Wednesday, April 08, 2009


The story of my relationship to this tiny plant deepens and grows.

Last Saturday, Rhonda and I visited a cultural site in Spokane to check on all the traditional roots and flowers as they begin to sprout. We did this in preparation for the young people from the Ecuador Youth Leadership Exchange who planned to visit the following day. After a long, hard winter, we mostly wanted to see what plants would have grown enough to show the youth.

When we arrived, we stepped onto a small patch of green grass where hundreds of buttercups stood in full bloom. I can hardly explain my reaction; a wave of emotion welled up within me and almost spilled out through my tears. Was the winter really that difficult for me? Had my seasonal affective disorder taken that much of a toll? A spontaneous song burst out from my body, colored with gratitude for the persistence of life, even through my darkness and occasional depression.

The following day, I returned with ten amazing students from Ecuador, two adult leaders, Valentina, and Colleen.

We spoke about the cultural and ecological history of that place, and managed to identify a handful of indigenous plants in the area. At the end, we returned to the same patch of green grass and buttercups. We stood in a circle, stopped the video cameras, and gathered our spiritual energies into one common purpose. We sang the songs I inherited from my father and grandfather. It was a beautiful moment.

A day later, the youth initiated a spontaneous talking circle regarding their experience so far. Most of them mentioned the songs and many of them said the songs created a pivotal moment in the program. One of the youth stated that he had one experience the week before, but the songs opened an entirely different dimension, almost as though the two experiences were different.

I stand in awe of the power of the plants, the spirits, and the ancestors. Who would think such a tiny, seemingly insignificant plant could affect people so deeply? Who would think it could reach across two continents and make brothers of people from such different worlds? This little flower continues to connect the many paths of my life with the invisible cords of spirit.

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