Sunday, November 25, 2012


Photograph: Edward S. Curtis


These days, when I look
At the others of my people,
At the others in the village,
I see that everyone
Is younger than me,
Even the council elders.

Sometimes they ask me,
‘Mother, how old are you?
You must be as old as the Earth!’
And then I smile
Because it is not true.
I am older than that -
Much older.


  1. I can imagine the elderly in so called native tribes being asked how old they are. The photograph of the woman looks like she has seen many moons! It was indeed rare to live for a long time and reflects both good fortune and a healthy constitution. The elderly were revered for their wisdom and experience. Today we tend to look at the elderly, the very elderly with very different eyes. They are often made fun of, belittled, pitied or even shunned. We put them away so we don't need to see them. Perhaps their age and physical deterioration remind us too keenly that we most likely will join their ranks if death does not take us before that. They symbolize how close we are to death. They are the antithesis of what society is constantly idolizing - beauty, strength, youth, intelligence, performance, and power. And yet, there is so much to learn from the aged. It is a time in life that the outer form takes on less importance. That form also includes mental abilities. What is left? I guess one could call it "Spirit." Perhaps becoming aware of this Spirit is more important and more critical to humanity than all the ephemeral things we seem to strive for. I love the answer given in the poem when the old Mother is asked if she is as old as the Earth - "I am much older than that - Much older." The Earth here is still the dimension of form, so what is older than form itself? The wise woman seems to know the answer.

  2. Dear Joseph, you say: "The Earth here is still the dimension of form, so what is older than form itself? The wise woman seems to know the answer." Thank you so much for these words.
    "Earth" speaks the foundation words... they lay under layer upon layer of clay, dirt, sand, dreams... Everyone who looks carefully can find the foundation and peel back the layers. The woman knows this: that the layers which are peeled back reach to the essence of all things, and she invites us to see beyond time to the timeless, beyond the form to the formless.

    1. I love your comment - it is beautifully and exquisitely stated!

  3. So powerful and inspiring! Magnificent image of such a beautiful soul!
    Thanks for sharing this very special and beautiful tribute.

  4. Thank you in return, sweet Victoria, for creating the possibility through your links to honor our Earth.