Monday, October 18, 2021

Salmon Are Forest Animals


Ha-Shilth-Sa News photo

"Salmon are forest animals,"
the Tla-o-qui-aht woman said.
"Wolves and bears eat them,
and their scat, dropped in the forest,
feeds nitrogen to the ancient trees."


She told us that there was a time,
long ago, when the humans
of her tribe were starving.
"The lowly skunk cabbage,
bitter-tasting, offered itself to be eaten,
so the People could live."

Everything is One,
the medicine man said,
as the children swirled in wolfskin,
wearing masks of eagle and bear,
weaving and circling
to the sound of the drum.

My heart rose up in response,
with love for all beings,
each living creature,
grateful for the miracle
of how we all
help each other live,
how Everything is One.

for Brendan at earthweal where we are contemplating Biodiversity. Tofino is a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve, so I  live in an area where we are very aware of how everything in the environment impacts every other. Also, the Nuu chah nulth people of this land share stories of their teachings, how everything is connected, so what happens to one, happens to us all. The elders are telling us big (and severe) changes are coming which will impact us greatly. They don't say much, but their eyes are worried.


  1. Such an important lesson - we are one! The warning from the Nuu chah nulth elders is chilling. I wish more would heed their warning. There's not much consolation in being able to say 'I told you so' once it's too late.

  2. Oh - everything is one. We need to pay attention to the ancient wisdom!

  3. The Convention on Biodiversity's recently updated report stresses the importance of learning from indigenous communities for whom spirituality is biodiversity, reverence for the All in One. Your poem helps us clearly and deeply see what that means.

  4. Sorry to be so negative but the elders and a lot of poets can see dark clouds
    on the horizon ... only a miracle will change the outcome!!

  5. I think Mother Earth will teach us through accelerating crises, how far we have erred. Whoever survives will have to find better ways to live on earth. This will not be easy in a deteriorating climate.

  6. "Their eyes are worried... " Am not sure enough will be done and surely we are running out of time.. It is worrying indeed.

  7. We ignore those words at our peril every day.

  8. Beautiful and thought-provoking. Certain lowly plants could indeed be useful. People are too concerned with status regardless of the consequences.

  9. A beautiful reminder. Everything is one.

  10. This poem is sheer truth. We are one. Our perceived divisions destroy us.


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