On Wednesday we drove to the Oregon coast escaping near 100 degree temperatures in Portland. Walked a trail down to a secluded bay avoiding most of the summer crowds. Stepping over vein-patterned roots under Hemlock and Spruce, through still quiet and misty valleys lined with licorice ferns and salal bushes. Hushed surf and seagull cries in the distance.
Fog thickened as we sat with our backs to a driftwood log. I pulled out and began to eat a cold burrito entombed in tin foil. The cold burrito lesson like so many repeats has yet to be learned.
An ant hurried over taupe sand ripples at my feet. As I redirected it repeatedly from a motherload of sentient skin it got buried in a half inch of sand only to resurface after a second or two like a cork in water. Somehow that’s got to be a lesson in resilience.
A little while later a yellow beaked Thayers gull tosses the remaining sandy burrito down its throat. I noticed for the first time how fluid a gull’s feet are, like small pink puddles ever so gently splashing the earth. Somehow that’s got to be a lesson on how to walk on our precious planet. Like medicine man Black Elk’s sacred walking.
“Hear me, four quarters of the world–a relative I am! Give me the strength to walk the soft earth, a relative to all that is! Give me the eyes to see and the strength to understand, that I may be like you. With your power only can I face the winds.
Great Spirit, Great Spirit, my Grandfather, all over the earth the faces of living things are all alike…
- “Black Elk’s Prayer for All Life”