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A Gift from the Forest



It was a beautiful morning and I had been collecting my thought about an upcoming ceremony, I would be leaving for the World Peace and Prayer Day ceremonies in Costa Rica in a few days and we were conducting ceremonies here today to consolidate the thoughts and prayers of our community. Rosemary had been walking near the pond, visiting the spring that provides the water for the pond. The grandmother tree that lives over and encircles the spring dropped a small piece of branch down next to her and it startled Rosemary. The day was still and Rosemary wondered why the branch had fallen at her feet, she approached the old tree and asked it if it had something to say to her, and it replied, “ Tell him I need to talk to him.” You mean Bill, Rosemary asked and the tree answered, “Yes”. Rosemary came home a few minutes later and related to me all that had happened.
I decided to walk down immediately and upon reaching the tree sat with my back against it and asked it what it wanted or needed. It spoke up and asked me if I remembered the area that I had visited with some friends a few days ago. I told her I remembered and she then added,” You didn’t go back far enough, you need to go back further, there is something I would like you to see.”
I walked back up to the house and told Rosemary and another friend what the tree had said and added that I was going to go back where the tree had suggested. I put on my hiking boots and took some tobacco for offerings and my drum, I asked if anyone else wanted to come and was joined by two others.
The trip back into the woods was wonderful and it lead us into an area I had avoided because they had logged it a few years back and it was very painful to me because I had hiked and skied this are for many years. We entered the cut over area and it seemed so empty and open with just a scattering of trees here and there. BUT- I had to say it felt alive and the grasses were high and the berries flourished, and right in front of us in the middle of a skidder trail was a beautiful wild rose bush in full bloom. I prayed and asked if this is what I was meant to see, the new life arising from the death of the old, but was told no,- to go further!!
I continued on , asking as I went for guidance and finally, reached a cliff that dropped down about 100-150 feet and was told I was there. I walked all around searching for what might be the purpose of this visit. Suddenly I began to hear this crying, it sounded like a baby crying and I thought it might be a bird but it seemed to be so loud and I continued to search but now focusing on finding the source of the noise. I walked toward a clump of bushes and tree-tops surrounding an old spruce, when suddenly a baby bear climbed up the spruce to eye level and began to cry to me. He was about 20 feet away and absolutely beautiful, his brown mask on black head about the size of a beagle, maybe 15-20 pounds. I watched in awe and amazement, wondering if its mother was still alive. I prayed and asked about the mother and was told that the mother was nearby but wouldn't bother us if we approached no closer. We watched for a few minutes longer and then we backed away , knowing it would make the mother more comfortable. We had seen what the tree had wanted us to see, taking back to the sacred circle the bear medicine, for the pipe that was used for prayer in this circle was a bear pipe, it had been consecrated on the spring equinox but had not yet been used in the circle. Now it was right!
I didn’t really need another affirmation, but as we come out of the woods, circling over the ceremonial circle was an eagle ( a very unusual sight here in Vermont), it circled one more time and then headed west and north over the mountain behind our house. I knew then that the ceremonies would be powerful and healing for our community and for the Abenaki nation. That the trip to Costa Rica would be blessed and that this was only one step along the road to Peace between the people, unity among the people and peace and unity between the Nations. This was the vision of Grandmother and she was smiling from the other side.