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INKTOMI'S MESSAGE = a retelling out of oral tradition INKTOMI'S MESSAGE = a retelling out of oral tradition
by David Sparenberg
2011-06-07 07:46:51
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Inktomi, spiderman, visited the tribes of the Northern Great Plains.  Each time descending from the sky on a silken thread, Inkto brought a message of desolation to the Arapaho, the Blackfoot, the Crow, the Cheyenne, Dakota, and Lakota.  Each time, Inkto told the people, “Changes are coming, a harsh time, and mother earth will suffer.  Her oldest children will cry out in terrible pain.”  Each time, Inkto looked around and spoke: “Remember the cottonwood growing here by the living stream.  The tree is like each of you.   Roots hold earth while branches reach toward sky.  Remember the rock, standing there on open ground.  An ancient friend: strong, tenacious, enduring generations of change.”

Even though Inktomi is a trickster, that time he put his tricks aside and spoke from a clear and honest heart.  He counseled: “People of the Red Path, if you will remember these simple things; the cottonwood tree, the flowing stream, the ancient rock of enduring earth, and all our relations in the many walks of  life; a day will come when balance will return.  Until then, remember: hold on to what has always mattered, from the beginning of life to this very hour.”

Now, among those who know this story, some wait in an aura of fire, and their prayers are like a breathing scroll enrapturing the heart of passion.  Others dance, and their souls are like winds, undulating over the grass, moving like birds of mercy over shadowed hills.  Most potent of all are the quiet watchers, whose eyes are like eagles’ eyes and whose maturity is one with the slow, trustworthy wisdom of stone—bones of the enduring earth.  Of earth’s mountain dreamers.

In later summer, or especially autumn, a wilderness walker can see spider threads floating in the air.  Perhaps they are detached from the harvest of color-intentioned trees?  Perhaps they are luminously extended upward, hooking, soft and viscid, to passing patterns of smoke signal clouds?  Some of us see them in wonderment. The respectful pray. Others who see this work of nature are nervous and turn away, having a civilized dread of creatures made like a sacred orb, whose bodies are chemical circles and whose spirits are expressed in powerful webs and elliptical, intricate, feeding journeys.

A traveling man in the glimmer of twilight once told me, “We have offended the tricksters, the wonder people.  That is why so many bad things happen in this world of human arrogance and greed.  We have offended the elemental families, driven them from the land, and now they are invisible.  It is this displacement and our disrespect that makes the ancient spirits angry and dangerous. Yet without their care, the whole of creation turns rough and threatens our destruction.

“Tell me,” the green troubadour asked in a voice rooted deep in shamanic memory, “Now that we have gone too far, extravagant and senseless, where do we turn?  What is to be done?  Inkto is sending us a warning, a message of good counsel and wisdom.  Who listens?  Who can hear the fall of a pine needle in an upland forest, or a weave of a spider in the mystic glow of an autumn sun?”             

**********************************************

From DREAMSPHERES, A Book of Stories by David Sparenberg

   
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