I have often thought to myself that I wished I had asked more questions of my grandmother sooner, but I wouldn’t have understood it all because I didn’t know all the Spanish words she used. She spoke in Spanish only, and I in Spanish with her when I could, and English when I couldn’t find the Spanish words. I told myself that I would learn Spanish fluently before she died, but I didn’t try hard enough. I thought time would keep going. I’m not hard on myself about it. I know that if I wanted to I could, but perhaps it was not my time to learn it more fluently. I wouldn’t have anyone to speak with and practice. There may be other things waiting for me.
I tried to ask her about our Indian origins, because I figured we had them, and she told me of two tribe names: Coras and Huichole. I know that though she was a devout Catholic, from stories that my uncle has conveyed, she also possibly consulted “nature doctors” to combat an ailment that he once had as a young boy. I don’t recall the name he used. He remembers the experience well and said it most certainly did not work. Eventually they took him to a regular doctor.
I do know that part of my love of nature stems from my grandmother and though I’m not born into a tribe, I very much feel that I belong to one—to the tribe of Nature in all her glory. It is a feeling inside. Sometimes these feelings come out, and sometimes they show themselves in the glance of an eye, in the way a person stops to bend over and look at the beautiful intricacies of the soil, the twigs, branches, birds—and how when one looks up into the sky and remembers this is the great temple—all of it.
I am a feeler, as we know, and in the end, it’s unimportant to me what “I know” or what “they” say. What’s important to me is that I can feel my pulse in the pulse of this great world and that I can feel my pulse in others and that I tread lightly and take in the moments—and even when I’m feeling sad or angry, honor those moments too—honor all feelings and know that nature is there with open arms.
I bid you a wonderful day and weekend, always.
Here is an Indian poem that I love that beats with my heart.
From “The Literature of California: Writings from the Golden State.” Edited by Jack Hicks, James D. Houston, Maxine Hong Kingston, Al Young.
Prayer for Good Fortune (Yokuts)
My words are tied in one
With the great mountains,
With the great rocks,
With the great trees,
In one with my body
And my heart.
Do you all help me
With supernatural power,
And you, day,
And you, night!
All of you see me
One with this world!