Circle of Life (includes fish for all)

Spinning on ice

It’s hard to believe that yesterday we flew like eagles above Lake Superior on this blog, watching the ice fields, pondering the forming, sustaining and breaking up of winter ice.

Today we’re on solid ground near Shanty Town in Baraga watching what happens when we view the world like squirrels or chipmunks.  (If you want to fly up in the air and get another look at Shanty Town from the sky, please click here and scroll to the last picture.  See all those little dots?  Those are ice fishing shanties still on the bay, protected by Sand Point.  There’s still ice this close to shore–although some fisherfolk pull in their shanties every day.)

Pulling ice shack in to shore

I am still pondering the way we view Life.

Years ago, the Anishinabe, the Ojibway, taught me about the Circle of Life.  A native man took me through the reservation in his pick-up truck.  We visited some elders, and then drove down a sandy backroad.  We got out of the truck and he found a long branch.  He drew a circle in the sand and began teaching about the Native American cosmology.

He shared that the Eagle represents the Eastern direction in the right side of the circle.  The Eagle represents that view from the airplane, that view from far above.  That is our ability to see the Larger Picture.  It’s our ability to see wide and far.  It represents many other things as well:  birth, childhood, fresh energy, creativity, sunrise, beginnings, new ideas.

"Shanty Town"

The southern direction, he explained, belongs to the little creatures on the ground.  The mouse, the turtle, the squirrel.  The gift of the southern direction is to see closely.  To see detail.  To be present with the small things, the earth-walk, the fishermen in their shanties and the boy spinning on his four-wheeler.  

The south also represents mid-day, maturing from a child into an adult, fertility, earth, love. 

As we travel around the Circle of Life, we come to the western direction.  Here the wolf teaches and the bear slumbers in the den.  Here we embrace adulthood.  Here we let go, and let go again.   It is the time of twilight, the setting sun.  It is also the gateway to the Spirit World, where we do our final letting go and walk into the Other World.

Sunset over Baraga...

The northern direction carries the medicine of the deer, the buffalo.  Here we embrace wisdom.  We give away to the people.  We rest in the winter of our lives; we contemplate; we realize the fruits of Old Age.  We stop and listen.  We integrate.  We again give away to the people the gifts of our wisdom, the gifts of our journey around the circle.

Each day contains the Circle of Life.  Each moment contains the Circle of Life.  Each day we are given the opportunity to see the Larger Picture, to witness the beauty and love of the smaller details of living, to let go of that which no longer serves and to embrace our wisdom–and to share it with others.

I wish you all the gifts of all the directions as you travel ’round and ’round.  Smile when the child does wheelies with his four-wheeler on the shiny ice.  Smile at the laughter of fishermen telling jokes and swapping tall tales.  Smile when you know it’s time to leave the ice at sunset.  And remember–always remember–share your fish with your family and neighbors! 

Enjoy the sacred hoop of this day…

About Kathy

I live in the middle of the woods in Michigan's Upper Peninsula. Next to Lake Superior's cold shores. I love to blog.
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18 Responses to Circle of Life (includes fish for all)

  1. Susan Derozier says:

    Kathy – I love that you take us on these journeys! Your writing reminds me of the Native American astrology book “The Medicine Wheel.” There is something about ice that bids us to slow down and take our time. It inspires us to accept that things happen when they are supposed to happen, whether it is a spring thaw or blizzard. I, personally, need that lesson in patience right now.
    As lovely as Florida is, I miss the quiet and peace of the north country so much. Noise, congested traffic and rushed pace drives me back inside away from the very beauty it could offer. Thank you for taking me on these wondrous treks with you into the quiet and peace of the north!

  2. Kiah says:

    Beautiful. I love all of it.

  3. P.j. grath says:

    Lovely, Kathy, as always. However–How is this possible? Kathy and Gerry have both posted about fish at the very same time, “one hour ago.” Coincidence or conspiracy? Ha! Gotcha!

  4. I feel native peoples have a much better understanding of the wisdom of time, energy and the cycles of things and creatures around us. Much more than western religions (IMO). Thank you for sharing as I ponder the links between two bloggers who live in northern Great Lakes country. 😉

  5. john says:

    Thank you, I am saving this post for my grandchildren.

  6. The first people’s, out look on life, is a simple reverent one. You have done a nice job retelling.

  7. holessence says:

    Ahhhhhh, I love the circle of life – the sacred hoop.

  8. That first shot is great! My boys (they’re 19 and almost 22) would have a blast doing that!

  9. Dawn says:

    When we were out in NM an Indian guide was telling us about the petroglyph circles on the walls (and we had seen the on rocks as well)…he said they represented the “world” around a person, those things that were important to the person…the person’s world…and the spiral was something like what you describe…moving through life. Nice to hear it from another part of the world as well.

  10. sarsm says:

    Hi Kathy,
    What a lovely,calming way of looking at life.

    I love your page. It makes me more relaxed just visiting. And the photos are stunning!
    Thanks for commenting on my site!

  11. Kathy says:

    Thank you. I am glad you all enjoy “The Circle of Life”. Blessings as we travel around the wheel together…

  12. Elisa's Spot says:

    ha! yesterday I was way above the clouds flying and I couldn’t even see ground! Then, later I got to see my own perceptions and impressions be true, down to tiny details I also got to see the root of some of my confusions, other bits of puzzle falling into place, more still sticking out glaringly unanswered AND an entire new portion of the circle that I hadn’t quite been able to view clearly under all of the rest. Not sure what to do with it all yet, but keep on dancing the circle!

  13. Colleen says:

    Kathy, I feel so blessed to be sharing this with all of you 🙂

  14. Kathy says:

    Thanks again, everyone! Enjoying the wider view with all of you…

  15. Barbara Rodgers says:

    Letting go again and again… Appreciating the beauty of the setting sun…

  16. Marianne says:

    Beautiful post, Kathy! Thank you for sharing this wonderful wisdom.

Thank you for reading. May you be blessed in your life...may you find joy in the simple things...

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