Bear cub sleeps within my heart.
He growls and yips in dreams
heavy with the scent of spring
approaching — thickening mud,
warning caw of the red-winged
blackbird. When night falls
I crawl into his cave and feed
him golden combs dripped in honey,
red tubers dusted with earth. His
coat shines, his claws lengthen.
Where is the medicine? I have searched for it
on paths leading far from the homestead;
past skeletal groves of stark birch trees guarding
the iron gates of a world beyond my grasp; ashen
fields pale with drought, thirsty buds pursed upwards
for any lick of rainwater. I tunneled into the ground
and wandered through ancient cities, pored over books and
yellow bottles. I have traveled through steady breaks in time.
Where is the medicine? Where is the medicine?
Bear cub wakes from restless
sleep and toddles into my arms.
He yawns widely, incisors bright,
pink tongue curled up, up towards
the narrow roof of his mouth.
There are no pills, no powders;
no six red seeds to swallow
and keep spring’s fever at bay.
There is only a longing, nascent still,
that quivers and stretches with each
passing moonrise. It is a voice, hushed,
that dares to whisper when all are fast
asleep. Your rivulet, bear sings softly,
barely above a sigh. Your rivulet is here.
I’m probably in serious danger of over-posting this week, but I know you’ll all put up with me.
“We remember that all things are connected…It is a part of healing and restoration. It is the mending of a broken connection between us and the rest. The participants in a ceremony say the words “All my relations” before and after we pray; those words create a relationship with other people, with animals, with the land. To have health it is necessary to keep all these relations in mind.
“The purpose of a ceremony is to put a person back together by restructuring the human mind. This reorganization is accomplished by a kind of inner map, a geography of the human spirit and the rest of the world. We make whole our broken-off pieces of self and world. Within ourselves, we bring together the fragments of our lives in a sacred act of renewal, and we reestablish our connections with others. The ceremony is a point of return. It takes us toward the place of balance, our place in the community of all things. It is an event that sets us back upright. But it is not a finished thing. The real ceremony begins where the formal one ends, when we take up a new way, our minds and hearts filled with the vision of earth that holds us within it, in compassionate relationship to and with our world.
“We speak. We sing. We swallow water and breathe smoke…We drive home. Everything returns to ordinary use. A spider weaves a web from one of the cottonwood poles to another. Crows sit inside the framework. It’s evening. The crickets are singing. All my relations.”
–Linda Hogan, from All My Relations