Thursday, November 27, 2008

The Falling Star
(I am Fallen)

by Tracy Oakwood Lannie as a child

Softly and silently,
I shall leave violently.
Thrashing and crashing,
Until at last I lie still.

Brilliant and bright,
It shall be quite a sight.
I am no longer seen.

And, now I am absent.
Your smile is now present.
You've experienced my great wonder;
You now love me fonder
Even though I have fallen from up yonder.

Tuesday, August 23, 2005


On Friday, a scouting party of 14 slipped into the waters at Bryant's Upper Landing, in the swelter of the setting sun to head towards a landing platform at Dead Lake Island. Some shirts and other accouterments were shed, as we followed an ancient trail through steamy vapors towards a new destination for many of us.
We passed by dwellings that now stood proudly, raised up toward the sky where only months before they were almost kissing the high water marks from huge tropical storms and hurricanes. All was peaceful now, including the hoot of an old owl, watching in silence as seeming darts with upright figures passed in the tropical heat.

I glided in silence, as I was awed by the presence of many newcomers and the beauty of the evening, as it quickly approached and the awaiting of the full moon, to see what lunacy would be in store for this crew. The mixture was quite pleasant, as new faces merged with salty old dogs, to transfer new tales and adventures along the way and then once more we reached our destination. There was great food and wonderful conversation and an appreciation for the craftsmanship of the platform we chose to inhabit for that short period. Tables were quickly erected and talk of portable fans left behind were replaced by sightings of slivers of gold and silver, as the moon thread its way upward through the trees.

Once it appeared, there was an anxiousness to join it on the shimmering water and follow its path homeward to our put-in and more gliding along quiet still waters. Several of us took the moon's lead and slid quietly now into our darts and away into the night with no need for man-made light, as this beacon knew the way home and was smiling with it's many dimpled and cratered face, as it gladly led us as well as made its ritual chase of its lover....the sun.

I was awed and pleased as to the lack of opposing current and cooler temperature, as we did not need to suffer the oppressive furnace that we met on our way to the platforms. In what seemed like mere moments accompanied by wonderful conversation, we reached our vehicles and helped each other load up, and thanked Bob once more for a great paddle and the chance once more to commune.

Ian Gary Worob....canoeman

Thursday, June 16, 2005

In Honor of Larry McDuff

These beautifully insightful and inspiring words were graciously forwarded by Tom Meyer

Fire in the Web

There is a story that is written on and in the earth.
There are tracks of continents and rivers, of winds and beetles.
This story cannot be read from beginning to end, it is not written that way.
For the tracks weave a web, ......endlessly woven.
Each path in the web is at once chapter and verse and phrase.
In each of our stories is the story of all of us.

Find a patch of ground.
You will see crystal grains, born of the fire of creation,
ashes of stars congealed to the flesh of the earth.
You will see the dust of trees and grass,
shards of living pottery fired in the kiln of the sun.
Perhaps you will find the tracks of a beetle, a mouse,
where one fed, the other hunted.
And standing there, you will leave your track.
And later, if another comes, they would be able to see
that star and earth,
sun and grass and tree,
beetle and mouse, and you
were here at different times, standing in the hand of the creator.
And though they are no longer right here,
their tracks are a strand in the web.
At the far end of that strand their being still moves.
Their tracks lie together like a web endlessly woven,
and yours and mine are no greater or less than the beetle or the mouse
All are held together in a universe as one piece.

We make our journey in the company of others.
The deer, the rabbit, the bison, and the quail walk before us,
and the lion, the eagle, the wolf, the vulture and the hyena walk behind us.
All our paths lie together in the hand of the creator
and none is wider than any other or favored above any other.
The worm that creeps beneath your foot
is making its journey across the hand of the creator as surely as you are.
Remember that your tracks are but one strand in a web
woven endlessly in the hand of the creator.
They are tied to those of the mouse in the field,
the eagle on the mountain,
the crab in its hold,
the lizard beneath its rock.
The leaf that falls to the ground a hundred miles away touches your life.
The impress of your foot in the soil is felt through a thousand generations.

Close your eyes and imagine.
Imagine a grassy meadow.
The wind is stirring the grass, rippling it into waves like the sea.
Its important to realize that this isn’t grass.
This is deer and bison and sheep and cicadas and moles and rabbits.
Reach down and grab a handful.
Go least mentally.
Have you got some?
That’s a mouse.
And the mouse, the ox, the gazelle, the goat, and the beetle
all burn with the fire of grass.
Grass is their father and their mother
and their young are grass.

