Posted tagged ‘endurance’

Like the Buffalo, Heading into the Wind

September 18, 2009

Last of the harvest

Last of the harvest

Equinox is approaching; light shines for fewer hours; the Earth’s northern hemisphere cools. A hinge on the doorway of the seasons swings to a close.
Time reaches the halfway point between solstice and solstice; it pauses, giving all of us equal hours of day and night at once, at one. There is still hope. Then the door closes.

There is definitely a feeling of closure around right now. In turbulent times we resort to gathering in of faculties, pulling in the feelers after a tentative burst of faith and hope that the world would change overnight. Did we believe that by our being blasted with Cosmic Rays, messages from ET, a flurry of spiritual internet (and out-of-planet) communication, that we might find a quick fix, a rescue remedy to reach the Promised Land? After the pinnacles of 09/09/09, three eclipses, admonitions to prepare for a Life Change, a Planetary Shift, Shift of the Ages, there now seems a finality to each day, a touch of chill descends at night. The summer of 2009 gently pulls down its curtain and allows us to retreat from the elements, to enter our caves for the winter.

Many cultures of ancient tradition take this time to go inward spiritually. Eastern philosophies turn from waning light without and focus on the light within. Autumn lecture tours by gurus and autumnal spiritual retreats abound. Others in the West find solace in working to consolidate one’s own projects, to take stock and assimilate knowledge, insight, light gained over summer.
For a writer this should be a glorious time: more access to internet and computer hours to satisfy even a librarian.

This writer is a gardener though and the gardener in her demurs. Doesn’t want to let go of the light; the feeling of summer still warm on the skin is seductive, there is a longing for a reprise, a need made more poignant by the last rays of the sun, the gathering of swallows.

Not all of us, however, may like grasshoppers flee the wintertime. Change is often a call to the human urge to move on. We need to heed the call.

Fall was traditionally – and in some places still is – a time of migration. Food supplies dry up with shortening days, earth has given her all: the wise move on. Swallows, songbirds, geese are the last in Europe to leave, while their fellow residents still gather in the harvest: human farmers barley and wheat, animal residents nuts and berries. In the Pacific NW mammals of the old regime are urged by primeval instinct to move to winter grounds. Wolf, elk, bear, caribou, mountain lion and moose all have to find more food, shelter, winter quarters.

Farther south there used to be buffalo.

Heading into the Wind

Heading into the Wind


Now with little territory of their own, bison (political correctness of terminolgy goes with manipulation of animals) have nowhere to move. They are herded like other domestic beasts, subject to humanity. We are now trying to do the same with wolves.

The Wolf, unlike the Buffalo, is fighting back. There is a current initiative to overturn Washington’s recent shortsighted alteration to the Endangered Species Act.

They say our only way forward as a Race is to follow our inner urge to move with the times. That we should trust our guidance by our Higher (inner, wiser) Self to bring us out of the mess we’ve gotten ourselves and our planet into. The Earth is, after all, reaching out to show us how to do it.

At autumnal equinox, the beauty of light, growth in its final stature (before the fall) and abundance of fruit, prolific increase in bird and vegetable kingdoms, all give us hope to nurture us through the winter, to protect us from wilds of weather and wind. As well as gathering in the harvest, we are being asked to ‘gather into the fold’, to foster in ourselves a spirit of endurance.

Mountain lion, cougar or Kelly's Cat, wild cat is a survivor

Mountain lion, cougar or Kelly's Cat, wild cat is a survivor

In all older traditions there was one totem animal that embodied endurance. Russia had Bear; Norway, Sweden, Finland have Reindeer; Central Europe (used to) have the Wolf; North Africa and the Middle East the Camel; Central Africa the Cat; both Americas had the Eagle. But in addition to Native American’s respect for Eagle, his admiration went out to Buffalo.

When all of surrounding humankind is packing up tipi, provisions, families and goods to find winter hunting grounds, following migrant animals was a way of life. It more often than not included hardship and trek over difficult terrain to get there. Death, survival and jubilation on arrival were common in both man and animal. Native American wisdom says that animal teaches Man how to live.

When all else failed, the buffalo headed out from sunny summer plains and through what seems like insuperable odds, braved wind, hail and snow to reach better ground.

We are being asked to do the same. Human nature has the power of endurance, the intellect and spirit to survive and ensure survival. Along with our fellow earth residents, we have an obligation to care for both summer plains and winter feeding grounds. Without our care, they won’t be there next fall.

Buffalo hooves are not made for concrete

We as a species are being asked to hold firm to what we believe. That we should show gratitude for the gift we have been given of this unique planet. That heaven-on-earth is as we make it. Nature will help, but we have to want to cooperate, not bully her into it.

We as a species are being asked to become custodians again: to care for our home like responsible animals; not trash it like hyenas and wild dogs: This is no longer simply wise; it is a necessity. Like the animal kingdom, we are being asked to look after our territory for ourselves, for our children, our families, our piece of the planet, and in combination with others, the planet as a whole.

This project we are taking on will not be easy. But we have been genetically engineered to overcome our past and endure its consequences. The journey will have its pitfalls. We may not arrive as we started out. But we will get there. If we do it together.

In order to get there, though, to make sure we reach our goal, by immersing ourselves in transition from medieval to superstellar species we, like the Buffalo, may have to head into the Wind.


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