Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Becoming indigenous

The April 29 edition of Timberjay has a piece I want to call to your attention. I wish we had comparable coverage in the Twin Cities' media. Nancy Jo Tubbs nicely summarizes recent events in which "Indigenous peoples lead on environmental issues." My Minnesota has previously mentioned some of these events and the lack of local attention. It's really heartening to see this kind of thoughtful, aware, writing emanating from northern Minnesota and from someone in addition to Aaron Brown. Thank you, Nancy Jo (and thank you to my Better Half who brought this to my attention). Thanks are also in order for the City of Minneapolis' creation of Indigenous Peoples' Day, to be celebrated on the second Monday of October. I can think of few things that would do more to reduce our environmental problems than to recognize that our global, capitalist, consumerist economy is as dependent on a clean, vibrant, thriving, biologically diverse environment as any and all of the indigenous peoples have ever been. Planet Earth is our home and we're all indigenous to her. Please go read Braiding Sweetgrass.

colorful turkey gobbler
colorful turkey gobbler            © harrington

I spent this morning doing something I haven't done for a long time, too long for that matter. I sat at the base of a red pine, my back resting against it's trunk, hoping to hear a turkey's gobble and listening to my neck of the woods wake up. My waiting and watching was enhanced by the calls of the flocks of sandhill cranes I could hear as they flew by; by the song bird that landed about 18 inches from my face before it panicked and bolted (if a song bird weighing less than an ounce can bolt); by the four does that pranced by looking for breakfast; by the scolding of a squirrel (at who or what I'm not sure) and the quarrelsome calling of bluejays.  I was reminded of the lines from Robert Travers' Testament of a Fisherman on why he fishes: ..."because I love the environs where trout are found, which are invariably beautiful ... because only in the woods can I find solitude without loneliness...." Like Travers, Leslie Marmon Silko writes hauntingly about a personal caring for, and about, where we live and are most alive. Where in Minnesota makes you feel like this?

Love Poem

Rain smell comes with the wind
out of the southwest.
Smell of sand dunes
tall grass glistening
in the rain.
Warm raindrops that fall easy
(this woman)
The summer is born.
Smell of her breathing new life
small gray toads on
damp sand.
(this woman)
whispering to dark wide leaves
white moon blossoms dripping
tracks in the
Rain smell
I am full of hunger
deep and longing to touch
wet tall grass, green and strong beneath.
This woman loved a man
and she breathed to him
her damp earth song.
I was haunted by this story
I remember it in cottonwood leaves
their fragrance in
the shade.
I remember it in the wide blue sky
when the rain smell comes with the wind.
(c) Leslie Marmon Silko

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