Just back from a 4-day fast at a lodge – The Lodge of the Sacred Fire of the Thunder – out at Six Nations.
The parameters: no food, no water, no electronic devices, no talking, no books. Only a tent, a sleeping bag, a journal, the necessary clothing, whatever spiritual paraphernalia – rattles and smudge essentials and the like – and the time and space to be at one with Mother Earth.
The first morning I woke up well before dawn, cold and stiff but thrilled at the cacophony of birdsong that surrounded me. Just outside the door of my tent lay a sea of sprinkles of frost, each blade of grass with a tiny little droplet at its tip.
It was so beautiful, of course I wanted to photograph it, but had no camera, no camera-phone even. All I could do was be in it, and marvel at its beauty. And the longer I was there, mute and helpless in the face of its perfection, the more I fell in love.
This is the heart of the teaching.
Hours and days were spent wandering the land, gazing out at the Grand River, watching the shifts in the weather, the shapes of the clouds, listening to the rain, the call and answer of all the different birds, observing the strange movements of the animals, the insects, becoming acquainted with the dried husks of last year’s blossoming, seeing the small buds of the new season begin.
This is culture when its center is the Earth, the Sky, the Waters, the Fire.
Back at home, I commune with my camera, my computer, my phone.
I do love them too, but not quite as much.