The Elder women laugh over the fire.
Paying respect to the dead by using every last bit of their fishy corpses,
They keep passing parts my way to try. The head! The eggs! The eye!
Full before it even begins I try and refuse.
My protests are not heard. I do not try again.
The plate comes round again, the pipe!
I reach towards one of the piles of bits… No! That’s the shit!
They’re falling all over themselves laughing,
The other part! Don’t eat the shit!
Heart rests wide as our boat bobs on the lake.
A depth to the waters, a depth to this moment.
He pulls up the nets, tenderly untangling each individual flapping offering.
I watch, nothing to do but be,
Mindfully pulling the nets, he midwifes the last few breathes of these slippery lives as they drown in our air.
Knowing that their life doesn’t leave and will now become our own, there is no grieving here.
Throwing a few still gasping wriggles to the eagle. Breath continues. Movement continues.
Sleek pulsing through waters gives movement to soaring wings and our own loving hearts.
There a few moments where I have felt this present.
Few moments this quiet.
Though my arms ache as I pull up the jugs of water from these still still waters and the engine revs as we putter back to camp with our gifts of water and fish,
Though movement continues and work is hard, Life is still.
I am still.
Heart bursting with empty empty fullness, I am alive.
I ask what he thinks his people need today.
“A messenger,” he says, “to lead the way.
And he will come, the prophecies say.
We also need to pray. Pray everyday.
Remember the Creator, the sun, the Earth.
Celebrate with ceremonies, our life, death and birth.
We need to come back to the land,
Put away our phones and rely on the help of each other’s sacred hands.”
Are any of the fish okay?
Such sadness and pain as we stare at the lump on our bounty,
Toxic links connecting this potentially cancerous trout to the mine miles away,
The horror of our world slipping from our hands,
Even in this most pristine lake,
We see the painful poisoning of our lands.
An Elder’s Lessons
His words are English and yet when he speaks another language fills my ears,
Strong, his words whisper off of each other in harmonies I have not heard before.
Imbued with tones and emphasis of ancient voices singing,
I sit in reverence to hear this master’s teaching.
Cutting through the flesh,
Blood coating my hands as I work.
Tearing and rinsing,
Cooking and serving.
Keeping these animals that we are alive.
What else is there to do?
Live, breathe, eat and be.
It fills me with so much joy.
It feels so right.
Nothing but tearing, rinsing, cooking and serving.
Love, so much love.