The Indigenous peoples of North, Central, and South America, as well as “Earth-Based” societies around the world, share the notion of our planet being a living organism and a Sacred Being; Mother Earth. She is the perfect balance to a male, Sky-Based, God. In fact, there are references to “Father Sky, Mother Earth” among certain First Nations.
When I was very young, probably five or six years of age, many of the old covered bridges in New Brunswick were demolished after newer, more modern structures put in to replace them. Often, the new bridges were placed geographically higher if possible to avoid being damaged or washed out during spring floods. One such bridge was McLaggan bridge, about four miles from my home. I didn't give it much thought throughout the years. Occasionally, as I was crossing it by car, I'd glance over to the place where the old bridge had been, but there was never any desire to explore thee area.
In the early part of this century, I purchased a digital camera and while home visiting, I stopped at a place near one end of the new bridge where it is mostly rock and pavement. In the nearly sixty years since the old bridge was removed, there really hasn't been a lot of growth and there is room to park a car and get out. I decided to stop and get some pictures of the river. It was the first time in over forty years I had stood on that spot.
The last time I was home, a couple of weeks ago, I felt compelled to go there again. This time, there was a cool breeze blowing down the valley, and as I stood there shivering, I looked down at the ground. I had expected to see garbage, the usual cast-offs from weekend under-age drinking or teen-aged couples seeking some alone time. There were a couple of food wrappers yes, but aside from that, it seemed it had been pretty much vacant for some time. There were some Pine cones, and a few bits of trees; the ends of limbs probably snapped off in high winds, and some moss growing on the rocky surface, but not much evidence of human visitation.
As that image returned to my mind this evening, I began to feel sad for this rocky ledge, high above the river below. I saw it as a place where once life had thrived and humans were common. Now, it seems lonely and alone. Suddenly, this place which had held no meaning for me, which I had also ignored for many years, became special and, dare I say, SACRED to me. I can understand the first inhabitants of this region, saying there were some places where “Good Medicine” happened. Places such as this have “Power,” and provide opportunity to build a Sacred Fire to offer Ceremonies to honour the Spirits of the Ancestors, and to Mother Earth Herself.
You can be certain I will visit this spot with each successive visit I make to my homeland; the land of my birth.