This is the third guest post in an ongoing series: Beyond Native American Appropriation: Cultivating a Personal, Nature-Based Spirituality.
Do you feel it? The warm sun breaking through the grey October sky, lighting up your shoulders, like grace, like morning, like home? It’s a cup full of sunshine, just for you.
I hope I’m not betraying her by telling you this, but Anne was concerned that her story would be too simple to share. But as it is with all of us, I think she doesn’t know how much she communicates between the lines, just with her very presence. If you visit her blog, you will discover grace, style, grounded wisdom and something else…something that tugs on your heart and beckons you on to a dusty road on a late summer afternoon. Anne is a mama extraordinaire to four (amazingly beautiful) children, with number five on the way. But I sometimes forget it, since her soul speaks like a desert wanderer, in communion with God and beauty. Anne’s story is like one of those tiny, gourmet, chocolate pastries that you find in a secret (or in SF, on every corner) french bakery. You sit down with your espresso and treat and although it is gone in 10 minutes, you are utterly satisfied, a smile on your face.
Two things I specifically love about Anne’s post: She is a devout Catholic, but this does not preclude connecting with nature and non-human others. This is such a crucial illustration for getting away from appropriation. This connection is our birthright and non-denominational. If we use New Age language, what and who may it be at the expense of? How can we use our words to be inclusive, regardless of belief?
The other point is best said by Byrd Baylor…Trees don’t care much for fancy people. A spiritual connection to nature is not something that needs to be put on parade, or something that requires a utility belt from Five and Diamond. Nature connection is straight up, simple and real.
So allow me to introduce you to one of my favorite people, and I invite you to visit her blog or at her etsy shop. I miss you dear! Hosting you in this space is almost as good as having a little visit.
The summer before last we visited gorgeous Sedona, Az. At the time I was reading, “An Unspoken Hunger” by Terry Tempest Williams and had arrived at the chapter In Cahoots With Coyote. In this chapter she tells a story of a time she was speaking to a group of Mormons about the spirituality of nature. She says,
I opened my scriptures and spoke of the earth, the desert, how much nature mirrors our own. I began to read from the Doctrine of Covenants, section 88, verse 44- “And the Lord spoke…” when all at once, a pack of coyotes behind the rocks burst forth in a chorus of howls.
I was so overcome with delight at the perfectness of this moment, I forgot all religious protocol and joined them. Throwing back my head, I howled too-and invited the congregation to do likewise-which they did.”
I finished the chapter with a smile on my face. That night we went on a stargazing tour which turned out to be one of the highlights of the trip. Many constellations were pointed out and we saw Saturn, the moon and much more through the telescope. Midway through the tour, a short distance away, a pack of coyotes began to howl. As you can imagine I was quite excited! Everyone sat quietly listening and just as I* tipped my head back to respond, another pack howled back to the first. They went back and forth for several minutes. I could have listened for an hour but it was over all too soon. It really was a magical experience, one I won’t soon forget!
Mary, thank you so much for sharing my short, little story here on your beautiful blog!
*Ok, as much as I’d like to say I would have howled, in reality I wouldn’t have. Not with all those strangers around. And as you read, there was no need for it since the other pack of coyotes answered back for me 🙂