Friday, October 21, 2011

The Girl in the Trees

I've been thinking ever more about how much I need the forest. Contrary to popular Christian ideology (and that of my father and my father's father and my friend's father and my sister's father...), I do not believe that human beings are somehow outside of nature. I'm another animal, another strand of this great web. I did not create the web, I do not control the web, I am simply a part of it. My part is no greater and no more important than any other part.

All of my beliefs started with the Disney movies of my childhood:

The Lion King and Pocahontas taught me my place in the world and how to love nature and be apart of nature.

Beauty and the Beast taught me about selfless love that sees past appearances.

I don't want to sound childish but it's totally true.

"The rainstorm and the river are my brothers, the heron and the otter are my friends, and we are all connected to eachother in a circle, in a hoop that never ends."

"I know every rock and tree and creature has a life, has a spirit, has a name."

When the lion dies he becomes the grass and the antelope eats the grass. And the lion eats the antelope. It's the circle of life.

And that is what I believe in.

My family used to go camping twice a year, once in early Summer and once in late Summer. We don't anymore. This past Summer I camped once with a friend and it just didn't feel like the kind of camping I love. I guess my kind of "camping" is just a way to pretend for a time that I live in the woods. I feel like I should live in the woods. I forage, go for early morning walks, look for pretty stones in the creek for hours, braid flowers into my hair... just sit alone in the woods. I love the forest. I love bears. I love deer. I love trees. I love how I can hear the spirits when I'm out there. I especially love the wolves. Since I was a little girl, the wolf has been my spirit guide. I dream about them. Sometimes they're communicating with me, sometimes I'm playing with their cubs, sometimes I'm being attacked, torn apart. But I've never been any less in love with them, no matter what the dream. I'm not saying I wouldn't protect myself or my family if the need arose, but I will never demonize the wolves. They will never, EVER, be any less beautiful in my eyes. The wolves taught my ancestors to live and hunt in packs. Without them, my people would not know what animals were good to hunt. Wolves are important.

They're important TO ME.

I feel that as an animal and especially as an artist I'm sensitive to my instincts. My instincts tell me to run to the woods. Go to the mountains. I have romanticized mountains hopelessly. I wouldn't call myself a "country girl" or "western" because I'm not a cowgirl type or anything, but I am a mountain girl and I've always been in the west. The west is my home. I want to travel. So, so much. But the west, with it's frontier personality and gold rush history (my home town is Placerville, where they hung bad guys during the California Gold Rush)... that's a part of me. I would love to live in the mountains near the ocean with a simple little house and (just to satisfy my romanticized need for fantastic attachment to my native roots!) a teepee to camp in. I would live with a mountian man with a logger beard, artistic tendencies, and a deep appreciation for the nature of our native west, and make beautiful little forest babies with him. We'd both have doctorates in anthropology, unschool our children with all our vast knowledge, and take them on our travels to archeological digs in foreign lands. And I'd teach them the art of dreamcatcher weaving, because I am a dork, and I want to pass on some kind of knowledge to them. My dreams!

What are your dreams? I've been shaped by Disney movies, what have you been shaped by?



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