Manataka American Indian Council







The Old Ways

By Gram Selma, Ocali Nation




As we age and the wrinkles on our faces show, wrinkles in our heart and soul start to be felt more.   Some of us tend to forget what simple pleasures surround us even on the worst of days!


What joy we experienced as a child with playing in a stream or even a water puddle. Our amazement watching tadpoles and our disbelief when adults told us they would grow into frogs!


We tend to forget our first thrill at chasing and trying to catch a butterfly and then an adult telling us that if we caught them that it would kill them as the fuzz would come off their wings.


So, we learned to simply watch them and if one landed on us to marvel in sheer joy, remembering not to touch it in fear of killing it


The total amazement in how a spider could build an elaborate web overnight where it was not there the day before.  All the neat designs and how did it get from that tree all the way down here to build it all?


We tend to forget what it was like to see a baby chick come out of the most unlikely source of an egg. Then we make the connection of  " Wait!  we eat eggs!"   


We forget how we marveled that when the grass was cut.  Magically it happened and it soon grew even taller than it was before being mowed.


The magic of picking a berry off of a green bush or tree and eating it.  How sweet and juicy it was and no one put sugar on it!


And oh my goodness!   Thousands of different funny looking little bugs of all sorts, colors, sizes, abilities, and places they called home.


The wonder of each bird being a different color, sounding different, living in different places and building different style houses. 


Almost more than our minds could absorb.  But, we knew that the adults and elders in our lives were showing and teaching us all these things for some ultimate purpose.


As we age and reach a point of wisdom.  As we look back at all those simple magical things, we remove some of the wrinkles because we have to smile.  Only at this stage of our lives,  it is a smile of joy past, but also one of knowing some of the simple joys that we need to teach to the younger generations now.  I say "now" before it is too late. It is vital to their development as caring human beings that understand their connection to all forms of life.


It is vital to their minds to witness the wonder and the beauty of diversity.  If they can learn to appreciate it in the animal world, they will be adults that can appreciate it in their fellow man and in other cultures.


And, at this point and time in history, it may very well be vital to their ability to survive off the land if need be.


As elders, we have the responsibility and the honor of being the very ones that make sure these building blocks necessary to become fully functional adults are not lost or over looked in the bustle of daily life.


I leave you with a hug, so go out for an hour and play with a bug!


Gram Selma


Picture Credit:



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