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Sometimes I am a tree.
Hickory and Maple
I love trees.
I am very practical, so I prefer a fruit tree- but it is just because I am ignorant. I am not like my ancestors that knew the use of everything.
Just lately, I learned about hickory trees because there are so many of them on my property- and I didn’t like what the identifier app said about them. There is so much confusion in the new information. So, I kept on going to find that the natives used the bark for inflammation, and the hard bitter nut that I didn’t know what to do with- they treated it and made flour out of it. What do I know. What I do know is that deep down, just looking at a hickory tree, I am in love.
I wanted to know about the hickory tree because I am building a sweat lodge. I know that the traditional wood to build a sweat is willow but although I am living close to the river and there are plenty of willow trees and bushes everywhere, I am not allowed to touch them because the reservation preservation park people said, no. I thought I should steal it anyway but none of my friends and neighbors wanted to help. So, hey.
On my property I have loads of different oak, hickory, maple, sycamore, pine and cedar. I found one stick of willow, one. The Pine and cedar are sacred to me (never mind people don’t like the cedar trees here), and they are not to be touched. The oak is too hard, and the sycamores are like a perfect painting. So, I was left with hickory and maple.
It reminds me that few years ago, I set in a circle of word with shamans. And the question that the head shaman, the tiata, presented was, what are you doing here? When my turn came, I said without thinking twice that I came to break traditions. And while I was all smiley- suddenly the room became super quiet, and I noticed all heads turn to me. Ooopst. “oh, not your tradition…” the only head that wasn’t looking at me was a friend of mine- his head was down to his chest moving from one side to another in an “ohy..nay nay I don’t know her”
Yeah, time and place for everything.
But here I am building a sweat lodge breaking tradition. I am mixing silver and red maple with hickory, and I am not going to learn the traditional songs for sweat. I am actually not going to do anything according to the original tradition because I don’t feel it. I would feel phony to do it like a shaman of this tradition. But I want a sweat lodge.
In my tree there are fruits. Some of these fruits are being picked and eaten by Eden and her friends.
Some of the fruits are being eaten by worms, birds, chipmunks, and other cute little beings.
Some of the fruits are tucked away, and because nobody sees them, they fall and rot. And if they fall far enough- they might have a life of their own. But if they fall too close to me, they might not make it because I need to breathe.
Not all fruits are equal.
Nonetheless, they are all connected to this beautiful tree.
If you take almost any two colors, or three, and mix them together- you will get brown. The external bark depends on its origin- sometimes it is almost gray- the mix of purple and green makes gray.
Sometimes it is red and green- brownie.
Sometimes it is blue and orange- another brownie.
And sometimes it is a mix of hard to detect colors. But you can know them by the fruit. Isn’t it amazing?
What makes one fruit different from the other? Pure luck? Maybe.
I am like a tree not like fruit. I can’t see myself in the belly of a chipmunk- but I can see some of my dreams and work digested in a recycling belly of something.
Dreams are just dreams and the best way to have them is without any attachment. It takes memory. Who am I in this mortal combat world?
Have you ever gone into a tree with your mind? It is interesting. I was scared at first, and maybe because the first tree had an attitude. But it appeared in front of me, and I went right in. A few seconds in and I was fighting my way out of this vortex before it will swallow me.
The next time I saw a tree I didn’t go in because I remembered the first one all too well. The third time, I decided to try again, and this time I let myself fall into it. To feel whatever and however it is I am supposed to feel, take it like it is. If I die, suffocate, oh well, I have done it before. To my surprise, it was a sweat gate to another realm- a garden. It just wasn’t from the place I am used to… a different direction.
But usually, I am not a tree.