Spring, Song, Gratitude

TrilliumSpring has arrived and the world is green again. The sun has moved brightly to the north, and days and nights are warmer, some almost balmy.  The garden seeds are sprouting and many of the perennials are flourishing, some in bloom. There are finally fresh greens and flowers at the farmers’ market. Sadly, our favorite baker has closed, at least for this year.

This is a good time to be grateful. Without spring and summer we would have no food; the Earth is generous with us, even as we harm her. It is good to pray with gratitude to the Creator and the Earth, to drum and sing. It is good to place food and flowers on the altar in recognition of the spirits and Ancestors, to remember and acknowledge the generosity of all of those who make our lives possible.

I am asked, “How are we to be grateful when the world is suffering?” After all, the spring has brought anguishing news about climate change and other environmental concerns, and major attacks on Indigenous civil rights in Canada and Australia. The spring has witnessed intensified pollution and desecration of Native lands in the U.S., brought new allegations of governmental indifference to the violent deaths of First Nations women in Canada, and seen the abduction of some 300 young women in Nigeria.

I believe gratitude, at such times as this, is an act of generosity and resistance. Very much as thankfulness provided a fulcrum for action in the freedom movements of India and Afri0-America, acknowledging our love for, and debt to, the Earth and the spirit beings allows us common ground, and challenges the core beliefs of consumer driven colonialism. Gratitude offers the possibility of a broad coalition of concerned people: persons who understand the fate of Indigenous people, women, and the Earth are interrelated, and who care passionately about freedom rooted in responsibility and gratitude.

This spring, let us offer tobacco, drum, sing, and raise prayers of gratitude. May we join hands and voices to express our shared thankfulness and concern, and clearly and passionately on behalf of all who are in peril.



11 thoughts on “Spring, Song, Gratitude

  1. I think it was Brother David who said that if the only prayer we say is “Thank you!” that is enough. A lovely, touching and meaning sprink post. Thank you, Michael.

  2. As I offered tobacco & burned sage at my outdoor altar this morning I was delighted to be joined by the beautiful female red-tailed hawk who lives in the area and see that the chipmunks had survived the long winter. This afternoon I sang as I planted my veggies shaking off the remnants of the long winter in the warm sunshine 🙂

  3. I have been spending time in the garden, planting, tending, and already I am harvesting rhubarb and asparagus and basil. It’s true that along with the humming of the bees and the birdsong I hear lawn mowers and airplanes. The unnatural world intrudes, and I know that it is there. But when I am working outside I also remember to be thankful for green things and earth worms and the scent of mint and tomato leaves when I brush up against them, and the little junco who built her nest in our hanging basket. I welcome the respite from all the sadness out there in the world. I know we can’t nor should we insulate ourselves from the larger world and its troubles, because we are a part of all that too. But it is important to hear the neighborhood children playing pretend or getting called in to dinner, so that we remember what we have at stake.
    Thank you for another thoughtful post, Michael.

    1. Naomi, We have guests from India staying at our home this week. It is delightful. Everyone’s been outside with the neighborhood. Much socializing and gardening. Yes, so much at stake!

  4. We recently had our Federal Budget handed down. Lots of cuts to Indigenous programmes. These programmes are now having a beautiful roll-on effect after taking about four years to get established and a good name in the community – health, welfare, education. One of my Aboriginal co-workers said she feels like things have gone back to the mission days. She said that she feels like she should ask for permission to go out the front door. it was a very white, male, and Christian budget.

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