I have been here not as long as Turtle. I was formed by the drops that shed from its back as it finally surfaced to rest and this home create. I was here as land verdant grew, as snows fell and stars formed. I have been here since raven arrived following Brother Sun’s skyward journey and as wolf bayed at Sister Moon’s lulling song of tomorrow’s possibility. I have been a raging torrent, a trickle of a memory of time forgotten and thick veined ice that scraped and shaped this place you call the river valley.
I was here as your first people arrived and balance sought on this land where bison shaped life and living skies sang spirits into places sacred and distant recalled. I watched as they spread through my coursing threads into other water woven together into tapestries that stretched in all directions in which kindred Wind blows. Life was easy, beautiful, daunting and awful. Yet with each season, wisdom grew slowly seeing in all connexions beyond what eyes could see and ears could hear.
I was here when tribes once lost came from waters wide and far. At first. they broke bread with those who were first, though never last. In these initial days, creativity coursed, words were shared and meaning together made. As is the wont of your journey upon time’s arrow from there to here, more of the daunting and the awful came with choices poorly made. Connexions were forgotten and greed overshadowed the easy and beautiful. Here I was and am, in the midst of your tears and joys, and here I ever shall remain.
In time, through mistakes made, some acknowledged, others still to recognise, healing’s bloom rises. Words such as reconciliation and forgiveness, grace and healing dance between all who now this land occupy. All shades of life’s tree, of medicine’s wheel, of labyrinth’s sacred spiral upon my watery ways gather. New life and new visions catch you like heron’s diving bill and coyote’s playful bark. In a pause, there you all were, upon promise’s beckoning.
Now, in my coursings, as water ice-bound promises to flow once anew, you find yourself gripped by death’s menace. In response, isolation invites you into places safe, yet distant between one another. It would be easy for despair to seep into you, sap you, so all you might once more see is the daunting and awful. Such a reaction is not wrong … yet there, I encourage you, to be present to the easy and beautiful.
Upon my twisting shoreline you walk, apart yet connected through devices that ingenuity has devised to make this pale blue home intimate, even in isolation. Upon my shore, in the grief of dying, you are choosing to live into care for another that reminds me of the times and places when balance, if but tentative, has been for your peoples. In the choices you make to be apart, you choose to care for the least and the vulnerable.
No words will make this better or ease what has come and that which shall be. But words can embolden, can inspire even in struggle’s midst. So, leave you with this I offer: be brave, care for yourselves and one another. This precious journey has been and always shall teeter between the daunting and easy, the awful and beautiful. But they are not enemies, they are companions who make space to see that in their differences all is connected …