Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Turtle Island

Today I would like to share with you all a part of the book I wrote for the convent called "Congratulations you baby is a boy and a girl" The turtle is a symbol of strength in Lakota culture. It is said, that even when a turtle is killed his heart keeps on beating. In fact land on which we live is called "Turtle Island."

She watched the river slowly ripple over the rocks, listening to a hawk screech in the distance. The sun reached toward noon as it filtered through the branches of the trees over head. She sat there on the log, next to her Grandfather, where they had stopped to rest. She enjoyed their long walks along the river best of all.

“See that?” said her Grandfather, pointing to something moving slowly along the muddy banks of the river.

She looked to where he pointed and there, slowly making its way along the edge of the water, was a small turtle.

“You might not know it, but that little fella is strong. Stronger even than you an’ me.”

“That’s silly Gran’pa, he’s just a little turtle.”

The turtle disappeared under some plants and Grandfather turned to her.

“I’m not talking about what he can carry on his back. I’m talking about what he can carry in his heart. Fact is, even after he dies, his heart will keep beating. That’s why the turtle has always been a symbol of strength.”

Turtle Heart…

We each go through life with our hopes, desires and dreams. The dreams of our youth ay sometimes change. If we are lucky those dreams do not fade away entirely. In a world fraught with frustrations that could easily stress Gandhi, it is easy to lose sight of those hopes and dreams. We may find ourselves swallowed whole by the corporate world, the way the media tells us life should be, and the pressures of every day life.

W.C. Fields once said, “If at first you don’t succeed, try, try again. Then quit. Don’t be a damn fool about it.” It is easy to find ourselves at a place in our lives where we begin to lose sight of our dreams, ourselves and even our sanity. We may be among the many tired, huddled masses, yearning to be free of the office cubes and the neat little box society tries to fit us in…only to find ourselves leading lives of quiet desperation. Still, like the turtle’s heart, most of us continue on, even if the reason is one of necessity…fulfilling the basic needs of life…food, clothing and shelter. Yet even strength born of necessity can reach the breaking point. Sometimes the turtle’s heart quits beating. Like Saul on the road to Damascus, there comes a time of epiphany…no matter how brief…when we tell ourselves that there has to be more to life. When we try to find that missing something, when we reach for our dreams, of if we strive only to be ourselves, with our own values and goals, instead of those forced upon us by others, there is much to stand against us. As we travel this path it is easy to lose sight of the good that we have done with our lives.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I have spent time with the Lakota. Their holy man invited me, quite from out of the blue and unexpectedly, to their sacred lands and later to visit Pine Ridge reservation. The simplicity of their traditional ways is very beautiful, and their stories, passed down by elders, also beautiful. I felt honored, as I'd studied many cultures since I was a little girl. -Erin