Thursday, January 28, 2010

The Wind

image from; the blue dot is the Earth relative to the Sun

I'd like to post this next lucid dream because it inspired such awe in me for the natural elements. I believe this awe is a precursor to caring enough about the world to dream it healed and whole. The dream is called "The Wind":

I'm ambling through my backyard when I see a poplar leaf fall from a limb and spiral down toward the ground. A breeze comes and carries it west as I watch in silent wonder. It suddenly occurs to me to ask, "Where does the Wind go?" The Wind lifts me into the air to answer my question. I now glide with the poplar leaf on its swirling, westward journey. The Wind picks up. I start soaring higher and higher into the air, and take in the scenery, growing ever distant below. Now I am ascending through the layers of the atmosphere--troposphere, stratosphere, mesosphere, ionosphere. The Wind whips me through space! There is Wind in outerspace! I have never thought of this before! The Wind's tremendous presence is always sweeping something somewhere. Its endless domain leaves me thunderstruck. I find myself generalizing this newfound respect to the other elements of this Earth--no, this Cosmos!--as well.

This dream, truly, is a blessing. I've been reveling in small breezes all week, and today I played a special song to the Wind on my pennywhistle as an offering of gratitude. As I write this, two ravens descend and caw outside my window, right where the lucid dream began. I thank these winged ones, embassadors of the Wind. They, too, are part of the dream.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Where the Buffalo Roam

image from

Speaking of buffalo and elk, controversy's afoot regarding Ted Turner's bid on bison, who are currently quarantined in Yellowstone State Park as part of a plan to repopulate America's West with a disease-free herd. The species, so emblematic of our continent, used to number in the millions before hunters drove them to the brink of extinction. Apparently, Turner wants to take in 88 bison who could be slaughtered if they don't find a home. Native people and conservation advocates are concerned about setting a precedent of commercializing wildlife restoration, as Turner isn't taking the animals for nothing; he wants 90% of their offspring. Also, I learned from the article below that he has private hunting grounds, where people can shoot trophy elk or bison for thousands of dollars a pop, as it were. I don't like that. But, I do like the idea of more bison populating the Montana plains. I just don't know what to think. Why can't the buffalo roam on public land? Here is the article:

Associated Press Writer - January 18, 2010

BILLINGS, Mont. (AP) — With 88 bison from Yellowstone National Park facing possible slaughter, billionaire Ted Turner has swept in and offered to hold the animals for five years on his sprawling Montana ranch while a new home for them is found.

But Turner, ever the shrewd businessman, won't do it for nothing. The media mogul says he will care for the bison only if he can keep up to 90 percent of their offspring.

And in the Rocky Mountain West — where wildlife is cherished both for its aesthetic value and as meat on the table — the plan is stoking a sharp debate over the role of deep-pocketed private entities in conservation.

Hunters, environmentalists and property law experts have all weighed in and most say Turner's plan sets a dangerous precedent for the commercialization of public wildlife. Others describe Turner as a responsible steward of the land with the resources needed to take care of animals that desperately need a home.

Even the urgency of the situation is open to question.

Despite warnings from Montana about possible slaughter, federal officials said earlier this month that the bison could be kept longer if needed at a quarantine compound north of the park. They have already been there for several years to make sure they are disease free.

Dennis Tilton, a rancher from nearby Livingston who worked for a year feeding the animals under government contract, said giving the animals to Turner amounted to "robbing from the public domain." He said the state should put them onto public land to establish new herds.

Since Turner first came to Montana in 1989, his ambitious conservation efforts in the state have been alternately lauded and reviled. He's shielded more than 150,000 acres from development, but in the process put several prized hunting grounds off limits to the public.

Those who want to continue hunting on his Flying D Ranch, in the Spanish Peaks foothills south of Bozeman, today must pony up $14,000 to shoot a trophy elk.

For $4,000, they can harvest a bull bison out of a herd of more than 1,000 of the animals that Turner has been building up for two decades.

His representatives insist the Yellowstone animals are more valuable for their genetics and would be off limits.

