“You know, I think if people stay somewhere long enough … the spirits will begin to speak to them. It’s the power of the spirits coming from the land. The spirits and the old powers aren’t lost, they just need people to be around long enough and the spirits will begin to influence them.” Thus spoke a Crow elder.
A dear friend shared this quote via email, causing me to think about our connection with the land, Mother Earth, the Spirits of the Land. How long do we stay in one place of residence before we feel the urge to move on? Many families and individuals arrive at a destination long enough to decide where they’re headed next. They may comment like, “We’re glad that move’s over. We’ll be staying here a long time.” Then they talk about how much they dislike moving. Yet, two, three, or maybe four years later they move on.
In today’s world of mobility, most people stay in one place no longer than a couple years owed to changes in career, job advancements, or educational endeavors to name a few reasons. What ever the reason(s) many people stay on the move. Another reason, often heard, “Let’s move, things will be different then.” Maybe things will change, but often they don’t because the same unseen baggage stays with them.
If we try staying in one place long enough, like the crow elder said, the land begins to talk to us. We hear the voices of the trees, plants, and animals. We sense their presence when we walk around and with the land. We begin to see the grasshopper on the branch as more than a pest, but as a fellow resident, sharing our space, and a potential source of wisdom. We look at the old tree that provides shade, protection from the winds, maybe even a place of security and serenity when we feel “out of sorts”. Ever wonder why you feel so comforted by one old tree, after all it’s just a tree… or is it one of the spirits of the land that calls gently… communing with our spirit?
That old tree has seen and experienced many events in the years it’s been in that one place. It’s weathered and felt many a storm, yet remains steady. It’s learned how to bend with the wind, draw its sap, its life blood into the roots for long winters. It shouts for joy with spring sprouting new buds, leaves, branches, and new life. It shows off its beauty of verdant green providing shade from summer’s heat and then shows its true colors in the fall. As we watch the drama of that old tree year after year, we learn valuable lessons for our own lives.
Spirits of the land can also reveal themselves through other residents through sharing their families with ours. With a certain fondness, I remember a red-tailed hawk flying above as I walked some land deciding if I should live there. The hawk seemed to introduce itself to me with a welcoming “Come, stay with us. Be our neighbor. You are welcome here.” The same hawk shared the land with us. I watched as it found a mate and later on the proud parent brought the fledglings out within a matter of feet from our front porch, like any human parent proudly showing their children.
An intimate relationship with the land guides us to an intimate relationship with the spirits who will encourage, teach, and influence us. Our lives will be more fulfilling and focused through our connection with the land. Our own self image improves. Our relationships with others improve. We can begin this intimate relationship the moment we step onto the land realizing we are not a part from, but in partnership with the spirits of the land.
Try this. Walk onto a piece of land. Close your eyes. Take four deep cleansing breaths, in through the nose and out through the mouth, then open your eyes slowly and allow the spirits of the land to awaken your soul.
“I think if people stay somewhere long enough … the spirits will begin to speak to them. It’s the power of the spirits coming from the land.”