Posts Tagged With: Life

Pondering by moonlight

This is my last week in South Dakota and even now I know that when I return to Texas for a while, I will have so much writing to catch up on about my time here.

The thing about experiencing life and writing it all down is that while you are living in the moment of it all, you just want to absorb it. All of the echoes of life hollow out the grooves of your brain and become branded on your spirit. I had big ideas to write every second down in real time but reflection on it all seems more fitting.

It’s 3:30ish in the morning and the cabin living room is full of boxes and items in disorder. I imagine it won’t all fit in my little Yaris and will create a little unease for my four-legged passenger, Tiger Lily — my odd-tempered cat. This is an ambitious endeavor…

I will miss so much of this place. Convenience will be a welcome change but the remarkable silence, views and people are not replaceable. The year ahead will be a welcome perfect puzzle as I discover whether or not I am meant for other destinations for semi-permanent residency. The journey will reveal.

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‘When you are on that horse, you are honoring life’

Note: I had the opportunity to photograph and visit with young people here on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation looking to create awareness about suicide and bullying. Below is the story I wrote (with some edits) that was originally posted on my day job’s website. 

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Set on horseback, Pine Ridge Indian Reservation youth recently rode from Wanblee, SD, to Pine Ridge, SD, to speak up about the epidemic of suicide. The ride took three days with stops in between the nearly 100-mile ride.

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Co-organizer Lauren Janis, a 16-year-old at Little Wound High School, started the organization Fight for Life along with fellow student Evelyn Quick Bear to raise awareness. They decided to launch Ride for Life as one of the events to do that. The suicide rate on Pine Ridge is more than twice the national rate with teen suicide at four times the national rate.

When the Ride for Life riders stopped in Kyle, SD, to rest and eat, Lauren spoke about their expectations of the event.

“We hoped that the turnout was going to be great and get the point across that suicide is not a way to go out and there is always someone who loves you. Events like this bring community, friendships and family together,” she said. About 20 riders participated. “Horses are sacred to us and fits into our culture. Suicide isn’t part of our culture. When you are on that horse, you are honoring life — not giving up on life.”

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Lauren Janis

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Categories: Change, Day in the Life | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

A plan is just a blueprint

Around this time last year I was in California.

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The above image is a screen shot of my gratitude app. Yes. There’s an app for that. (Ignore that “no service.” I tend to not have service much on the Rez!)

I’ve only been yapping about California forever. Well maybe not forever. Just a few years. Several years ago the California love struck me for the first time when I flew out to Gilroy for an interview at the town’s local paper. I didn’t get it. But I loved the few days I was there.

Since then I have been blessed to get out to the Bay Area a few times. This time last year was a trip I took with a friend to be absolutely certain I wanted to take the leap. I was certain but decided to head to South Dakota first. I mean when I asked the Universe for new experiences, I didn’t mess around!

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Categories: Change | Tags: , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

How to get over the savior complex you didn’t think you had…

When I moved to the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation this year, I can safely say I didn’t have a grandiose idea of “saving an entire people” like I was a powerful force that could impact the kind of change that could undo generations of genocide and injustice.

There has been a history of people coming here and trying to do that. There are documentaries that don’t show you everything that is good on the Rez. There are people who come here who are supposedly well-intentioned, thinking they will show the world something that will create an impact — sometimes it does but not always a good one.

I came to the reservation to work and to gain experiences — that’s it. Take in the scenery, get away from the city and get to know people. And I just thought that I could maybe impart change in some way that could create improvement by either using the written word, creating awareness and passing on my own knowledge and experience in the area of health and sustainability. Just like anyone who  feels that they want to help people, I didn’t really think I had something called a “savior complex,” which admittedly I feel I could easily say some people who make the journey here may exhibit. I’m absolutely guilty of finger-pointing when it comes to that complex when really I should be looking a little more at myself.

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