Yellowstone's bison, also known as buffalo, represent one the last vestiges of the massive herds that once roamed across North America — tens of millions of animals that were all but wiped out in the late 19th century.

Turner's representatives say his plan for the 88 park bison would advance a long-standing advocacy for wildlife restoration. It also gains him the animals' unique and valuable genetics.

"We don't understand the antipathy," said Turner Enterprises general manager Russell Miller.

He said Turner is interested in the animals as a way to further his private bison conservation efforts, not for their market value.

"That doesn't mean there won't be a market somewhere way out in the future," he added.

Turner's plan is expected to be acted on by the end of the month by the Montana Department of Fish, Wildlife and Parks. Guernsey State Park in Wyoming has also put in a proposal to the agency for 14 bison.

Montana officials were largely caught off guard by the billionaire's initial bid, which came at the invitation of the state's Democratic governor, Brian Schweitzer.

State and federal pronouncements going back to at least 2005 had called for the quarantined animals to be relocated onto public or tribal lands. Before Turner came along, those pronouncements included an explicit prohibition against commercialization of the animals.

When plans last spring to move them onto a Wyoming Indian reservation fell through — and the specter of slaughter was raised — the ban on commercialization was lifted.

Neither Montana nor the U.S. Department of Agriculture, the state's partner in the project, has ever offered to take the animals.

That's due in large part to a broader dispute over whether wild bison belong anywhere in the state outside of Yellowstone. Many ranchers see free-roaming bison as a disease risk and unwanted competition for the grass that feeds their cattle herds.

Meanwhile, conservationists are sinking millions of dollars into restoration efforts for the animal. That includes an attempt by the American Prairie Foundation to buy up vast swaths of land in eastern Montana ranches and create a 3 million acre reserve for bison and other wildlife.

"We don't have a real clear direction of what we want to do with bison," said Montana fish and wildlife director David Risley. "Are they going to be behind a fence forever, or is there a place in Montana where they can be free-roaming?"

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Little Sparrow

I went back to the clean-up site today to respond to the recent graffiti that proclaims, "F-ck This Art Sh-t." I couldn't help punctuating the statement with a pretty little sparrow.

Friday, January 8, 2010

Keepin' On

photography by Erin Langley

I decided to go back to the clean-up site once a week to continue anchoring the healing work in a practical way. Dreaming can be a slippery business, after all. It's good for a dreamer to get her hands dirty, regularly. The area still looks fairly clean, but I worked on a hillside that I hadn't touched before, so I actually got a lot of trash today. There's a little bit of new graffiti, which speaks to the turf sparring between groups of kids up there. It seems to be the peace-loving artsy kids who decorated the area with colorful hearts and peace signs, and the more mischievous kids venting their anger through hateful graffiti. The new graffiti says, "F-ck this art sh-t." Kind of funny, really. After we picked up the trash and hauled a new trashcan up to the site, I made an offering of tobacco and prayed for gentle, thorough healing for the land and everyone who goes there. May it be so!

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Army of Dreamers

image from

Lately I have not been sleeping because my baby is teething. I have been so physically exhausted that a recent lucid dream went something like this:

I see a lady and say, "I'm so tired. " She says, "Yep. You can't sleep." And I decide to exit the dream in favor of more restful dreaming.

However, I do have two short examples of lucid dreaming for the Earth that have occurred during the past month, which I will offer here to keep the energy moving in the right direction. The first is straightforward enough:

I am staring at the sapling frame of a shelter that someone has built in the center of the labyrinth in my parents' backyard. I realize I'm dreaming and start praying for the healing of the land here. When I call in the directions, the wind starts to blow. Though the landscape seems sad and somewhat desolate, the wind feels good, like the prayer has been acknowledged.

In the second lucid dream, I see a small troll-looking person who becomes uglier and uglier as I look at him. I ask the dream in a prayer, "What is the next step for lucid dreaming for the Earth?" Immediately, a battalion of trolls pours out of a stairwell past me. The leader troll continues to look at me.

All I can think is that dreaming for the Earth takes an army. Got any other ideas?