One thing: grass and grasshopper.
One thing: grasshopper and sparrow.
One thing: sparrow and fox.
One thing: fox and vulture.
One thing..................and its name is fire,
burning today as a stalk in the field,
tomorrow as a rabbit in its burrow,
the next day as a young girl on the edge of the meadow.
The vulture is fox;
the fox, grasshopper;
the grasshopper, rabbit;
the rabbit, girl;
the girl, grass.
All together, we’re the life of this place,
indistinguishable from one another,
intermingling in the flow of fire,
and the fire is the creator.

To each of us is given its moment in the blaze,
it's spark to be surrendered to another when it is sent,
so that the blaze may go on.
None may deny its spark to the general blaze and live forever
........not any at all.
Each........each!...... is sent to another someday.
You, and I too, are sent, we are on our way.
To the wolf or the cougar or the vulture or the grasses I am sent.
I am sent and I thank you all,
........grasses in all your forms in all your forms
.....sparrows and rabbits and mosquitoes
and butterflies and salmon and rattlesnakes.
I thank you all for sharing yourselves with me for this time.
I am bringing it all back,
every last atom, paid in full
..........and I appreciate the loan.

Our death will be the life of another
.....I swear that to you.
And, if another comes and watches, they will find us,
because we'll be standing again in these grasses.
And, they’ll see us looking through the eyes of the fox,
taking the air with the eagle,
running in the track of the deer;
a fire burning in the web.

Hetch etu aloh
Mitakuye Oyasin

…………Medicine Wolf

With thanks to Daniel Quinn for the loan of some of his words

Tuesday, April 12, 2005

Parallel Lives
by Mike Pedde 04/09/1997
submitted by Tom Meyer

Today I stand and become a tree, my roots stretching deep into the rocky soil and clinging
I am a heron, fishing in the small pond. Balance, poise and grace are mine here, though
tightly, lest the wind usurp me from my perch upon the ground. I lift my fingers to the sky,
less in flight. I have earned a watchful eye, and unparalleled speed when necessary. Today
and feel the tickle of my leaves being blown to and fro. Gently the wind rocks me into silence
I will enter once again the domain of the minnows, frogs and snakes, who share my home,
and I drift closer to sleep. Sensing this, a gust attempts to blow me over, but my roots hold
and we will continue our dance of life. Maybe someday they will gnaw on my bones. Slowly,
fast. Slowly, I turn my face to the sun, and follow it as it traces its path across the sky. I
ever so slowly, I walk among the lily pads and mosses with my head held high and my neck
stand, tall and motionless for eons, as the seasons unfold their play before me. From time to
outstretched. A shadow, a slippery form beneath my gaze, and I crouch, then strike.
time the wind plucks my leaves from me and assembles them intricately, in a mosaic pattern
Shaking the water from my beak I swallow, taking care to ensure that the spines of my
on the earth at my feet. In winter the wind's gentleness turns harsh, and the snow bolts down
captive do not lodge in my gullet. Over and over, the cycle repeats itself. A human stops
and clings tightly to my skin. In time though, spring returns and I can feel the deep stirring
too near and I freeze - a blue/ gray statue hidden in the water. Perhaps they won't see me,
once again within my bones. New growth wriggles inside me and then rushes forth in its
but she is already pointing me out to others, and babbling as humans do. Please, not so
struggle to be born. Home again, the birds return to alight in my branches and sing their
close; humans make me nervous. I stop to stare at her; uncertain as to the danger she poses.
journey songs of where they have been, the adventures they have shared in my absence.
But she turns and leaves, her curiosity satisfied for now, and I continue my hunt for minnows
Now I sit, and become a stump, my journey near completion. No longer have I branches to
in the pond. Slowly the sun begins its inextricable journey toward the horizon, and I stretch
reach to the heavens, no longer leaves to dance with the spring breezes. Their time is now
my wings twice before lifting from the water. The pond is not safe at night. Rather, I
done, and mine soon to follow. I look over and watch a part of myself, long since fallen,
journey from the pond to a stand of willow and aspen. Night starts to set, and the songs of
being reclaimed by that from which it sprang. I feel the ants and termites bury into my flesh,
the days change their tune, becoming a symphony of crickets, mice and owls. I have a
and slowly I am renewed - taking new form from that which I have been. Now I am
favorite evening roost; a place to collect the thoughts of the day and plan for tomorrow.
complete; now I can say good-bye, and dream the journey songs of the birds. . . .
Plucking a quill for pen; I use my own blood for ink. Perhaps I will write of trees. . . .

