namaste.
My family and friends, I do not say this lightly,
(We are all related)