Vela Giri lives close to the ground and to the holy. He is an Arkansas farmer, a springtime river runner, a Vietnam veteran, a pourer of sweat lodges, a yoga teacher, the father of the bride, and a spiritual elder in the Minnesota Men’s Conference community. Here he writes about celebrating gratitude amidst the startling beauty and generosity of nature. – mg
My Native Ways Teach Me To Dream
It was a drought year. Not much of green outside my greenhouse, so the animals became problematic. The screen on the door was torn and repaired and torn again. The deer seemed to be poking their heads in for a bite. Armadillos burrowed under the sides, wreaking havoc on my plants. As I reached for the door one morning a large doe came sailing through the small window where the screen had been. It passed but a foot from me, its front legs fully extended and its rear legs as well. It was like Cirque du Soleil. Such grace and mastery of control. Like I had it trained to fly through a hoop. I was in awe.
This year I had a yearning for some venison to make some sausage with a new meat grinder I bought. My native ways teach me to dream before the hunt but I was not up to the whole ritual of all that. However some sausage would be nice. It had rained for days but of course the greenhouse was dry. I had left the door ajar as I had little produce left late in the fall. I needed to harvest the last of my peppers, as they had finally gotten red. As I began to pull the door open a three-year-old, five-point buck tried what the doe had done. His front legs made it but he got only half way before becoming entangled in the screen. A rear leg thrashed a foot away from me. Quite naturally I took hold of one hoof and then the other. I worked the legs through the door opening to get him fully out. He looked at me with a form of resignation. I therefore twisted the legs to turn him on his back so he could not engage his forelegs. Then it was not difficult to drag him about one hundred feet into my open shed. I had sharp machete on the bench. There was a rope hanging from the rafters. I held the two ankles with one hand while fixing a slip knot with my teeth and the other hand which I fastened around the ankles. This was a bit tricky but I managed. I was then able to let the rope hold him up. He still looked at me with resignation as I brought the machete down forcefully across his throat. His eyes looked into mine as he bled out. I thanked him for his life. I will now make sausage to share with you next fall.
In the very earliest time,
when both people and animals lived on earth,
a person could become an animal if he wanted to
and an animal could become a human being.
Sometimes they were people
and sometimes animals
and there was no difference.
All spoke the same language.
That was the time when words were like magic.
The human mind had mysterious powers.
A word spoken by chance
might have strange consequences.
It would suddenly come alive
and what people wanted to happen could happen—
all you had to do was say it.
Nobody can explain this:
That’s the way it was.
The Cave Art Paintings of the Chauvet Cave
Prehistoric Europe – The Birthplace of Art
Cave of Forgotten Dreams