Saturday, March 12, 2005

The First Canoe!

In Search of Truths: A Compelling Story of Creativity
by Gary Worob

Many years ago, when most of you were only distant thoughts in your parent’s minds, I set out to find what lay beyond the next mountain. I was young, full of piss and vinegar and anxious to conquer the world. It had only been a short while, while most of my tribe had settled in the East (yes I am a transplanted Yankee), I was bound by great genes to explore what the bountiful had to offer.

I set out on foot and passed many villages and learned of many new things. I learned how to make my own bow and arrow, and how to read the many wild prints of great numbers of wild beasts, that would soon provide me food and clothing and much sport. I never took anything I could not eat and often shared with those I met along the way. I soon learned great skills and found I lacked any desire for civilization, I saw as totally unnecessary. I believed whole heartedly that Adam and Eve were blessed, and I was equally, even though I had not found Eve, as of yet.

I soon came to a great river, that afforded me no means of sallying forth. Though I spent many days and nights looking for a means of reaching the great beyond that eagerly awaited my coming, I could not afford passage over these great waters. I later, in my recount, named this water “the Mighty Miss-ing-it-what a pity,” and in slurred translation, it became what is now known as the Mississippi. The translation, as you can see, being easily deduced.

What I did find in those haggard days, was a great abundance of the white shredding tree. My first encounter with that sweet smelling (spring and the juices were flowing) strange-barked tree, was one that had been struck by lightning in front of my eyes. As the sweet fluids poured forth and splashed my face, I automatically drank and reveled in the awesome wonder of that nectar. While leaning against the tree, I happened to lean against a swatch of torn bark. It rolled right off the tree, revealing a smooth-barked wonder, I had never encountered before. In awe, I played with the bark, soon discovering I could peel it into many layers and each would produce a unique quality. One of my many new discoveries was an inner layer could be peeled, shredded and boiled in the juices. I covered it with a unique sauce, discovered among one of the East Coast tribes, called the “Italian.” I was soon quaffing heaping portions of this wondrous feast, which I immediately called “spaghetti”, on account of it's nature to spiral into a ball and expand into a delightful morsel. I originally called it spiraling ghetto, because of its nature to congeal into one big mess; but later I abbreviated it to spaghetti (you can see the logic).

Another great thing I learned, was the boilings or residue quickly fermented and I, shortly thereafter, being very thirsty, quaffed an enormous amount with astounding results. Anyone who saw me would have thought I was totally possessed by demons, as I remember vaguely doing some strange contortions and screaming into the night. I called this product by-your-ear, because everything I was proclaiming would have gone right by your ear with no glitter of comprehension possible. This later was shortened into what we now call “beer”, which still causes many strange convulsions and hallucinations, among those who partake in its properties.

Well, as I lay exhausted and still unable to come up with a solution, I noticed the sheet of birch bark I had inadvertantly removed from the tree, lay beside me now, in a curled up form that resembled a small craft. Immediately, I jumped for joy and began crafting a means to make that vision, or hallucination, possible.

I gathered torn up roots and stripped them into long strands that became the weavings. I boiled different products of the woods until I came up with a very strong and pliable product, which I called “god awful fooled with enough goo”. This later was reduced to what we now call glue.

For days, I ate my wonderful Italian pasta and sewed and glued. Then I stood back and realized the fruition of my dreams; a vessel so light and strong, I was instantly convinced, it would be able to transport me safely, not only across these great waters, but any waters I would happen upon.

What was apparent after my first trial run, was my arms, as strong as I was, were not sufficient to move this worthy craft. At the same time, I saw a beaver making off with my leavings from the birch, and saw the amazing agility it had, to maneuver easily through the waters. I thought, “How could I use this knowledge to my advantage?” I quickly discovered, I could make a rudimentary instrument, which I called “pass deftly through the waters”. It later became known as the “paddle.”

I was soon crossing the great waters on my journeys, and found great expanses of country, not previously seen by white man or woman. I named this area the “wild, wild west;” and it is now known by a less powerful name and much less wild.

So, there you have some more about my life, and how I created the “canoe.” It is still the reason I paddle a canoe versus a kayak. But, there is more to that story, as later on, I travelled to the far reaches of the north. This is where I showed the people, the miracle of water transportation, which they modified into something similar, but necessarily more confining and covered.