Found an Apache standing at the edge of a pool of water, dense forest behind him. And I thought about how he lived within the earth rather than against or apart from it.
He squatted down and ran his fingers through the water, and they became the water. I could see that he was well grounded, that his feet were strongly rooted. He was as connected and in tune with his environment as were the rocks he was standing on, the trees behind him, and the wild life that lived in them.
"All my relations" to him means all the life abounding around him, nothing between - raw and real.
"All my relations" to me is a nebulous idea, a virtual reality, a concept and a thought. Intellectual in nature - not truly experienced at a gut level.
I thought about how DISconnected I am - my feet don't touch the ground, they touch the floor, which doesn't touch the ground.
The temperature is modified with air conditioning in the summer and heat in the winter. My food comes in boxes and cans, so distant from the earth it grew in that it is almost unrecognizable, and no aspect of soil remains.
How then can I be "one" with the Earth Mother when I hold my comfort higher than our relationship?
I wouldn't last two weeks in his world, I don't think - not really. The mind is willing, the heart is there, but the body is weak with dis-use and indolence, separated by a culture and an era that speaks to our laziness and our fear.
He could live in my world - I think - and even be "corrupted" by it. Water always takes the path of least resistance, as does the wind, even earth itself, when put into motion, takes the easiest route.
So this pulls me around full circle - Is it our nature to do what is easy... what is most comfortable? Is that true?
Is it true that when I dip my hand in bath water that my hand becomes the water? Are my feet as firmly rooted in carpet and concrete as they could be in soil? Can I find an attunement and a oneness even if I am surrounded by walls, plugged into a virtual world, and eating unrecognizable food? Or do I need to step down and out - do I need to go against the flow and eliminate the "middle man."
I don't know.
I asked him what he thought, and he said, "I am sorry for you."