Manataka American Indian Council™
GRANDMOTHER MAKA NUPA L. COTA SPEAKS
To Embrace the Earth
by Grandmother Maka Nupa L Cota
Laying in the long grass at the water’s edge I swish my hands in the cool water. The marsh grasses bend and sway in the evening breeze and whisper the song of the water spider in my ears. A red winged black bird perches on the cat-o-nine tails and cocks his head this way and that as he observes me there in his territory.
Tiny insects buzz and frogs go plop as they jump from the lily pads into the still, deep water of the pond. Tadpoles wriggle in and around the small stones near the shore line, chasing transparent minnows. The still water reflects the sky and clouds mirroring the above-world in the below-one.
My hand trails in the water and its reflection make it appear to be growing out of the water instead of dipping into it. I peer between the grasses and see a blue heron across the pond standing so still that I had not seen him before. One leg tucked up under his wing, he waits patiently in the water for a fish or crayfish to swim by. I know he sees me there looking at him.
I close one eye and look out across the water, giving a different angle to my view. The sky disappears and only the surface of the water remains. Everything intensifies from that point of view. I can see only the water and the grass; from this view the sky does not appear. Smells of decaying vegetation are much more noticeable now and each and every bubble and ripple of the water seem more intense.
My own body seems to diminish in size and becomes more in tune with the water and Earth. I mold and fit into the indention that the soft flattened grass has made. Sinking deeper and deeper, I am enfolded into the Earth's embrace. A feeling of peace and comfort pass through me and I am at one with the Earth.
The small insects tickle my skin and explore my face as it presses close to the earth. I can sense the sweet smells of the grasses and flowers that line the nest where I have been placed. My mind clears of all everyday problems and drifts away to days of laughter and play.
My cousin and I are playing in the mud, making small clay animals and mud pies for our rag dolls. Collecting the empty freshwater clam shells, we use them as dishes to feed our imaginary family. Our tea parties with the stuffed animals as our guests are held here each day.
The chains of flowers we weave and place in our hair still grow today. Like water fairies, we dance on our long skinny bird-like legs. Our bare feet stepping and making dainty prints in the mud, we dance in the sun to the sound of the music of our hearts. Her dark brown skin and hair reflect my lighter skin and hair as we play. Two little girls yet our hearts reach beyond this time and space to a time before this life now.
All of those thoughts and sights parade before me as I lay here taking root in the Earth Mother. It will be many years later that we come to know the strength of our connection and the beauty of the twin hoops we hold. We are connected by a much higher power and will grow to understand the beauty of our reflections on this Earth. It is only when we embrace the Earth that she will show us the reflections of our souls.
I slowly release my body from the Earth and reluctantly stand up to walk away from this delicious day and time. I will return soon and I make it a promise to not distance myself from the embrace of the Earth Mother.
It is said that a child raised without love fails to thrive. A child needs constant holding and nurturing to grow and to develop emotionally and physically. We now live in a civilization that disconnects from the Earth Mother. We work in high-rise offices and our children are not allowed to walk or play with the Earth and all that she has given. Fears of germs and diseases fill our minds with fear and sadly, we protect our children by not allowing them to embrace the Earth Mother and she them.
Copyright © 2009 by Nupah Makah L.Cota All publication rights reserved.
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