Animal Wisdom - March 2018

From Sacred Fire, 1998, by Nancy Wood


At first, the wild creatures were too busy

to explore their natural curiosity until

Turtle crawled up on land. He said:

What's missing is the ability

to find contentment in a slow-paced life.


As the oceans receded, fish sprouted whiskers.

Certain animals grew four legs and were able

to roam from shore to shore. Bear stood

upright and looked around. He said:

What's missing is devotion

to place, to give meaning to passing time.


Mountains grew from fiery heat, while

above them soared birds, the greatest

of which was Eagle, to whom penetrating

vision was given. He said: What's missing

is laughter so that arguments

can be resolved without rancor.


After darkness and light settled their


and the creatures paired up,

people appeared in all the corners of


the world. They said: What's missing

is perception. They began to notice

the beauty hidden

in an ordinary stone,

the short lives of snowflakes,

the perfection of bird wings, and


the way a butterfly speaks

through its fragility. When they realized

they had something in common with animals,

people began saying the same things.

They defended the Earth together,

though it was the animals who insisted

on keeping their own names.


Connections - November 2015

From Sacred Fire, 1998, by Nancy Wood


I am all things, connected to all time and all places.

I am the undernourished bones of aged men.

I am the new blood of unborn babies.

I am a virgin searching for a lover.

I am a seed, waiting to become corn. I am ancient Fire,

cleansing the ravaged Earth. I am Ice, begging for

replenishment. I am all things, connected to

all animals and birds. See me running with buffalo?

See me soaring with eagles? What they are, I am.

Where they go, I have been before.

When they die, a part of me dies also.

When they are born, my life begins anew.

Out of stone-cold earth, I have become a flame.



Strengthen the Things That Remain - August 2015


From Sacred Fire, 1998, by Nancy Wood


Rainbows still live in the sky and green grass

is growing everywhere. Clouds have familiar shapes

and sunsets have not changed color in a long time. Thunder

still follows lightning and spring comes after winter's misery.


A tree is still a tree and a rock is still a rock. A warbler

sings its familiar song and coyotes howl

in disconcerting harmony. Grasshoppers still hop


to their own music,

bees still buzz with excitement, and squirrels

still jump like acrobats. Mountains still contain mystery

and oceans surge with eternity. Bears still sleep in winter


and eagles fly higher than other birds. Snakes have an affinity

for the ground, while fish

are content in water. Patterns persist,

life goes on, whatever rises will converge.


Do what you will, but strengthen the things that remain.

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