The Living Forest
29th NATJA Gold Award in Cultural Travel
We know our forests are special places. But for the Native Americans who have lived among them for centuries, they are more than that. Trees are family members that give, heal, provide, protect, and nurture. Trees are sacred. Listen to the trees.
Years ago, my family hiked into the Navajo Nation forest with a medicine man in search of a tree that could act as an intermediary to the Creator. It had to be sturdy enough to match our prayers for positive growth and young enough to have time to mature so its protection could last a lifetime. The medicine man selected a young Douglas fir that had no blemishes, bends, or twists. It was perfect.
We offered the little fir gifts that signified our gratitude. My husband and son placed turquoise while my daughter and I laid a white shell near its trunk. We sprinkled corn pollen on its needles to honor our lives as part of nature.