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Lessons from the Wind

During our stay at Bishop, at the beginning of the course, we learned from Thomas, Kin-sin-ta, and Nah-tes, who are from the sacred valley of Payahuunadu. They taught us how to learn and grow from Mother Nature. After almost 8 weeks visiting countless places, I have felt her presence most strongly through the winds I have encountered at each place. I used to believe that all wind was relatively the same, but while living outside for days on end in the desert, I have found that each wind around me has its own personality and lesson. There was the forceful wind that knocked over my tent the first week, humbling me and making me acknowledge my reliance on Mother Earth’s will. At Bishop, there was the playful wind that tossed through my hair while climbing rock formations, reconnecting me with a childhood sense of adventure and curiosity. At Black Canyon, there was the devious wind that fought against our paddling, sometimes halting our canoes completely, until I finally reached the end with a sense of accomplishment that I did not give up. At Borderlands Restoration Network, there was the ominous, icy wind that chilled our bones almost as much as the truth we learned about the environmental degradation from mining, the disturbances to wildlife caused by the border wall, and destructive ranching, lessons from Gooch and David. At the Grand Canyon, the calming wind spoke to me as I looked at the view upside down from the side of a cliff, displaying the gentle power that Mother Nature holds. During midcourse, we listened to the Haudenosaunee Thanksgiving Address from Braiding Sweetgrass, reminding me once more to be grateful for an element that can sometimes feel exhausting. When the sun beat down in the hot, desert afternoons, a generous wind renewed us with energy while backpacking and motivated us to keep going. During the trek, I also encountered powerful winds that blew around my possessions on the Mesa and reminded me that I was just a visitor in this ancestral Puebloan home, lucky to have the opportunity to live in Cedar Mesa for a week. During the river rafting trip, a helpful breeze dried my clothes after a long day on the river, preparing me for another day of exploration. The wind has taught me that Mother Earth is willing to teach us if we keep our minds open. She wants to guide us, not punish us, and I have kept that in mind as we move through sacred land throughout this course.