Discover more from Songs of Forgiveness
July 25/First Quarter Moon
Work in Progress/A Practice of Staying Connected
Where’s Tina? At the time of this post I will be camping in North Cascades National Park and I am fully expecting not to be connected to the internet and grid. I have been scheduling these letters to post in advance, despite their unfinished form. It will be sent, ready or not.
The first arc of the lunation, of which today we mark the halfway point, is for working towards intentions, and mine is to stay connected despite the threads being pulled thin by time and distance and distractions (and lack of infrastructure). So witness the practice of this below.
We traveled to the Big Horns with good friends. One day the group of us hiked altogether into the Cloud Peak Wilderness and it brought us a lot of moose viewing. Five moose in one hike to be exact. Our hike had been an out and back to a lake with various streams to cross. We encountered our first pair of moose on the way up at a stream at about the halfway point. Two males with their distinctive antlers hanging out downstream in a meadow together. They eyed us while chomping on the vegetation. Upon our return it seemed as if there were moose around every corner. After which there arose in our party a great desire to see elk, but they never materialized during our time together.
Until, outside the municipal pool in Pullman, Washington, I picked from my Medicine Cards and got the Elk card. And then after that, while driving through the fields of soft white wheat, we saw two elk with their large racks of horns making their way east, while we drove past heading west. I know it was “soft white wheat” as we had passed a sign that had proclaimed it as such just miles before. Our camp this night was located on a road called Elk Heights.
The two male elk we passed walked, side by side, through the fields, heads held high, large racks of antlers leading, neither fast nor slow, with determination and intention as if illustrating Elk Medicine. But that is the way with animal medicine, you can learn the medicine by observing the animal.
Elk medicine is for stamina and they “honor the company of their own gender.” According to the Medicine Cards, pacing yourself will build your stamina for the long haul. Elk is for going the distance, communing with your sisters with their “like experiences” in order to “realign ourselves with the stamina of the warrioress.” That is what I am doing as I write this.
I find that with travel, building your stamina involves simple discipline, taking the time put things back in their place so you can find them again, taking care of yourself physically with movement, showers, laundry. Making all those things part of the activity of the travel itself.
And then sometimes you pause, the family shrine at the end of the pilgrimage. I am here with my sisters and family revitalizing my energy now, for the long haul, for when you get this, and I am back on the road and then life beyond.
This is my unfinished missive to you. Thanks for being at the other end of it. May Elk medicine be with you.