These stories are now appearing in the Komoka/Kilworth/Delaware Villager magazine....
Feet on the Earthday Street
By Jim Kogelheide
Our Earth is a very special place! It is filled with beautiful oceans, lakes and rivers that support very unique animal and plant life. Our landscapes are so diverse with sky reaching mountains and low lying valleys. There are forestlands and deserts. There are grasslands and marshlands. All of these different environments are home to so many insects and animals that play a very important role in all of our lives.
This photo does not appear in the magazine, but this is me chatting with the students!
Recently, I took my feet down the street to the Delaware Central Elementary School where I had the pleasure of meeting Kristin Barnett and all of her Grade 4 and 5 students. I was very happy to learn that they all enjoy Nature as much as I do. I asked them if they could share with Villager readers, their most intimate moments when they connected with Nature in a very profound and memorable way…
One year ago, in the summer, my sister and I were in a tube raft being pulled behind my mom and my stepdad, who were in a canoe. They were pulling our raft down the Thames River. We saw baby ducks, muskrats and a spiny soft-shell turtle (these turtles are an endangered species). The one thing that I’ll never forget is when we looked up and saw a giant Bald Eagle!! He swooped over our heads and gave us quite a scare! We saw its pure white head and a yellow beak. Then we looked in his talons and saw a fish! We followed it down the river until he finally landed in his giant nest. Did you know that Bald Eagles used to be an endangered species?
It was a nice, sunny day in Turks and Caicos and I was on the beach shore. My mother asked me to find her some seashells, so I went into the water. The water was crystal clear and I could see down to my feet, but the deeper I went, the darker the water got. I thought that I saw a large seashell, so I reached down to grab it. It wasn’t a seashell… it was a shark’s fin!! I was so scared that my heart was practically beating out of my chest! The shark stared at me for a few seconds before it swam away.
The jingle dress is a dress of healing. There are 365 shells on the dress, for each day of the year. The music from the shells re-awakens the animals, plants, humans, sky people and our Mother Earth. When someone dances in the dress, our Creator listens and Nature is healed. People can put their tobacco near the jingle dress and pray for what healing they need. Nature is a big part of the jingle dress. When it is being made, it is put outside for one day so that a bond can be made between Mother Earth and the dress. I am a jingle dress dancer and when I dance I feel close to all of Mother Earth’s gifts.
My Grandma, Barb, and I both love Nature and we spend a lot of time outdoors. One day, we put on some gloves and went to our specials spot where all the beautiful and unique snakes are. At this spot, we picked up a mat and found around 12 garter snakes! A few were babies! I picked one of the baby snakes up and it was beautiful! All the different shades of green and black were glorious. My Grandma picked up a snake and we had a little observation and then my Grandma talked about how beautiful Nature is to her. I feel the same way! I’m looking forward to seeing how many snakes will be there, this summer!!